God of Justice: Ritual Healing and Social Justice in the Central Himalayas

Paperback | February 1, 2009

byWilliam S. Sax

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God of Justice deals with ritual healing in the Central Himalayas of north India, focusing on the cult of Bhairav, a local deity associated with the lowest castes, who are frequently victims of social injustice. When they are exploited or abused they often turn to Bhairav for justice,beseeching him to afflict their oppressors with disease and misfortune. In order to bring their suffering to an end, the oppressors must make amends with their victims and worship Bhairav together with them. Much of the book focuses on the tension between the high moral value placed on family unityon the one hand, and the inevitable conflicts within it on the other. This highly readable book describes the author's own experiences in the field as well as ritual healing practices such as divination, sacrifice, and exorcism.

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God of Justice deals with ritual healing in the Central Himalayas of north India, focusing on the cult of Bhairav, a local deity associated with the lowest castes, who are frequently victims of social injustice. When they are exploited or abused they often turn to Bhairav for justice,beseeching him to afflict their oppressors with dise...

William S. Sax is a Professor and Head of the Anthropology Department at the South Asia Insistute University of Heidelberg in Germany.

other books by William S. Sax

Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:February 1, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195335856

ISBN - 13:9780195335859

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"This is an extraordinarily fine ethnography, the result of the author's many years of familiarity with the Harijans of Garhwal. It is a classic example of the work of a dying breed of anthropologists. This is a compelling book, dealing with a deeply moving human situation and bringing it to the reader in simple, powerful language." --Wendy Doniger, author of The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was "God of Justice offers not only a unique ethnographic case study of healing rituals among Dalits in India's Central Himalayas, but an excellent example of an anthropologist's lived multipositionality and reflexivity while carrying out fieldwork. It provides the reader a rare glimpse into what it is like for an anthropologist to engage the cosmology of his informants, while simultaneously attempting to understand what is occurring using the lenses of social theory and the filters of personal experience. Sax's resonance with the embodied experiences of participants is key to his appreciation of how ritual works. He moves the reader beyond the exotic to an understanding of the humanity of the people about whom he writes and their means of seeking justice, retribution, and peace." --Mark Nichter, Regents' Professor and Professor of Anthropology, University of Arizona "God of Justice is an accessible and engaging ethnography. Through richly detailed narration of ritual action and interpersonal conflict in encounters with gods and ghosts, the reader becomes Sax's companion as he travels Himalayan byways with healing gurus." --Thomas J. Csordas, author of Body/Meaning/Healing and The Sacred Self: A Cultural Phenomenology of Charismatic Healing