Death as the basic condition of life and as the ultimate destiny of all men is also a decisive factor in the shaping of cultures. This volume aims at surveying how various cultures (tribal, regional and pan-Indian) of South Asia come to terms with the horizon of dying, death and the dead. It combines the ethnographic point of view, that stresses the social and ritual forms related to death and the conceptual sides which favour the idea of an agency of texts. Moreover, this book does not just centre on the study of well-known articulate and self-projecting traditions but on cultures that lack this dimension. It sheds light on conceptual systems, ritual prescriptions and texts, and their interaction with the actual thinking and acting of people. The great variety of approaches to this subject found in this volume is a reflection of the diversity of South Asian cultures.
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