Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia Online

Get access Subject: Asian Studies

Edited by:
Marine Carrin (Editor-in-Chief), University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès, and Michel Boivin, Centre for South Asian Studies (CNRS-EHESS), Gérard Toffin, Centre d’Études Himalayennes, Paul Hockings, University of Illinois at Chicago, Raphaël Rousseleau, Université de Lausanne, Tanka Subba, North-Eastern Hill University, Harald Lambs-Tyche, University of de Picardie-Jules Verne (Section Editors)

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Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia strives to reflect the diversity of indigenous cultures of South Asia with its many language groups and religious traditions. Shaped by their own mythologies, these tribal religions differ in form and content from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Sikhism, and Christianity, though variants of the latter traditions have been adopted by some indigenous people. Religion is taken in a broad sense and includes aspects of morality, symbolism, identity formation, environmental concerns, and art. Far from being simple survivals of an earlier stage, these religions often show remarkable capacity for adaptation and change. The approach is contemporary rather than a reconstruction of an anterior state, though it does not overlook relevant historical processes.

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Apatani: A Reinvented Religion: Danyi Piilo

(8,199 words)

Author(s): Bouchery, Pascal
“Do we have a religion?” That question was once raised to me by a young educated Apatani during my first field trip to Arunachal Pradesh in 2008. As trivial as it may seem to a Western anthropologist naturally inclined to regard as such any institutionalized system of beliefs and practices, it did not seem obvious to my friend. What I failed to perceive at that time was that his personal perplexity mirrored a more widespread, diffuse sentiment of his tribal community, whose traditional religion …
Date: 2019-11-02

Apatani: Fact Sheet

(320 words)

Author(s): Bouchery, Pascal
The Apatani, numbering approximately 44,000 people, occupy a tiny valley hemmed in by mountains in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, popularly known as the Ziro Valley. Altogether with their neighbors the Nyishis, Adis, Galos, Tagins and Mishings, they speak closely related languages belonging to the Tani branch of the Tibeto-Burman family. About half of them live in 20-odd densely settled villages where they rely directly on subsistence farming to provide their basic needs. The…
Date: 2019-11-02

Asur: Fact Sheet

(257 words)

Author(s): Borde, Radhika
The Asur tribe is an Ādivāsī group that can be found in Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Bihar. According to the 2011 census the tribe numbers about 30,452 individuals. The Asurs have been described as a tribe with several smaller subgroups, namely the Bir Asurs, the Birjiyas, and the Agarias. The Asurs are mentioned in the myths and oral epics of other Ādivāsī tribes. One of these is the Asur Kahani, a Munda oral epic in which the Asurs are described as a race of mighty iron smelters who were punished by the tribal sun god, Singbonga. The Asurs also receive scholarly…
Date: 2019-11-02

Asur: The Asurs through Their Myths: Celebrating Iron and the Anti-heroes of the Hindu Epics

(3,406 words)

Author(s): Borde, Radhika
This article focuses on the religiosity of the Bir Asurs, who are known more simply as the Asurs. However, for purposes of comparison and better elucidation, it will also touch upon the religiosity of the Agarias, who are a branch of the larger Asur tribe. The Indian government has given the Asurs the status of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG). The fieldwork for this article, carried out between 2007 and 2017, was conducted in four villages of a plateau region around the town of Netarhat (Jharkhand), namely, Dhudikona, Ramjharia, Jobhipat, and Sakhuapani. The Asurs’ Craft an…
Date: 2019-11-02