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Title: Locating Dharmamangal in the Rarh Bengal: A Brief Analysis of its Social Significance
Authors: Bhaumik, Sudarshana
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Vidyasagar University , Midnapore , West Bengal , India
Series/Report no.: Vidyasagar University Journal of History;2017-2018
Abstract: The present study is an attempt to locate the Dharmamangal texts of the Mangalkavya genre , in the context of social history of Bengal. Since time immemorial, Bengal had been the intermingling of diverse races, creeds, religions and cultures. Unlike in the north , where we find Aryan domination or in the South where there was the prominence of Dravidian culture the heterogeneity of the Indian history and culture was nowhere so markedly pronounced as it happened in Bengal. Bengal can be rightly called an ethnographic museum. This uniqueness of Bengal’s diverse and heterogeneous cultural mosaic also manifests its assimilative character. It can be said in anthropological and sociological terminology various types of cultural changes have been taken place in Bengal for example assimilation, acculturation, diffusion, syncretism and transculturation. Even after the process of aryanisation , the bulk of the population consisted of non Aryan elements and on them, the impact of that late aryanisation was rudimentary and partial. Even the high caste Bengali population was very much influenced by non- Aryan elements, which can be termed as folk element or folk tradition. From the anthropological point of view it can be said that there existed the little and great traditions of Hinduism in ancient Bengal side by sided influencing each other. The Dharmangalkavya belonged to the sub genre of the Mangalkavya tradition and formed a part of the ‘little tradition’ of the Indian religious trend. The text was composed between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries in the south-western parts of Bengal, to glorify Dharmathakur, a folk deity, who was at times identified with Siva, Vishnu and even represented Lord Buddha in the days of degeneracy of Buddhism in Bengal. In the later years a wave of Hindu thought transformed the deity into a more semi Hinduised cult of the lower orders of Bengal. With this development, a very rich folk literature grew up in the Rarh region of Bengal in the name Dharmangalkavya. The paper will thus highlight a trend of acceptance of the cult in the upper strata of the society as it has been depicted in the narrative that his qualities that of Siva, Surya & Vishnu, which are actually emphasized for indicating his relation with the established Hindu Gods. At the same time, the paper would also focus on how the indigenous population of this region got attracted towards this cult, associated with this narrative.
ISSN: 2321-0834
Appears in Collections:Vidyasagar University Journal of History Vol 6 [2017-2018]

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