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Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability (Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology, and Biblical Studies) Hardcover – May 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


'This new book by Pankaj Jain is a major contribution to the growing literature on issues related to religion and ecology in India. His thoughtful treatment of three different groups -- the Bishnoi, Bhil, and Swadhyaya Movement -- helps us understand how the religious actions and beliefs of certain communities can contribute to environmental protection without ever calling it that. The book is rich in detail and places before the reader materials that will prove useful in reflecting further on the particular nature of cultural resources available in India today for resisting environmental degradation.' David Haberman, Indiana University, USA'Pankaj Jain describes the spiritual movements in India, the Swadhyaya of Gujarat and Maharashtra and the Bishnoi of Rajasthan, that have environmentally friendly teachings. Significantly, neither is self-consciously "environmentalist"; the care for trees, animals, and the cosmos is part of a wider concern for moral treatment of all beings. Yet they have done wonders for the environment. Over 300 Bishnoi women were martyred trying to protect trees in the 18th century. Dr. Jain has done serious studies of these two groups, and reports insightfully and in detail on their lives and theologies. He provides an extremely important new account of groups whose religious beliefs need to be considered very seriously in today's environmentally-challenged world.'Gene Anderson, University of California, Riverside, USA'Pankaj Jain has brought to light little-known aspects of how diverse traditional communities in India sustain and maintain a lifestyle attuned to the rhythms of nature. By illuminating the tree planting initiatives of the Swadhyayis, the animal protection activism of the Bishnois, and the simple lifestyle of the Bhils, Jain advances our knowledge of environment in India without sentimentalizing or idealizing practical realities. His translation of the core texts of the Bishnois makes an important contribution to the field. This book breaks new ground!'Christopher Key Chapple, Loyola Marymount University, USA'This book makes a significant contribution to the growing field of religion and ecology. Based on prodigious field work for which Pankaj Jain is eminently qualified, it will be a valuable resource for the understanding of the religious world view of the three significant Hindu communities and the implications of their beliefs and practices for the care of nature. Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability is a "must read" for university courses treating the relationship between religion and nature and for anyone concerned with the state of India's environment.'George A. James, University of North Texas, USA'Pankaj Jain has very sensitively explored the relationship that exists between the tribalcommunities of India and their neighborhood, and tries to evaluate them in the light ofthe contemporary context. The book has a deep philosophical underpinning and is acall to reexamine Indian culture and tradition from the modern perspective.' Sophia'... this stimulating book demonstrates how certain rural Indian communities exercise a concern for aspects of the natural environment quite independently of any philosophical theorising about ecology. We can be grateful to Professor Jain for bringing so much information to light and for raising many interesting questions about Indian value-systems.' Environmental Value

About the Author

Pankaj Jain, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Philosophy/Religion Studies, University of North Texas, USA.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Ashgate (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409405915
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409405917
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,587,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pankaj is the author of Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability (May 2011) which one the 2012 DANAM and 2011 Uberoi Foundation awards. He has also published articles in journals such as Religious Studies Review, Worldviews, Religion Compass, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Union Seminary Quarterly Review, and the Journal of Visual Anthropology. He also contributes to Huffington Post, Washington Post's forum On Faith, and Patheos.com.

His research has been supported by the Fulbright Fellowship and by the Wenner Gren Grant. His teaching interests include Hinduism, Jainism, environmental ethics, Indian films, and Indian languages and literatures. Before joining UNT, he taught at North Carolina State University, Rutgers, Kean, and New Jersey City University. Interested in connecting ancient practices with contemporary issues, he is exploring the connections between religious traditions and sustainability in Hindu and Jain communities in the North Texas area. He serves as a research affiliate with Harvard University's Pluralism Project and as scholar-in-residence with GreenFaith.

He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and an M.A. from Columbia University (both in Religious Studies). In his "previous life" he had also earned a B.S. in Computer Science from India and had worked as a software engineer in India and in New Jersey.

Environmental Issues in India and in Indian Diaspora, Sanskrit, Hindi, Hinduism, Jainism, Hindi Literature and Films

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