Co-being, a praxis of the public: Lessons from hindu devotional (bhakti) narrative, arendt, and gandhi

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Most controversies about religious representation enact conceptions of the public that construct boundaries which stridently mark insiders and outsiders, friends and foes, or practice and theory. This article begins with a controversy in California over representations of Hinduism in middle-school textbooks. A legal settlement closed the controversy but brought little sense of closure. Asking more broadly why publics fail, I put together, through deliberate anachronism, elements of a praxis of the public taking from political philosopher Hannah Arendt and bhakti poets of the Hindu tradition from the sixth century to the sixteenth century. This alternative praxis of the public creates "co-being," a state of society achieved by reimagining how we occupy space, how we own things and ideas, and how we form pacts. Gandhi's ashram, in concept and practice, exemplifies how an unlikely commonality is a possible one and is in fact the foundation of a meaningful and sustainable public.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Prasad, L

Published Date

  • March 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 85 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 199 - 223

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-7189

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/jaarel/lfw040

Citation Source

  • Scopus