MAY 2024

Annual Lectures Britain - Nepal Academic CouncilActivitiesAnnual Lectures

BNAC 20th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Nepal Lecture 2020

September 29, 2020

Lecture title:
Satyahangma Rituals: Commemorating Phalgunanda in Eastern Nepal (सत्यहाङ्मा संस्कारहरू: पूर्वी नेपालमा फाल्गुनन्दको पुण्यस्मृति)

By: Prof Martin Gaenszle (Professor of Cultural and Intellectual History of Modern South Asia, the University of Vienna, Austria.)

Date, time and venue:

Date: Thursday, 5 November 2020
Time: 12.30 (20th Anniversary Programme). Lecture to start at 13.00 (UK time)
Venue: Zoom
Registration : Required (limited space, first come first serve)
Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYkcOCoqjMrGdcQyPbxrVeExvhT3mm1oCSU
The programme and lecture will be live on BNAC Facebook (www.facebook.com/BNAC.UK).

Poster:Poster(PDF, 820kb)

The new Kiranti religion founded by the spiritual leader and “national luminary” (Mahaguru) Phalgunanda Lingden (1885-1949) is a unique blend of an ethnic tradition marked by shamanic practice and elements of Hinduism. Little is known about the ritual practice performed by the Mahaguru himself and his disciples. However, today, the major successor, Atmananda Lingden, is propagating his version of Satyahangma religion and building a large community of followers. Rituals are based on the Samjik Mundhum, the red book which is the canonical text. The presentation will take a look at the making of this ritual tradition and the controversies which have resulted from different interpretations of Phalgunanda’s heritage. The biggest event in the year is the celebration of Phalgunanda’s birthday on Kartik 25. Especially in east Nepal this is an event of great spiritual as well as political importance, as could be observed in 2018.


Martin Gaenszle is Professor in Cultural and Intellectual History of Modern South Asia at the University of Vienna, Austria. He has a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology, University of Heidelberg where he also studied Indology and Philosophy. Since 1984 he has been involved in field research in Nepal and North India. From 2000 to 2003 he worked in a collaborative research project on Banaras, India, doing research on the ethnohistory of the Nepali locality. From 2004 to 2006 he was fieldwork coordinator and ethnographic researcher in an interdisciplinary research project documenting two endangered languages in Nepal, Chintang and Puma. Currently he works in a project on Limbu religion in the Nepal-India borderland and heads a project on the Viennese ethnologist and Tibetologist René de Nebesky-Wojkowitz. Among his book publications are the monographs Origins and Migrations: Kinship, Mythology and Ethnic Identity Among the Mewahang Rai (Mandala Book Point, 2000) and Ancestral Voices: Oral Ritual Texts and their Social Contexts among the Mewahang Rai of East Nepal (LIT Verlag, 2002). A recent edited volume is Ritual Speech in the Himalayas: Oral Texts and their Contexts (Harvard University Press, 2018). His major research focus is the study of Kiranti religion and its transformations in the contemporary world. Further scholarly interests include religious pluralism, ethnicity, local history and oral traditions in South Asia, in particular the Himalayan region.


For more information and enquiries please contact Dr Krishna Adhikari by
email: krishna.adhikari@anthro.ox.ac.uk

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