Most of the alphabetically arranged articles are divided into two categories: general concept articles and case study articles. The former recognizes topics that are applicable to the entire region and provides an overview of a topic (e.g., Folk art, Pilgrimage, Pottery, Puberty rituals). Generally two or three pages long, these articles are intended to pique the reader's interest and provide see also references to the more detailed case study articles. Usually shorter, the case study articles focus on one specific topic (e.g., Bhakti saints, Jain folklore, Jihad poetry). Geographic (Bangladesh, Gujarat); definitional (Bhand pathar, a form of Kashmiri theater; Panch Pir, five Sufi saints venerated by South Asian Muslims); and biographical (Tagore, Rabindranath) entries are also included. Each article concludes with bibliographic references. Though there is no classified contents list, the index helps the reader pull together all the information related to a specific place or activity. Index entries that are also main entry headings are indicated in bold type. Black-and-white illustrations, though few in number, are well chosen.
This fine book provides a readable introduction to topics that are often neglected by Western study. In recent years there has been an increase in scholarship on the folklore of the region, but until now there have been no encyclopedic overviews. Although this area of the world receives some coverage in publications with an international focus, such as Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music and Art (ABC-CLIO, 1997), more general works cannot, obviously, give the same depth of study as this single volume. With its thorough scholarship and unique coverage, South Asian Folklore is recommended for large public and academic libraries. RBB
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-"Booklist/RBB (starred review), July 1, 2003
"An accessible guide... A rich tapestry for lay reader and scholar alike. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries."
-"Library Journaln, April 15, 2003
"This wider-ranging survey encompasses art, architecture, music, dance, food, literature, theater, religion, and much more... Fills a gap long unaddressed in American reference collections. It will serve academic and public libraries well."
-"Lawrence Looks at Books, Gale Reference Reviews, February 2004