[INDOLOGY] Fwd: New Publication: 'Heroic Shāktism: the cult of Durgā in Ancient Indian Kingship'

Bihani Sarkar bihanisarkar at googlemail.com
Thu Oct 26 17:14:27 UTC 2017

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I wish to share the news of the publication of my book 'Heroic Shāktism:
the cult of Durgā in Ancient Indian Kingship'. The book is being published
by the British Academy and the Oxford University Press. A précis of the
book is as follows:

'Heroic Śāktism is the belief that a good king and a true warrior must
worship the goddess Durgā, the form and substance of kingship. This belief
formed the bedrock of ancient Indian practices of cultivating political
power. Wildly dangerous and serenely benevolent at one and the same time,
the goddess's charismatic split nature promised rewards for a hero and king
and success in risky ventures.

This book is the first expansive historical treatment of the cult of Durgā
and the role it played in shaping ideas and rituals of heroism in India
between the 3rd and the 12th centuries CE. Within the story of ancient
Indian kingship, two critical transitions overlapped with the rise of
heroic Śāktism: the decline of the war-god Skanda-Mahāsena as a military
symbol, and the concomitant rise of the early Indian kingdom. As the
rhetoric of kingship once strongly linked to the older war god shifted to
the cultural narratives of the goddess, her political imagery broadened in
its cultural resonance. And indigenous territorial deities became
associated with Durgā as smaller states unified into a broader conception
of civilization.

By assessing the available epigraphic, literary and scriptural sources in
Sanskrit, and anthropological studies on politics and ritual, Bihani Sarkar
demonstrates that the association between Indian kingship and the cult's
belief-systems was an ancient one based on efforts to augment worldly

For more on the book, see https://global.oup.com/aca

There is a 30% discount if you order on the OUP website using the code


Bihani Sarkar BA, M.Phil, D.Phil (Oxon),
(Formerly: British Academic Postdoctoral Fellow, Oriental Institute, Oxford
Teaching Fellow in South Asian Religions, Leeds University,
Associate Member,  Christ Church College, Oxford University

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