The Third Volume in the series Communication Processes engages in understanding processes of communication in relation to cultural configurations and contending forces that permeate them. This volume is positioned at the interface of culture and communication—exploring ways in which interaction, negotiations, and even conflicts are voiced. It re-examines our conception of culture to show that communities cannot be divided into polarities such as ‘elite and popular’ or ‘dominant and subaltern’—establishing that such clear divisions cannot exist in society. Culture is therefore perceived as a field of contending forces: a milieu of exchange, encounter, confrontation, and possibly conflict.
Chapter 16: On the Way to Paharī
On the Way to Paharī
I was in school in standard IV in 1981 when I first saw the pilgrims known as Vārkarīs heading en masse for Paharī to meet and worship their beloved Vithobā, god par excellence of the Bhakti cult in western Maharashtra, while proclaiming that ‘God is One’ and deprived of attributes and forms.1 We schoolboys looked with astonishment at these people walking in great numbers while proclaiming the names of Jñānadev and Tukārām.2 ‘Who are they?’ we asked. ‘If they have children like me at home, where have they possibly kept them? How sad the children must have felt to see that their parents had left them behind. Do these people have no feelings? What ...