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The southern Indian state of Karnataka has many religious, mystical, and spiritual groups. Among them are the Naths, Shaktas, Sharanas, Aroodhas, Avadhutas, Sufi, and Navayanas (Neo-Buddhists). Some of these schools emerged as emancipation movements, popular among the marginalized and oppressed communities. These schools and movements in nature are rebellious. They question the mainstream religions and hegemonic political regimes, the caste system and gender discrimination. Breaking the status quo and creating new pathways is a shared feature of these movements. Though ideas of liberation for individuals and communities are central to many of these groups, they have also sometimes been instruments in the hands of dominant religions and political ideologies. Over decades of fieldwork and study around Karnataka and beyond, Dr. Rahamath Tarikere has explored the rituals, literatures, musical traditions, dances, theatrical performances, and philosophies of these movements, noting their variations and points of convergence. In this conversation he will share some of the insights gained during the course of his career.
About the Speaker
Rahamath Tarikere is a retired Professor in the Department of Kannada Literature Studies, Kannada University, Hampi (Karnataka/India). Tarikere has published books on Muharram, Sufism, Nathism, Shaktism and other local mystic cults of Karnataka. His research further include works in literary criticism, multilingual texts, poetics and cultural studies on Kannada literature, as well as completed a monograph on Hindi film actress and singer Amirbai Karnataki. Some books are translated into Telugu, Marathi and English. Learn more.