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Barot, Rohit (1980) The social organisation of a Swaminarayan sect in Britain. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00028835

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Abstract

This dissertation presents an ethnographic and anthropological study of Shree Swaminarayan Siddhanta Sajivan Mandal, a Hindu sect among the Leva Kanbi Patels of Cutch who have recently settled in Britain, Defined in the context of colonial migration and the settlement of sect members both in East Africa and Britain, the study focuses on the sect's ideology of salvation as it is conceptualised in the polar opposites of moksha and man. Moksha is a state of salvation and man a contrary state of assertive individual interest. The connection moksha and man has to the social organisation of the sect is explained by interrelated spheres of ritual and authority. Members of the sect follow a sequence of temple- based institutional rituals which induce the purity essential for moksha. This purity must be complimented with devotional compliance to the authority of the sect leader and those who speak for him. Whenever members fail to comply, the leaders interpret this as defiance expressing man. The antithetical relationship between moksha and man is thus related to the contrasting patterns of compliance and efiance. The study also explains the rise of Shree Swaminarayan Siddhanta Sajivan Mandal as an independent sect in the Swaminarayan movement in Gujarat and the effects of segmentary division between primary and secondary Swaminarayan sects on the caste of Leva Kanbi Patels. As this sect based cleavage in the caste has acquired a nev/ meaning in Britain, explanation of its recurrence shows the extent to which the British social conditions influence expression of a category seen to possess a traditional form. In reproducing the basis of their organisation in a new environment, members of the sect respond to a wide range of British institutions. The multiplicity of these institutions and their complex operation impinges on the everyday life of the sect members. The process of change that occurs in the interplay between the sect and the social institutions of the British society indicates the degree to which the secular attributes are likely to influence the sect. The significance of these elements in the process of change is an important theme in the analysis of ideology and social organisation of Shree Swaminarayan Siddhanta Sajivan Mandal in Britain.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00028835
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:03
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/28835

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