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Bodies of SongKabir Oral Traditions and Performative Worlds in Northern India$
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Linda Hess

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199374168

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199374168.001.0001

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A Scorching Fire, a Cool Pool

A Scorching Fire, a Cool Pool

(p.249) 6 A Scorching Fire, a Cool Pool
Bodies of Song

Linda Hess

Oxford University Press

Is Kabir a blazing social revolutionary or a promoter of detached spiritual quietism? Is he both? Or neither? In the 1990s Eklavya, an educational NGO, created a platform for Kabir singers in Malwa, foregrounding the social-political, rational, and secular impulses in his works. They called it a stage for singing and discussing (Kabīr bhajan evam vichār manch). The all-night sessions they hosted every month for eight years left a strong mark on the Kabir culture of the area. They brought village performers into dialogue with each other and with city-educated activists. The religious/spiritual/social/political aspects of Kabir were examined and debated. NGO workers and traditional singers listened to and learned from each other. Through all the meetings and serious conversations, the spirit of music and the joy of singing kept the energy flowing.

Keywords:   Eklavya, social, political, singers, interpretataion

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