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.

More information:

Badaga: Fact Sheet

(464 words)

Author(s): Heidemann, Frank
Badagas are the principal farming community of the Nilgiris district. After settling on the plateau some centuries ago, Badagas developed their own Dravidian language called Badaga and a complex societal system, which links politics to religion and to kinship. P. Hockings (2013, 118–132) identifies ten phratries, mostly ranked endogamous groups made up of several clans. The largest endogamous group, comprising over 80% of the total population, is called in academic writing Gauda, Gauder, or Gowd…
Date: 2019-11-02

Badaga: The Religious and Political System of the Badagas

(5,856 words)

Author(s): Heidemann, Frank
According to even the first ethnographic record (Harkness, 1832, 110), the Badagas worship the sacred, ancestral couple Hette and Hiriodeya – Hette is also known as Hethai, Hette Iramasti, Hetty, Hethadeo, Ethaiamman, Ethaiammmal, Hetha(i)mman, Hetheswami, Hithethessamy, Hette somi, and Hiriodeya as Hiriyadeva, Hiriadeva, Heriah, Hereadeo, Hiriya Udaya, Hiriyasami (see Hockings & Pilot-Raichoor, 1992, 509, 606–607). Their own religion follows a Śaiva tradition, although the sacred couple is unknown by name outside this district. Yet, for some, Hette is seen as an avatār (ear…
Date: 2019-11-02