Skip to main content
  • Book
  • © 2021

The Making of Goddess Durga in Bengal: Art, Heritage and the Public

Editors:

(view affiliations)
  • Draws attention to diverse issues emanating from the core subject of the art and heritage of Kumartuli

  • Aimed at a wide readership, including students, scholars, town planners, heritage preservationists, lawmakers, and readers interested in heritage in general and Kumartuli in particular

  • Highlights the challenges in terms of heritage facing the community of Kumbhakars (idol makers) and underlines the urgency of legal activism, social action, and governmental interventions

Buying options

eBook
USD 109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-981-16-0263-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD 149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xviii
  2. Introduction: The Making of Durga—Art, Heritage and the Public

    • Samir Kumar Das, Bishnupriya Basak
    Pages 1-33
  3. Cityscapes

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 35-35
    2. Re-imagining Kumartuli—The Artisan and the City

      • Madhumita Mazumdar
      Pages 37-59
    3. Durga Puja in Glasgow

      • John Reuben Davies
      Pages 61-81
  4. Publics

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 171-171
    2. Pratimasilpa and the Making of the Public

      • Samir Kumar Das
      Pages 173-202
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 229-240

About this book

This book examines the making of the Goddess Durga both as an art and as part of the intangible heritage of Bengal. As the ‘original site of production’ of unbaked clay idols of the Hindu Goddess Durga and other Gods and Goddesses, Kumartuli remains at the centre of such art and heritage. The art and heritage of Kumartuli have been facing challenges in a rapidly globalizing world that demands constant redefinition of ‘art’ with the invasion of market forces and migration of idol makers. As such, the book includes chapters on the evolution of idols, iconographic transformations, popular culture and how the public is constituted by the production and consumption of the works of art and heritage and finally the continuous shaping and reshaping of urban imaginaries and contestations over public space. It also investigates the caste group of Kumbhakars (Kumars or the idol makers), reflecting on the complex relation between inherited skill and artistry. Further, it explores how the social construction of art as ‘art’ introduces a tangled web of power asymmetries between ‘art’ and ‘craft’, between an ‘artist’ and an ‘artisan’, and between ‘appreciation’ and ‘consumption’, along with their implications for the articulation of market in particular and social relations in general. Since little has been written on this heritage hub beyond popular pamphlets, documents on town planning and travelogues, the book, written by authors from various fields, opens up cross-disciplinary conversations, situating itself at the interface between art history, sociology of aesthetics, politics and government, social history, cultural studies, social anthropology and archaeology. The book is aimed at a wide readership, including students, scholars, town planners, heritage preservationists, lawmakers and readers interested in heritage in general and Kumartuli in particular.

Keywords

  • Durga Puja (Festival of Worshipping Goddess Durga)
  • Heritage
  • Pratimas (Idols)
  • Popular Culture
  • Kumartuli (Potters’ Hub in Kolkata)
  • Kumbhakars

Reviews

“The book makes a valuable contribution to the study of public festivals … .” (Roma Chatterji, Journal of the Indian Anthropological Society, Vol. 56 (3), 2021)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Political Science, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India

    Samir Kumar Das

  • Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India

    Bishnupriya Basak

About the editors

Samir Kumar Das is Professor of Political Science at the University of Calcutta, Kolkata. Previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of North Bengal, Dean of Arts of the University of Calcutta and Postdoctoral Fellow (2005) of the Social Science Research Council (South Asia Program), he is Coordinator of the University Grants Commission-Departmental Research Support (UGC-DRS) Programme (Phases II & III) on ‘Democratic Governance: Comparative Perspectives’. He served as Visiting Fellow at the European Academy, Bolzano, Italy (2008), Adjunct Professor of Government at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (2014), Visiting Professor of the North East India Studies Programme at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi in 2015, and at the University of Paris 13 under Universite Sorbonne Paris Cite in 2016 among many of his assignments. He specializes in and writes on issues of ethnicity, identity, security, migration, rights and justice and has contributed over 190 research papers to highly esteemed national and international journals and edited volumes. Besides, he has been Regular Reviewer of some of the top journals, publishing houses and research bodies including Minority Rights International (London), EU-India Social Science and Humanities Platform (Lubljana) and European Research Council (Brussels).

Bishnupriya Basak is Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta.  She has been Recipient of many grants and awards, chiefly, Postdoctoral Visiting Fellowship in the UK, awarded by the Nehru Trust for Indian Collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2001), a short-term award from the Maison de l’Orient Mediterraneen Jean  Pouilloux, Lyon, France (2001), the UK Travel Award from the Nehru Trust for the Indian Collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2009), a short-term grant from Fondation Maison des Sciences  de l’Homme (FMSH), Paris (2009), and a research grant from Society of Antiquaries of London (2015). She was also nominated by ICCR as a member of the Indian delegation that visited Vietnam in 2005 and remained Honorary Lecturer of University College London, 2010–2014. Her specialization is in Bengal prehistory but she also researches extensively on archaeological theory, heritage studies and issues of historiography in Indian archaeology. She has more than thirty published papers to her credit, as well as a monograph and two (co) edited volumes. She is on the editorial board of peer-reviewed journals like Public Archaeology and has been nominated as the Sectional President, Archaeology of 81st Session of the Indian History Congress, 2020. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Making of Goddess Durga in Bengal: Art, Heritage and the Public

  • Editors: Samir Kumar Das, Bishnupriya Basak

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-0263-4

  • Publisher: Springer Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Literature, Cultural and Media Studies, Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-16-0262-7

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-981-16-0265-8

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-16-0263-4

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVIII, 240

  • Number of Illustrations: 6 b/w illustrations, 21 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Sociocultural Anthropology, Cultural Heritage, Urban History

Buying options

eBook
USD 109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-981-16-0263-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD 149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)