A New God in the Diaspora?

Muneeswaran Worship in Contemporary Singapore

by Vineeta Sinha

  • Published:
  • Pages: 355 pp.
  • illustrated
  • Series number: 107
Available from NIAS Press in Europe

Providing an ethnographic documentation of urban-based Hindu religiosity in contemporary Singapore, this book makes an important contribution to the global study of religion in the diasporas.

This book examines the worship in contemporary Singapore of the Hindu deity Muneeswaran. The strong presence and veneration of this male deity on the island, and the innovative styles of religiosity now associated with him, justify calling Muneeswaran a ‘new’ god from the Diaspora.

The author documents a neglected aspect of local Hinduism and the ritual domain surrounding guardian deities (kaval deivam) such as Muneeswaran. She raises a broader question: why does this deity, brought from Tamilnadu to Malaya more than 170 years ago, have such a strong appeal for young Singaporean Hindus three and four generations removed from their Indian origins.

This study ‘will become an important link in a small but growing interdisciplinary field: the study of continuity, change and innovation in new urban Hindu-based religiosity’ (external reader).

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Vineeta Sinha is an associate professor at the National University of Singapore in the Department of Sociology.  She writes on a range of subjects including but not limited to the Hindu diaspora, sociological theory, and the sociology and anthropology of religion.

Vineeta Sinha is an associate professor at the National University of Singapore in the Department of Sociology.  She writes on a range of subjects including but not limited to the Hindu diaspora, sociological theory, and the sociology and anthropology of religion.

Sinha works on various publications such as the e-Bulletin (a publication for the International Sociological Association) and the Social Sciences in Asia (Monograph Series).  She is also Deputy Editor of the Asian Journal of Social Science, published at Leiden.

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by A. Mani, Professor of Asia Pacific Studies at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan
From journal:
Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Vol. 23, No. 1 (2008)

"The book is a first of its kind in documenting the rise of a God amongst Hindus outside the Indian subcontinent. 

… The author deserves recognition for the thoroughness with which the book has been completed."

"The book is a first of its kind in documenting the rise of a God amongst Hindus outside the Indian subcontinent. 

… The author deserves recognition for the thoroughness with which the book has been completed."

by Daniel P.S. Goh
From journal:
Asian Journal of Social Science, vol. 36, 2008

"Sinha has written a book with implications for the study of religious change that go beyond Hinduism and the laboratory of Singapore."

"Sinha has written a book with implications for the study of religious change that go beyond Hinduism and the laboratory of Singapore."

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