SOAS - 10th Jaina Studies Workshop [12] The Man Who Fell From The Gopuram: Picking Up Pieces In Kanchi

Posted: 08.04.2008
Updated on: 29.11.2012

Friday, 7th March 2008
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theater

 Jaina Art & Architecture
10th Jaina Studies Workshop at SOAS


Dr. Christoph Emmrich,
Department and Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto

The Man Who Fell From The Gopuram: Picking Up Pieces In Kanchi


Though today of the fabled 83 temples of Jina Kanchi only one is left standing, it is surprising to learn that allegedly there are still about 300 practicing laypeople with lineages going back to the times of the former centre of Tamil Jaina worship and learning. How do the Jainas of Kanchi talk about their own glorious past with its narrative being dyed by the blood of the Śaiva histories claiming their persecution? How do they strike the balance between representation and discreteness, between trying to live as a community while being concerned about the consequences of being perceived? What contemporary per­sonas and performances have been prompted by the anxieties of be­ing too brāhmaṇical, or not Tamil enough? And, between all this, what happened to Jaina scholarship in Kanchi, deprived of its institutions: wiped out and forgotten? Answers to this may be found in the ongoing local discussions and documents surrounding places, roles and agents of worship and by the ways textual traditions here are being transmitted in the absence of a monastic community.

10 minutes on video:

Full SpeechAudio:

Dr. Christoph Emmrich

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