This collection of ten essays on Banaras, one of the largest urban centers in India's eastern Gangetic plain, is united by a common interest in examining everyday activities in order to learn about shared values and motivations, processes of identity formation, and self-conscious constructions of community.
Part One examines the performance genres that have drawn audiences from throughout the city. Part Two focuses on the areas of neighborhood, leisure, and work, examining the processes by which urban residents use a sense of identity to organize their activities and bring meaning to their lives. Part Three links these experiences within Banaras to a series of "larger worlds," ranging from language movements and political protests to disease ecology and regional environmental impact.
Banaras is a complex world, with differences in religion, caste, class, language, and popular culture; the diversity of these essays embraces those differences. It is a collection that will interest scholars and students of South Asia as well as anyone interested in comparative discussions of popular culture.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1989.