William Dalrymple Discusses Religious Traditions in India

Thursday, June 17, 2010

William Dalrymple documents traditional forms of religious life in India and discusses how they’re being transformed by the region’s rapid modernization. In Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India he profiles devotional dancers, a Buddhist monk, a Jain nun, among others, who continue ancient religious traditions at risk of being entirely lost in a changing India.

William Dalrymple will be reading along with a performance by musicians from India and Pakistan  
"Nine Lives: Sacred Music from South India"
Friday, June 18th, at 7:30 pm, and Saturday, June 19, at 7:30 pm
The Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
Tickets: $25 members, $30 students/seniors, $35 non-members; more information here, or call 212-288-6400.

William Dalrymple will be speaking and signing books
Saturday, June 26, at 4:00 pm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sacerdote Lecture Hall
1000 Fifth Avenue
For tickets and additional info, visit


William Dalrymple

Comments [10]


@jp - Jainism is regarded as the oldest religion in the world. Everyday Jains are different from monks. The most important principle of Jainism is "Live and let live". Jains do not evangelize, although anyone is free to embrace it by choice. Many westerners fail to understand the essence of eastern religions. English terms do not fully express the true motives of these traditions.

Jul. 09 2010 07:22 PM

"mray from 11215

Sachin -- can you suggest where a westerner can obtain a better understanding... a beginning of an understanding? thank you if possible."

Marry do not know exactly what you are looking for but you may want to send email to vicharak at gmail dot com.

I know this gentlemen he can point you to right direction.

Good Luck..

Jun. 18 2010 09:37 AM
sumukha from Short Hills, NJ

Sachin- don't get so touche' and extra sensitive to a 5 second giggle, but do give him credit for his extraordinary work. we Indians get so defensive when it comes to our traditions and culture. It is people like him who spent their life time researching what interests them and are putting our own traditions into writing for posterity sake. Lets not forget, even in India, people don't really know too much about people from other communities. Most Punjabis still call almost anybody from south of the vindhyas as 'Madrasi'. Knowledge is good, even if it comes from the so called, 'Foreigner'. Looking at our religious traditions dispassionately gives a better perspective than a passion driven self gloating look at, "MY traditions".

Jun. 17 2010 03:27 PM

mray; Apologies if I touched a nerve. I was interestingly listening to his view until he started laughing while talking about Haridas movement; that 5 second of his laugh told everyone that he just doesn’t get it. I am in no way associated with this movement and my lines below are based on the basic principle that if you don’t understand something you don’t disrespect it.

Jun. 17 2010 02:05 PM
mray from 11215

Sachin -- can you suggest where a westerner can obtain a better understanding... a beginning of an understanding? thank you if possible.

Jun. 17 2010 01:40 PM

Something always pops up when a western writer writes/talks something about Indian religion and that is: all masala topics like religious prostitution, suicidal fasting, and peoples craze about various gurus etc etc. I rarely hear good deep things about what those practices teaches you and the reason is very clear: they just can’t understand it. My point is when they cant understand the basic of things why bother writing about it?

As an Indian leaving in united states for last 10-15 years I always found it funny when people think they know all about Hinduism and India but all they know is bits of yoga mixed with what elephant god looks like and what Shiva does. I haven’t read his new book but I do know about Mr William Dalrymple. I wasn’t really impressed when he calls himself an historian with specialization in Indian religion and laughs while talking about Haridas.

Jun. 17 2010 01:37 PM
mray from 11215

could you print or point to some of the poems that are so beautiful that Mr. Dalrymple is quoting. hearing a little today gave me a long lost feeling of love and hope.

Jun. 17 2010 01:28 PM

Wikipedia on Kerala:
"Females comprise 51.42% of the population; males form the remaining 48.58% of the population.[108]:26 Kerala's principal religions are Hinduism (56.2%), Islam (24.70%), and Christianity (19.00%).[109] In comparison with the rest of India, Kerala experiences relatively little sectarianism."

Jun. 17 2010 01:19 PM

When did jainism develop? How did it spread?
Was it a state religion?

Jun. 17 2010 01:13 PM

What about everyday Jains?

Jun. 17 2010 01:10 PM

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