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Recasting Folk in the HimalayasIndian Music, Media, and Social Mobility$
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Stefan Fiol

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041204

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041204.001.0001

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The Goddess Plugged In

The Goddess Plugged In

Pritam Bhartwan and the Commodification of Possession Rituals

Chapter:
(p.158) 6 The Goddess Plugged In
Source:
Recasting Folk in the Himalayas
Author(s):

Stefan Fiol

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252041204.003.0007

Jagar rituals have long been stigmatized as a type of folk religion because they involve animal sacrifice, corporeal possession, and the participation of low-status divinities and social groups. In recent decades, however, jagar has become a quintessential marker of regional belonging and religious expression in Uttarakhand. The public acceptance of jagar is part of a broader mobilization of vernacular devotional forms across South Asia facilitated by the growing economic clout of urban migrants and vernacular music industries. The hereditary drummer and healer Pritam Bhartwan has been a major catalyst for the resignification of jagar. This chapter highlights the transformations within Pritam Bhartwan’s own public persona as a means of illuminating the shifts in the public perception of jagar and in the concept of folk more broadly.

Keywords:   Pritam Bhartwan, commodification, spirit possession, healing rituals, folk religion, popular Hinduism, Jagar, Sanskritization, stigmatization of ritual practice, social mobility

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