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Accepted Paper:

(Re)locating the sacred, (re)connecting the past: Temporalities and rootedness of Vaishnavite monasteries in Assam, India  
Simashree Bora (Cotton University, Guwahati Assam)

Paper Short Abstract:

The paper seeks to comprehend the relocation of Vaishnavite (Hindu) monasteries situated in an island in Assam, India due to flood and erosion. What happens when they are dislocated from their place of origin and relocated/transferred to a new place?

Paper Abstract:

Situated on the river Brahmaputra, Majuli, a river island in the northeastern state of Assam, India, encompasses the complexities of natural and human world; and provides an amalgamation of both static and dynamic aspects of nature and culture. The island is a home to the most prominent and prestigious seats of Vaishnavite monasteries, the Sattra, which represent the island as a sacred landscape, a heritage site and an ecologically unique habitat. Over the past decades, flood and erosion as continuous process has transformed the landscape, that includes dislocation and displacement of people and places. This paper seeks to explore uprooting and dislocation of monasteries from their place of origin, by documenting the events of floods and erosion as ecological and political processes. What historicities are involved in seeking connections in the events of relocation/transfer of monasteries, especially outside the island? The paper looks at ‘temporality’, ‘dislocation’ and ‘relocation’ of institutions through the lens of monks and devotees, and their memories of the past. The paper argues that the complexity of such process is embedded in the political economy of the monasteries and their entanglement with the state.

Panel P204
Roots and their undoing: ethnographies of connection and dislocation
  Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -