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Dharma Maṅgal are long, narrative Bengali poems that explain and justify the worship of Lord Dharma as the eternal, formless, and supreme god. Surviving texts were written between the mid-seventeenth and the mid-eighteenth centuries. By examining the plots of Dharma Maṅgal, I hope to describe features of a precolonial Bengali warriors” culture. I argue that Dharma Maṅgal texts describe the career of a hero and raja, and that their narratives seem to be designed both to inculcate a version of warrior culture in Bengal, and to contain it by requiring self-sacrifice in both battle and “truth ordeals.”l

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This chapter was published in Ralph W. Nicholas, Rites of Spring: Gajan in Village Bengal (New Delhi: Chronicle Books, 2008). It is reproduced with the permission of the book author and publisher.

Curley Lausen Bibliography.pdf (76 kB)
David Curley's bibliography for his chapter in Rites of Spring