chapter  18
22 Pages

Anna

ByR. S. Khare

Anna or Hindu food has wide-ranging meanings, and its religious, ritual, and socialconceptions relate distinctly to Hindu philosophy and cosmology. This interdependent, “holistic” view perhaps best encapsulates the distinctness of Hindu approach to food. Although customary Hindu ideas, norms, and practices may distinctly differ from what modern, scientific accounts of food now assume or stress, any simplistic traditional/ modern contrasts and dichotomies are often inadequate in accounting for the enormously significant uses, representations, and meanings foods acquire in Hindus’ (and Indians’) life. To get to such a complete picture, however, we not only need to explicate several major cultural assumptions, values, and ideals constituting the Hindu conception of anna but we must also see how pervasively this conception weaves itself through changing historical, economic, and political conditions.