Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations

Sacred Tradition and Spectacular Ritual

Writer and historian William Dalrymple reads from his latest book, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India, in a unique series of Asia Society events in New York, Washington, and San Francisco. In the New York and Washington events, artists visiting from India and Pakistan will accompany Dalrymple with music and dance exploring ritual, ancient tradition, and sacred expression in contemporary society. The programs will explore how faith and rituals continue to thrive in South Asia despite huge social and economic changes.

Nine Lives looks at South Asia's diverse sacred traditions through the personal stories of a Sufi, a possession dancer, a Buddhist monk, a Jain nun, a tantric, and others. While much has been written about how India is transforming at a most incredible rate—the economy has been predicted to overtake that of the US by 2050—little has been said about the way the country's growth has affected the great South Asian traditions of mysticism, monasticism, music, and dance.

Dalrymple's collaborators include Paban Das Baul, who comes out of the tradition of the Bauls of Bengal—the itinerant mystic minstrels whose beliefs draw on Vaishnavite Hindu and Sufi Muslim thought—and the Shah Jo Raag Fakirs, who sing at the shrine of Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai in Sindh, Pakistan. British Indian singer Susheela Raman offers insight into the Thevaram hymns of Tamil Nadu, and while the Theyyam Dance Group showcase the spectacular folk ritual from Kerala.

Music, above: Paban Das Baul and Susheela Raman recorded live at the Jaipur Literary Festival in 2009.

Complete event details:
William Dalrymple/Nine Lives in Washington, June 16

William Dalrymple/Nine Lives in New York, June 18-19

William Dalrymple/Nine Lives in San Francisco, June 23

Nine Lives overview

Nine Lives and other books by William Dalrymple at AsiaStore

Post new comment

Your comments are welcome, please adhere to our guidelines

Be respectful. Personal attacks will not be tolerated; nor will profane, abusive or threatening posts.

Keep it short (150 words or less), Stay on topic.

Asia Society reserves the right to moderate all comments and remove or edit for guideline violations. Thank you.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.