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Burning the Dead

by David Arnold

Burning the Dead Synopsis

Burning the Dead traces the evolution of cremation in India and the South Asian diaspora across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Through interconnected histories of movement, space, identity, and affect, it examines how the so-called traditional practice of Hindu cremation on an open-air funeral pyre was culturally transformed and materially refashioned under British rule, following intense Western hostility, colonial sanitary acceptance, and Indian adaptation. David Arnold examines the critical reception of Hindu cremation abroad, particularly in Britain, where India formed a primary reference point for the cremation debates of the late nineteenth century, and explores the struggle for official recognition of cremation among Hindu and Sikh communities around the globe. Above all, Arnold foregrounds the growing public presence and assertive political use made of Hindu cremation, its increasing social inclusivity, and its close identification with Hindu reform movements and modern Indian nationhood.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780520379343
Publication date: 2nd March 2021
Author: David Arnold
Publisher: University of California Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 268 pages
Categories: Asian history, Hindu worship, rites & ceremonies, Hinduism, History of religion, Political structure & processes, Colonialism & imperialism,

About David Arnold

David Arnold is Professor Emeritus of Asian and Global History at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Colonizing the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in Nineteenth-Century India and Everyday Technology: Machines and the Making of India's Modernity.

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