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Internet Threats to Hindu Authority: Puja-ordering Websites and the Kalighat Temple

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This article investigates particular threats to authority within Hinduism as a result of the Internet. It focuses upon websites which allow for pujas (devotional rituals) to be ordered to be carried out at the important Kalighat Temple in Kolkata. The two groups which currently exercise authority at the temple are identified, along with the specific forms of authority which they exercise. The processes which are occurring as a result of the puja-ordering websites and the activities of those responsible for them are then demonstrated. The argument put forward is that, in addition to the puja ordering services being a threat to both the authority of the temple administration and the priests working there, they also have the potential to affect the relationship between these two groups. Findings from the Kalighat Temple case study further suggest that the effects at temples of online puja-ordering services are dependent upon the current situation at respective temples.

Affiliations: 1: Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore


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