chapter  13
17 Pages

Learning about Hindu practice: fighting late-colonial attitudes and discovering temples and festivals


I learned about Hindu religious practice only after hurdling a whole host of barriers that were set in place when I arrived in India in 1957. Some of these barriers were left over from the colonial era when missionaries spread the word that temples were filled with evil superstition and universities were taught that only India’s philosophical systems were worthy of academic study. Fortunately, I discovered a village of leather workers or Chamārs where a great deal of religious practice was going on, and, while I could find no university department interested in what I had discovered, my interest had been piqued and I looked forward to a time when I could find out more.