Hindu Kingship: Ritual, Power and History

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Hindu Kingship: Ritual, Power and History

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Title: Hindu Kingship: Ritual, Power and History
Author: Chaulagain, Nawaraj
Citation: Chaulagain, Nawaraj. 2013. Hindu Kingship: Ritual, Power and History. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: This dissertation examines two major kingship rituals-- the coronation and the autumnal navaratri--as discussed in Hindu religious literature and ritual texts, and as practised in Nepal. These rituals are based on sacred myths and primarily oriented to the production of religious and socio-political dimensions of sovereign power. The Vedic, tantric, and other devotional acts as found in these rituals empower the king and construct his personal and corporate identity. The rituals are consequently strongly political, as various divine, human and other agencies invest the king with multiple powers and authorize him to rule; these agencies also negotiate their own relations, domains of influence, and hierarchies. These rituals produce a sacred and divine king and kingship, as well as sacred space, by establishing the king's connection (bandhu) and identification with many sources of power. As myth and ritual are used in the service of power and authority, they jointly promote each other to create, perpetuate, and strengthen these attributes. Since the uses of myth and ritual are strategic and ideological, they can be used to legitimize the status of the king and enforce the use of power on others. As illustrated in the recent history of Nepal, the myth and ritual can also be sites for dialogue, negotiation, resistance, subversion, and replacement of the same power. Religion and politics are deeply intertwined in these ritual activities; in fact, only in the deeply religious and devotional settings can the rituals exert maximum socio-political powers.
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11169774
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