[INDOLOGY] Call for papers : international Conference On Indian Buddhism in Its Social Context

Birendra Nath Prasad birendra176 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 11 05:51:42 UTC 2014

Concept Note for an International Conference to be organised by  the Department of History, BB Ambedkar University, Lucknow, India (March 27-28 ,2014)
Indian Buddhism in Its Social Context: From Sakyamuni Buddha to the Present.
In a significant section of Indian historiography, Buddhism is believed to be a world-negating soteriology of ‘asocial’ monks. It is also generally believed that beyond the monastic walls, it hardly had any social presence. When the Turkic invasions destroyed the big monastic centres of Indian Buddhism, Buddhism simply disappeared from the land of its birth. This approach fails to explain why a religion without any social relevance survived in India for more than fifteen hundred years and why it was reinvented, reformulated and adopted in the context of social reform movements in Colonial and Post-Colonial India. In contemporary India, we see that Buddhism has become an essential component of Dalit identity formulation, mobilisation and consolidation. That is another indication of the continuing social relevance of Buddhism in India. 
For long, study of ancient Indian Buddhist religious institutions has been dominated by art historical concerns only. A more pertinent approach may be to see them as important constituents of the overall societal matrix, as institutions in dynamic interaction with other societal institutions, acting and reacting with them, influencing them and getting influenced by them in turn. That is to say, Buddhist institutions must be visualised as social institutions, in dynamic interaction with other societal institutions. Unfortunately, Indian Buddhism has not been studied much from this perspective. 
This Conference hopes to be an endeavour in unravelling some aspects of the patterns of interactions between Buddhism (including Buddhist institutions) and other social institutions in India from Sakyamuni Buddha to the present.  Papers are invited on the following themes: 
1.	Defining the ‘self ‘, defining the ‘other’: Did Indian Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana) had any notion of self? Or did it consider itself just as a soteriology for the world-renouncing monks? If it had some definite notions of the ‘self’, how did it negotiate ‘other’ or ‘others’?  And what did it do nurture and cultivate the ‘self’?  Did the Buddhist ‘self’ include the lay followers?  That brings us to assess the relationship between the Buddhist Sangha and the laity. 
2.	Buddhism was one of the earliest world religions, yet it has developed remarkable local colours across the vast landmass of Asia. This ‘localization’ process, what has been earlier referred to as ‘translation in the local idiom’, has been well documented in the case of many Asian countries, but it has barely begun for India. Future researches on the functional dimensions of Indian monastic Buddhism may negotiate one core issue: how does the Saṅgha localize at a particular place by resolving what Richard Cohen calls ‘uniquely local problems’, yet retain its supra-local character? To analyse the twists and turns of this supralocal–local dialectic, shifting the focus away from the Ārya- caturdiśa-bhikṣu-saṅgha, (‘Universal) Noble Saṅgha of the Four Quarters’ to the individual monastery in its spatial context may not be a bad idea. This will naturally entail a greater use of archaeological data and archaeological fieldwork.
This approach forces us to revisit many established notions regarding the social bases of patronage to Indian Buddhism and Buddhist institutions. How did the monastic tradition localise at a particular place? How did it try to negotiate the local socio-economic, political and cultic situations? Once a Buddhist monastery or a stupa established its presence at a particular site, how did it mobilise resources for its survival? Which section of society patronised Buddhism and Buddhist institutions? With what motives?  What did the Buddhist Sangha provide in return to its patrons? Are there spatial variations in the patterns of interactions between the Sangha and its patrons as one moves out of the middle and upper Ganga valley? How did Buddhist institutions survive without any kind of royal patronage in many cases? 
3.	Ancient Indian  Buddhism and social hierarchies (Varna/Jati/ gender)
4.	 Patterns of interaction between Ancient Indian Buddhism and Indian political orders and processes. 
5.	Ancient Indian Buddhism and economic processes: craft production, trade, urbanisation, agriculture. 
6.	Buddhism and medicine in ancient India: textual and archaeological perspectives. 
7.	 Socio-economic contexts of ancient Indian Buddhist art and architecture. 
8.	Archaeology   and the reconstruction of social and economic history of ancient Indian Buddhism.
9.	Role of pilgrimage in Indian Buddhism: textual, epigraphic and archaeological perspectives. 
10.	The social and economic philosophy of  ancient Indian Buddhism 
11.	Buddhism and Environment 
12.	Decline of Indian Buddhism: socio-economic factors. 
13.	 The social dimensions of Buddhist revival movements in colonial, post-colonial and contemporary India. 
In this section, we are particularly interested in tracing the interface between the Dalit and backward castes identity movements and Buddhist revival movements. Why and how was Buddhism appropriated and reformulated by the Ambedkarite Dalits? What are the ideological and institutional aspects of Buddhist revival movements in post-Colonial and contemporary India? Do we see any variation in the patterns of Buddhist revival movements in different parts of India? 
14.	Any other theme related to the social dimensions of Indian Buddhism. 

Paper submission
The length of your paper should be around ten thousand words. It should contain a short abstract and four or five key words. In the end, provide a detailed bibliography.  Abstracts should be sent latest by 15th March, 2014. All abstracts and full papers shall be reviewed. You will be extended a formal invitation if your paper proposal is finally accepted. 
We intend to invite around 30 scholars from different parts of India and abroad. We will like to ensure that papers cover all parts of India (including Pakistan and Bangladesh). Each scholar will be given 20 minutes to present his/her paper. That shall be followed by a discussion for 15 minutes. 
Within 4 months of the date of the Conference, you will be required to submit the final copy of your paper. It is our intention to publish the selected papers from the Conference in the form of a book. 
If your paper is accepted, we will provide local hospitality and accommodation for the Conference period to all outstation delegates. 
Travelling allowance 
If your paper proposal is accepted, we will provide 3AC rail fare for all Indian delegates and economy class return airfare to international delegates. We will not be able to reimburse Visa expenses. No DA will be provided. 
Kindly direct all correspondence to either Prof. S.Victor Babu (Head of the Department of History, BBAU , Lucknow . Email :  saragandlavb at gmail.com) or to Birendra Nath Prasad, Assistant Professor, History Deptt , BBAU , Lucknow . Email:   bp2628 at yahoo.com ). In your email, kindly do mention your contact number and institutional affiliation. 

On Mon, 3/10/14, indology-request at list.indology.info <indology-request at list.indology.info> wrote:

 Subject: INDOLOGY Digest, Vol 14, Issue 10
 To: indology at list.indology.info
 Date: Monday, March 10, 2014, 9:30 PM
 Send INDOLOGY mailing list
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 Today's Topics:
    1. Meter identifying tool --- The actual
 usage and funcrion    of
       metres (Michael Hahn)
    2. Dhauli Elephant (Artur Karp)
 Message: 1
 Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 17:05:21 +0100
 From: Michael Hahn <hahn.m at t-online.de>
 To: indology at list.indology.info
 Subject: [INDOLOGY] Meter identifying tool --- The actual
 usage and
     funcrion    of metres
 Message-ID: <20140309170519.09C3.CF0E9E7 at t-online.de>
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
 Many thanks to Prof. Kulkarni's hint of the valuable meter
 tool, which greatly facilitates the task of the
 inexperienced student. In
 this connection I would like to mention my observations
 regarding the
 actual use of metres in classical Sanskrit literature.
 There are two comprehensive collections and statistics of
 occurring in Sanskrit literature: one by K?hnau (based on
 collections), one by H. D. Velankar. For the bibliographical
 details see
 my paper A030 on www.academia.edu. From these papers we can
 see that not
 many more than 100 metres do actually occur in serious
 Sanskrit texts 
 (the higher figure is some 130 metres). These 100 metres can
 be divided into two halves of 50 each with 50 of them being
 used very,
 very rarely. The remaining 50 metres can again be split into
 two halves
 of 25 comparatively rare metres and 25 frequently used
 metres which
 every student of Sanskrit literature should know. They are
 the content
 of page 6 of my "Brief introduction ..."
 These figures contrast highly with what theory teaches. The
 comprehensive index of Sanskrit and Prakrit metres that can
 be found in
 H. D. Velankar's (a really great scholar and metrician)
 edition of Hemacandra's Chandonusasana lists about 1,000
 meters. However, it is absolutely useless and superfluous to
 study all
 of them if only one tenth of them does actually occur. It
 does not mean
 anything if a would-be poet takes one of the additional
 metres from a
 chandahsastra and uses it only to show his erudition, if
 nobody else
 knows his particular metre. As Ashwini Deo has convincingly
 shown in her
 ground-breaking paper on Sanskrit metrics, it is very
 unlikely for any
 literature to actively use such a great variety of metres.
 Even the 100
 (130) metres listed by K?hnau and Velankar are not really
 metres, but can be reduced to a much smaller number of basic
 pattens and
 their variations, as are Indravajra, Upendravajra and
 Upajati, Vamsastha,
 Indravamsa ind Vamsamala, Salini and Vaisvadevi, the four
 Vaitaliya and
 Aupacchandasaka off-shoots etc. etc. By the way, in the
 1,130 stanzas of
 his Kapphinabhyudaya the poet Sivasvamin uses 43 different
 metres, which
 is the highest number of metres in a classical work (from
 the first
 millenium) I know of. Practically all of them belong to my
 "50 not
 extremely rare metres" category; see my edition, Delhi 2013.
 Buddhist authors Aryasura, Haribhatta, Gopadatta use not
 more than 30
 metres in their campu poems. The 150 metres in
 Vrttamalastuti do not mean anything because they only serve
 illustrations of theory.
 In sharp contrast with the predilections of the Indian
 metricians for
 the increase of the number of metres and the invention of
 ever new
 varieties stands their neglect of, or silence about, some of
 the basic
 laws.of Indian metrics that every body knew and followed but
 ever included in the sastras. Pingala teaches four varieties
 of vipulas
 for the sloka (anustubh, vaktra) metre: bhrau ntau, i.e. bh,
 ra, na, and
 ta vipula. This might habe been valid for his time. Until
 the 11th
 century CE no one seems to have noticed that the ta vipula
 is virtually
 non-existing in classical Sanskrit literature whereas
 another vipula,
 the ma-vipula, is actually the most specific and most
 frequently used
 among them. Ratnakarasanti is the first to reluctantly
 acknowledge it:
 d.r.s.taa makaare.naapy eva.m 
 Moreover, Indian metricians confined themselves only to the
 of the syllables 5, 6, and 7 of the quarter, remaining
 tacits about the
 generally fixed structure of the preceding ga.na. It was
 left to Western
 scholars on the 19th century to formulate thosee laws that
 the Indian
 poets intuitively knew and followed already 2000 years
 The point of my remarks is that the metrical theory as
 represented by
 the chandahsastras is one thing and the actual practice of
 the poets
 something quite different. I would like to encourage a
 deeper research
 on the practical side (as done in an exmplary manner by
 Ashwini Deo, on
 a high theoretical analytical level) and to devote more
 energy to the as
 yet only unsufficiently explored question, what the
 different metres
 meant for Indian poets, what they regarded as their specific
 Ksemendra in his Suvrttatilaka is by far too superficial. I
 have written
 about this topic but unfortunately mostly in German.
 Michael Hahn
 Prof. Dr. Michael Hahn
 Ritterstr. 14
 D-35287 Amoeneburg
 Tel. +49-6422-938963
 Fax: +49-6422-938967
 E-mail: hahn.m at t-online.de
 URL: staff-www.uni-marburg.de/~hahnm
 Message: 2
 Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2014 17:28:16 +0100
 From: Artur Karp <karp at uw.edu.pl>
 To: Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
 Subject: [INDOLOGY] Dhauli Elephant
 <CAEgrCzAvt3_wH2KNB=uH5L=JBK=4DvQdAC-QM3Sa29AQz+HKbA at mail.gmail.com>
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
 Sorry for X-posting ---
 Dear List,
 Does someone know the source of this pen ink drawing?
 Thanks in advance,
 Artur Karp

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