Devotion and affliction in the time of cholera: ritual healing, identity and resistance among Bengali Muslims
AuthorsFerrari, Fabrizio M.
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractThe chapter examines the worship of the cholera goddess Olā Bibi among Muslims of Bengal. Moving from an analysis of iconographic, mythical and ritual material, I investigate how Bengali Muslims have responded to the threat of cholera from early eighteenth century. The goddess has served as a catalyst to inform local identity and to challenge external agency in matter of disorder and social control. Yet while Bengali culture has facilitated a convergence of visions and programs in time of crisis (cholera epidemics and colonialism), the recent affirmation of militant Islamism has aggressively confronted indigenous healing practices thus causing major internal collisions in matter of community ethos, and a consequential loss of vernacular knowledge.
CitationFerrari, F. M. (2015). Devotion and affliction in the time of cholera: Ritual healing, identity and resistance among Bengali Muslims. In Vargas-O'Bryan, I. and Z. Xun (eds), Disease, religion and healing in Asia: Collaborations and collisions. London, United Kingdom: Routledge, pp. 37-53.
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