Journal article / Temple Revival in Postcolonial Kerala

Roopesh, O. B. ‘Temple as a Site of Modern Contestations: Kshetra Punarudharanam in Postcolonial Kerala’. South Asian History and Culture. Published ahead of print, 30 July 2020.

Abstract (edited): Kshetra punarudharanam (temple revival) is a phrase one often comes across today in Kerala’s public spaces. It attests to a spike in temple activities in Kerala. This is seemingly in sharp contrast to the powerful representation of the state as a rational, enlightened entity with a strong Left/communist tradition and a strong developmental imperative.

This article argues that religion has been a significant strand in modern-day Kerala and that it has interfaced intimately with various secular progressive and developmental articulations of this region. Even when secular progressive sections mounted profound criticisms against faith and ritual, temples continuously reinvented and reshaped their relevance.

This paper argues that there was a significant simultaneity in the powerful critiques of religion/religiosity on the one hand, and the various calls for kshetra punarudharanam on the other.

The paper argues that, contrary to the dominant perception of its irrepressible disappearance (and thus the ‘revival’), religion continued to be both present and significant in what is constituted as the public.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup

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