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Cracow Indological Studies 2012 - 14

Cracow Indological Studies
Cracow Indological Studies / Jagiellonian University, Institute of Oriental Philology. - Vol. 14 (2012). - Kraków : Księgarnia Akademicka, 2012. - ca. 279 S.
ISSN 1732-0917

Part. I. Dṛśya. Visual and Performing Arts
Lidia Sudyka:
Introduction. S. V
David Smith:
One man and many women: some notes on the harem in mainly ancient and medieval India from sundry perspectives. S. 1-16
Abstract: This paper is a commentary on the anonymous verse snātā tiṣṭhati kuntaleśvarasutā, where a king is flummoxed by his immediate harem duties. The Hindu harem is placed in the wider context of other female multiplicities, including yoginīs. Postcolonial critiques of western misunderstanding of harems as merely male indulgence are referred to; and so too is Desai’s view that a mystical yantra underlies the most erotic art of Khajuraho. However, kāvya and Hindu art rejoiced in the eroticism of the king and his harem. Evolutionary biology suggests that male sexuality, when overstretched, needs novelty.

Elena Restelli:
Adoption, adaptation, transformation: the Mahiṣamardinī imagery in pre-Kuṣāṇa and Kuṣāṇa art. S. 17-33
Abstract: The origin of the goddess killing the buffalo-demon is very obscure. Sculptural evidence starts with the beginning of the Common Era. The early specimens of Mahiṣamardinῑ motif are dated in the pre-Kuṣāṇa and Kuṣāṇa periods (c. 2nd century B.C. – 2nd century A. D.) and are found mainly in North Central India. This paper deals with the study of the icons of the goddess coming from Mathurā and belonging to this period. Here the Devῑ is shown while pressing the hind part of the buffalo with one of her hands and breaking the animal’s neck with another. By analysing the distinctive features of the icons we will show their composite nature. The multiple arms of the goddess give strong indication that there is much in the nature of the deity that relates to the indigenous traditions; however, the goddess displays in her attire some traits which can be at home in more than one culture. We will assume that, due to the specific historical and cultural period, the goddess has absorbed into her iconography a few motifs originating from non-Indian areas but sufficiently familiar in the local traditions so as to be assimilated; in fact, during the pre-Kuṣāṇa and Kuṣāṇa ages, the pathways between the territories beyond the Northwest frontiers and North India were more than connective routes carrying goods. Ideas and cultural innovations also travelled. Adoption, adaptation, transformation. These may be the hallmarks characterizing the vitality and creativity of pre-Kuṣāṇa and early Kuṣāṇa art, as can be represented by our goddess.
In an attempt to understand where the notion of the multi-armed goddess with the buffalo comes from, we will analyze the iconographic units and stylistic idiosyncrasies of her imagery explaining why this occurs only in the Doab and how the components merged together in the iconography of the goddess. This process will be treated as being representative of the cultural and political climate fostered by pre-Kuṣāṇa and Kuṣāṇa rulers who were evidently interested in integrating motifs and foreign prototypes and in transforming them into new artistic idioms affecting the indigenous output.

Vera Lazzaretti:
Constructing the eternal city of light through history and society: evolution of the image of Kāśī in the 18th - 20th centuries “picture maps”. S. 35-60
Abstract: No account or discourse on Kāśī goes without claiming the extraordinary status of the place; the city is considered the eternal tīrtha, where all notable places of Indian sacred geography are represented by local replicas; moreover, according to Puranic tradition Kāśī dwells on Lord Śiva triśūla, surviving the universal dissolution for it exists outside space, beyond time. The perception of the historical place gets often confused with the mythical image forged by the māhātmya tradition and supported by different actors in the course of time (sacred specialists, “new Hindūs”, nationalists, orientalists and tourists). The paper deals with the image of Kāśī beyond time and space and analyses its construction through history and society. Basing our reflections on the phenomenological approach to the study of spatial dimension, we want to highlight the interactions between the struggle of creation of a mythic space of the city and the inevitable intrusions and contributions of lived places and their practices, as depicted in the visual sources on Banāras.

Natalia Lidova:
The Nāṭyaśāstra: the Origin of the Ancient Indian Poetics. S. 61-85
Abstract: The Sanskrit treatise Nāṭyaśāstra is the most ancient and authoritative Indian text on the arts. Some researchers, trying to single out the most ancient kernel of the text, dated it to the 5th century BCE. Others, meaning the concluding stage of its formation, by which the treatise had incorporated interpolations from different times, proposed much later dates up to the 7th-8th centuries CE. It is widely believed that the treatise acquired its modern form between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE. Of an encyclopaedic scope, the Nāṭyaśāstra treats a great variety of topics and comprises a manual for producers and performers, treatises on the theory of drama and aesthetics, as well as the oldest poetic theory in the Indian tradition. The main aim of this paper is to analyze the Nāṭyaśāstra as the earliest available source for the study of the Ancient Indian poetics.

Elisa Ganser, Daniele Cuneo:
The Actor’s Social Status and Agency. Fame or Misery? S. 87-131
Abstract: The position of the actor in the Nāṭyaśāstra,2the first and foremost Indian treatise of dramaturgical principles, is ambiguous, to say the least. Although the actor represents the practical focus of a large number of chapters (all that concern abhinaya, i.e. “representation”) and the veritable centre of any conceivable theatrical performance, the actors are cursed to be degraded to the status of śūdras in the thirty-sixth chapter of the Nāṭyaśāstra, because they have misused their histrionic abilities to mock the r̥ ṣis. The lowermost social status of the actors in ancient Indian society is confirmed by passages of the Mānavadharmaśāstra, and other Smr̥ tis. However, the last chapter of the Nāṭyaśāstra leaves the possibility for the actors to redeem themselves from their condition and win back their original status of brāhmaṇas. An inquiry into the aforementioned curse-and-atonement episode allows us to account for the ambiguity of the status of the performer, especially focusing on the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh chapter of the Nāṭyaśāstra in the light of Abhinavagupta’s commentary, and to assess the general ethics of the profession in early and medieval India.

Klara Gönc Moačanin:
Indian Society as Depicted in the Caturbhāṇῑ and in Mahendravikramavarman’s Prahasanas. S. 133-145
Abstract: In the classical Indian theatre or nāṭya, two rūpakas: nāṭaka and prakaraṇa, represent the most valued rūpakas or dramatic varieties. Nāṭaka, with its mytho-heroic-love subject and idealized representation of life, does not give a realistic picture of Indian life as prakaraṇas, profane in their character, do by describing urban life (Śūdraka’s Mr̥ cchakaṭikā) or courtly life (Kālidāsa’s Mālavikāgnimitra). The third preserved prakaraṇa, Bhavabhūti’s Mālatῑmādhava, with its love story, gives some socio-religious background (tantrism) as well.
But the most plastic picture of everyday social life in ancient India is to be found in two other rūpakas, namely bhāṇa and prahasana. Bhāṇas are exemplified in Caturbhāṇῑ, in the texts of Śyāmilaka, Vararuci, Śūdraka and Īśvaradatta; and prahasanas are best represented in the work of Mahendravikramavarman. A lively description of the city life is achieved by bringing on the stage people from different strata of the society in a kaleidoscopic range of interesting characters.

Danielle Feller:
Nuns involving in the affairs of the world. The depiction of Buddhist nuns in Bhavabhūti’s Mālatīmādhava. S. 147-168
Abstract: In Bhavabhūti’s play, the Mālatīmādhava, we find the characters of three Buddhist nuns. Though by no means negative or disreputable characters, these nuns nevertheless display a behaviour that contravenes some explicitly stated precepts of the Buddhist dharma, such as lying, acting as go-betweens and encouraging others to commit suicide. This paper examines in detail the nuns’ behaviour, trying to assess what merely belongs to the realm of dramatic fiction, and what might correspond – at least to some extent – to reality.

Lidia Sudyka, Cezary Galewicz:
The eightfold gymnastics of mind: a preliminary report on the idea and tradition of aṣṭāvadhāna. S. 169-192
Abstract: The present paper stems from a field study initiated in 2006-2008 in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It aims at drawing a preliminary image of the hitherto unstudied art of avadhāna (Skt.: ‘attentivness, concentration’) of which aṣṭāvadhāna (literally: eightfold concentration) seems to be a better known variety. The paper presents a selection of epigraphic and literary evidence thereof and sketches a historical and social background of avadhāna to go with a report on the present position of its tradition of performance as well as prevailing set of rules.

Maria Angelillo:
Caste in the making, dance in the making. S. 193-213
Abstract: The present paper is based on fieldwork in Pushkar (Rajasthan) with the Kalbelia caste: traditionally associated with snake charming, it has recently been turning its own musical and dance heritage into a distinguishing feature of Rājasthānī folklore. This paper, through the description of the ethnohistory of Kalbelia dance leads to some considerations concerning the social status of female professional dancers in modern Indian society. The present social status of female professional dancers will be here described as an outcome of the past British colonial presence in India. The analysis will prove how the colonial past continues to haunt the Indian social and cultural present. Besides, through this case study, it will be argued that caste is not the unchanging, historically frozen structure as ethnographic imagination has largely presented it. On the contrary, caste will be considered to be the product of a dynamic balance ruled by economic, ideological and cultural requests.

Tatiana Szurlej:
The Indian struggle for independence in popular Hindi films of last decade. S. 215-254
Abstract: The present paper is a short presentation on the most popular historical films produced in Bollywood after 2000, which proved to be a great success both in India and abroad, and which represent not only the era of British domination in the Subcontinent but also the subsequent independence. This time was rather traumatic for India, because of the division of the country and the accompanying violence, which was on an unprecedented scale, making it unappealing material for a mainstream movie. This paper presents some common ways in which filmmakers in India introduce every uncomfortable historical fact and show victory in a particular way without revealing the dark and uncomfortable aspects of the times in question.
The purpose of this article is to present the observed basic methods employed by filmmakers in manipulating the audience, rather than to be historical research, or detailed discussion of all historical films about the era of British domination in the Subcontinent.

Gautam Chakrabarti:
The Bhadralok as Truth-Seeker: Towards a Social History of the Bengali Detective. S. 255-268
Abstract: The figure of the socially-engaged detective who transcends his – a highly gendered agency operates here – generically-sanctioned roles as a glorified intellectual mercenary or “gumshoe”, solver of conundrums and “tangled skeins”, champion of the rule-of-law and keeper of the last resort, while attempting to uphold a universe of moral and ethical values that, simultaneously, do not stray too far from the high road of societal and political acceptability, is a figure to conjure within the literary history of Bengal in the twentieth century. In the present essay, the attempt will be made to study, through a comparativist’s prism, this gravitas, endowed by society, which is associated with the image of the successful private investigator in Bengal; often, his is a voice striking a blow for the spirit of rational enquiry, as with Feluda, and, in other cases, he upholds the dignity of the traditional order/s, while exposing its/their soft underbelly of moral corruption and criminal collusion, as with Byomkesh Bakshi.


Quellen: Księgarnia Akademicka; Central and Eastern European Online Library