The Temple Road Towards a Great India

Birla Mandirs as a Strategy for Reconstructing Nation and Tradition

Marta Kudelska, Dorota Kamińska-Jones, Agnieszka Staszczyk, and Agata Świerzowska,

Jagiellonian University Press

The Temple Road Towards a Great India

Pub Date: January 2020

ISBN: 9788323346463

608 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $65.00£54.00

The Temple Road Towards a Great India

Birla Mandirs as a Strategy for Reconstructing Nation and Tradition

Marta Kudelska, Dorota Kamińska-Jones, Agnieszka Staszczyk, and Agata Świerzowska,

Jagiellonian University Press

The book presents the results of research carried out in recent years on the temples founded by the Birla family in northern and central India. The material gathered by the authors and the preliminary analysis based on it led to the creation of the first publication of this type, not only in Polish literature on the subject but also internationally. This is a monograph based on first-hand material, presenting the whole of the Birlas' sacral foundations – referring both to their importance in the context of national art, as well as their functioning in the social or political discourse on identity in pre-independence India. This project run for decades by successive Birla generations constitutes a highly coherent enterprise. The guiding idea was defined as building foundations for the spiritual and political power of modern India through a new reading of Indian tradition, in line with the challenges of the twentieth century. The book is therefore addressed to readers interested in India, particularly in the interpretation and recreation of tradition using the medium of art. The data presented in this book – representing only a small fragment of what was gathered – and the subsequent discussion open up new, extremely promising directions of research.

About the Author

Marta Kudelska is the chair of the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations, Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Her research interests include Indian philosophy and Sanskrit literature.

Dorota Kamińska-Jones is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. She is also lecturer of Indology at the University of Warsaw. Her research interests include the art and culture of India and Great Britain, above all from the period of the Empire, feminism, colonialism, and intercultural relations; she is particularly concerned with issues related to womanhood.

Agnieszka Staszczyk is an assistant professor at the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Her research concerns the art of the Indian subcontinent—especially early iconography, the origin and cultural function of religious representations, and the architecture of modern temples.

Agata Świerzowska is an assistant professor in the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Her field of interest covers the theory of religion and contemporary changes in religion and spirituality seen from an intercultural perspective.