Today's popular tassa drumming emerged from the fragments of transplanted Indian music traditions half-forgotten and creatively recombined, rearticulated, and elaborated into a dynamic musical genre. A uniquely Indo-Trinidadian form, tassa drumming invites exploration of how the distinctive nature of the Indian diaspora and its relationship to its ancestral homeland influenced Indo-Caribbean music culture.
Music scholar Peter Manuel traces the roots of neotraditional music genres like tassa drumming to North India and reveals the ways these genres represent survivals, departures, or innovative elaborations of transplanted music forms. Drawing on ethnographic work and a rich archive of field recordings, he contemplates the music carried to Trinidad by Bhojpuri-speaking and other immigrants, including forms that died out in India but continued to thrive in the Caribbean. His reassessment of ideas of creolization, retention, and cultural survival defies suggestions that the diaspora experience inevitably leads to the loss of the original culture, while also providing avenues to broader applications for work being done in other ethnic contexts.
Christina Sunardi ventures into the regency of Malang in east Java to study and perform with dancers. Through formal interviews and casual conversation, Sunardi learns about their lives and art. Her work shows how performers continually transform dance traditions to negotiate, and renegotiate, the boundaries of gender and sex--sometimes reinforcing lines of demarcation, sometimes transgressing them, and sometimes doing both simultaneously. But Sunardi's investigation moves beyond performance. It expands notions of the spiritual power associated with female bodies and feminine behavior, and the ways women, men, and waria (male-to-female transvestites) access the magnetic power of femaleness.
Ahmad presents a thorough account of Indian history during the 19th and 20th centuries, analyzing how the relationship between Hindus and Muslims has been shaped by each significant political and social development. Evidence of both selectivism and assimilation between Hindus and Muslims, a concept not previously accepted, is apparent throughout the history, and the issue of the origins of the identity of the Muslim consciousness which now exerts such influence in the region is explained in terms of the interaction of religious, social, cultural, and global factors. By viewing India's struggle for its post-colonial identity from this comprehensive historical perspective, this work illuminates some of the fundamental causes of similar conflicts throughout the former colonial world.
To understand the expansionary power of Hindu nationalism, Kalyani Menon argues, it is critical to examine the everyday constructions of politics and ideology through which activists garner support at the grassroots level. Based on fieldwork with women in several Hindu nationalist organizations, Menon explores how these activists use gendered constructions of religion, history, national insecurity, and social responsibility to recruit individuals from a variety of backgrounds. As Hindu nationalism extends its reach to appeal to increasingly diverse groups, she explains, it is forced to acknowledge a multiplicity of positions within the movement. She argues that Hindu nationalism's willingness to accommodate dissonance is central to understanding the popularity of the movement.
Everyday Nationalism contends that the Hindu nationalist movement's power to attract and maintain constituencies with incongruous beliefs and practices is key to its growth. The book reveals that the movement's success is facilitated by its ability to become meaningful in people's daily lives, resonating with their constructions of the past, appealing to their fears in the present, presenting itself as the protector of the country's citizens, and inventing traditions through the use of Hindu texts, symbols, and rituals to unite people in a sense of belonging to a nation.
Bano works shows that beliefs are rational and that religious believers look to maximize utility in ways not captured by classical rational choice. She applies analytical tools from the New Institutional Economics to explain apparent contradictions in the madrasa system-for example, how thousands of young Pakistani women now demand the national adoption of traditional sharia law, despite its highly restrictive limits on female agency, and do so from their location in Islamic schools for girls that were founded only a generation ago.