Lisa Irene Knight

Lisa Irene Knight is a professor of religions of South Asian, cultural anthropology, and chair of the Department of Asian Studies at Furman University, South Carolina, USA. She published Contradictory Lives: Baul Women in India and Bangladesh by Oxford University Press.

Shuddhashar’s Online Magazine as (Auto)Biography

At this 30th year anniversary, the online magazine of Shuddhashar is a biography – or autobiography? – of Shuddhashar and its publisher. I was first introduced to Shuddhashar in February 2018. At that time, Shuddhashar had been online for a little more than a year. I read the articles. The bimonthly magazine issues were hopeful …

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The Exile’s In-betweenness

Migrants. Immigrants. Emigrants. Refugees. Aliens. Asylum seekers. Exiles. Asylees. Nonimmigrant. Émigré. Illegal aliens. Legal aliens. Deportees. Expats. Displaced people. Diaspora.   The Age of Refugees Migrating – and population movement in general – is a human condition. We all move with a desire to live fulfilling lives, to survive, and to better ourselves. For such …

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The persecution of Bauls is not new. It must stop

The torching of Ranesh Thakur’s music room, where he stored his musical instruments and 40 years’ worth of books containing traditional knowledge and Baul songs, is the latest of a series of attacks against humanists and minorities in Bangladesh. The persecution of Bauls is not new. During the 19th and early 20th centuries in the …

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Practice Social Solidarity, Not Social Distancing, During the Pandemic

It is increasingly clear how fear can bring out our inhumanity. With instructions to practice social distancing, stop border crossings, self-quarantine, or obey lockdowns comes a very familiar fear about the danger of others. The virus is real; the danger is real. Covid-19 is new threat that has manifested as a global pandemic. However, some …

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Beyond Hindu and Muslim: Bauls of West Bengal and Bangladesh

Riding on the Visva-Bharati Express train from Kolkata to Bolpur, you can expect to be joined by a Baul singer, raising her voice above the clatter of the train, playing her ektara as she leans against a seat for balance. On this train, it is mostly the elite Bengali and foreigners who give Bauls money …

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Ink has more power

Ink has more power than the sword

অসির চেয়ে মসীর শক্তি বেশি। The brutal killing of Shahzahan Bachchu, 60, on June 11, 2018 in his home village is yet another reminder of the dangers of writing in Bangladesh, the ability of words to be threatening, and the importance of freedom of expression. Shahzahan was the owner of Bishaka Prokashoni, a publishing house …

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