Next Article in Journal
One Religion, Two Tales: Religion and Happiness in Urban and Rural Areas of China
Previous Article in Journal
Arguing over the Buddhist Pedigree of Tibetan Medicine: A Case Study of Empirical Observation and Traditional Learning in 16th- and 17th-Century Tibet
Previous Article in Special Issue
Cults, Crosses, and Crescents: Religion and Healing from Colonial Violence in Tanzania
Open AccessArticle

Gods, Gurus, Prophets and the Poor: Exploring Informal, Interfaith Exchanges among Working Class Female Workers in an Indian City

Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, 1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Religions 2019, 10(9), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090531
Received: 1 July 2019 / Revised: 28 August 2019 / Accepted: 10 September 2019 / Published: 17 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
This article revolves around the narratives of Sabita (Muslim), Radha (Hindu) and Sharleen (Christian), migrant women in their mid-forties, who have been working as maids, cooks and cleaners in middle-class housing colonies in Kolkata, a city in eastern India. Informal understandings of gendered oppressions across religious traditions often dominate the conversations of the three working-class women. Like many labourers from slums and lower-class neighbourhoods, they meet and debate religious concerns in informal ‘resting places’ (under a tree, on a park bench, at a tea stall, on a train, at a corner of a railway platform). These anonymous spaces are usually devoid of religious symbols, as well as any moral surveillance of women’s colloquial abuse of male dominance in society. I show how the anecdotes of struggle, culled across multiple religious practices, intersect with the shared existential realities of these urban workers. They temporarily empower female members of the informal workforce in the city, to create loosely defined gendered solidarities in the face of patriarchal authority, and reflect on daily discrimination against economically marginalised migrant women. I argue that these fleeting urban rituals underline the more vital role of (what I describe as) poor people’s ‘casual philosophies’, in enhancing empathy and dialogue between communities that are characterised by political tensions in India. View Full-Text
Keywords: informal interfaith dialogues; gender; labour; urban poverty informal interfaith dialogues; gender; labour; urban poverty
MDPI and ACS Style

Sen, A. Gods, Gurus, Prophets and the Poor: Exploring Informal, Interfaith Exchanges among Working Class Female Workers in an Indian City. Religions 2019, 10, 531.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop