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Worshipping the colliery-goddess: Religion, risk and safety in the Indian coalfield (Jharia), 1895-2009
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
2016 (English)In: Contributions to Indian sociology, ISSN 0069-9667, E-ISSN 0973-0648, Vol. 50, no 2, 163-186 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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Abstract [en]

This article interprets the function of mine workers' observance of the colliery-goddess cult, described as the Khadan-Kali cult, for gaining access to divine power so as to secure safety, and explains its relationship with the new political and scientific accident-control emphases adopted by workers from the 1920s onwards. Some observers regard the workers' industrial-religious rites an expression of the pre-bourgeois customs. The latter is understood to have been in contradistinction to the modern principle of secular ethics and reason. Mine workers with such fatalistic' outlook could make few efforts to curb occupational hazards. Such outlook was an allegory of workers' loss of control over their own personal destinies and of the price they paid for industrialisation. These observations, my study shows, would overlook, in our case, the fact that the colliery-goddess cult embodied the desire of workers for control over hazardous mining and for self-preservation. Indeed, it gave way to the secular-safety politics and also inscribed newer meanings to the relationship between the deity and her adherents. Miners vested in it a critique of the new official scheme that attributed responsibility for fatality and injury to an individual miner and subjected him/her to certain punitive actions. The article relies on material collected from archives and historical-anthropological survey of 25 former mine workers, undertaken during 2003-09.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 50, no 2, 163-186 p.
Keyword [en]
colliery-goddess, Khadan-Kali cult, sacrificial rite, industrial-religious belief, mine workers, safety
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Study of Religions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-55060DOI: 10.1177/0069966716635397ISI: 000378569200002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84976582533OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-55060DiVA: diva2:949942
Available from: 2016-07-26 Created: 2016-07-22 Last updated: 2017-03-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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