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Becoming Religious in a Secular Age$
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Mark Elmore

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520290532

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520290532.001.0001

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God Is a Beggar

God Is a Beggar

Land Reforms Create Religion as a Separate Sphere

(p.58) Chapter Two God Is a Beggar
Becoming Religious in a Secular Age

Mark Elmore

University of California Press

This chapter describes the various transformations inaugurated by land reforms which facilitated the emergence of Himachali religion. It shows that while the reforms undercut the material relations between deities and villagers, the emergence of “religion” as an autonomous sphere allowed new forms of allegiance and affinity to grow. In particular, the growth of urban migration and increasing dissatisfaction with urban life created a nostalgia for one's natal village and the village deity. So, while village deities have been cut out of most material transactions, they have simultaneously been reinscribed in a privileged place in the modern Himachali imaginary.

Keywords:   land reform, Himachal Pradesh, religion, Himachali identity, statehood, local deities, Himachali imaginary

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