A New God in the Diaspora?

Muneeswaran Worship in Contemporary Singapore

by Vineeta Sinha

355 pp., illustrated
NIAS Monographs # 107
Available from NIAS Press in Europe

Paperback - 2005, Available
ISBN 978 87 91114 95 3, £17.99

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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