Dharma Maṅgal, Precolonial Bengal, Bengali poems
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
Required Publisher's Statement
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, David, "Battle and Self-Sacrifice in a Bengali Warrior’s Epic: Lausen’s Quest to be a Raja in Dharma Maṅgal, Chapter Six of Rites of Spring by Ralph Nicholas" (2008). Liberal Studies. 7.
David Curley's bibliography for his chapter in Rites of Spring