Feeding a Thousand Souls: Women, Ritual, and Ecology in India- An Exploration of the Kolam

Vijaya Nagarajan (Author)

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
November 09, 2018
6.1 X 0.6 X 9.2 inches | 1.2 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Vijaya Nagarajan is an associate professor in the Department of Theology/Religious Studies and in the Program of Environmental Studies at the University of San Francisco.


"Vijaya Nagarajan ... refers to the belief in Hindu mythology that Hindus have a "karmic obligation" to "feed a thousand souls," or offer food to those that live among us. By providing a meal of rice flour to bugs, ants, birds, and insects, she writes, the Hindu householder begins the day with "a ritual of generosity," with a dual offering to divinity and to nature." -- Rohini Chaki, Gastro Obscura

"The kolam is the most beautiful and evanescent artistic form of the goddess in South India, created ritually each and every day by millions of women. This beautiful book is a treasure, bringing to life for the first time the wealth of meanings of this form of women's religious practice."--Diana L. Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, Harvard Divinity School

"This is the book of a lifetime, and it represents a lifetime's work on Tamil women's daily ritual practice, the artful threshold designs variously known as kolam, alpana and rangoli throughout much of the Indian subcontinent. Vijaya Nagarajan tells local and diasporic stories of the kolam with passion, sensitivity, and a deep ethnographic identification with the women whose generosity daily feeds a thousand souls."--Kamala Visweswaran, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego