Contemporary religious ethos in an urban milieu of West Bengal: Reflections from a study of the planetary deity Soni
Keywords:planetary deity, worship, ethos, doggerel poem, cosmo-cultural, class
Indian Hindus worship nine planets. They believe that these nine planets are present in the solar system and influence the course of human life. The present study, conducted in an old town named Chinsurah in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, attempts to understand under what circumstances the worship of Saturn (Soni) minor deity came into prominence and became part of the contemporary urban religious ethos. The study reveals that surrounding socio economic and historical factors have been responsible for the recent mushrooming of the Soni temples vis-à-vis worship of the deity. The first temples of Soni emerged at the times of increased immigration of people from Bangladesh and migration from rural areas. Moreover, the study introduces the concept of cosmo-cultural space to understand the religious ethos of the people under study.