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From The Editor

Deepak Shimkhada, Claremont Lincoln University

The present issue of Exemplar happily marries tors–Bill Vanderbok and Joe Pellegrino–visited Mos-
Russian and American scholarship. For many cow in May 2013 at the invitation of Prof. Stolyarov,
years Russian scholars have made significant and presented papers at the second Open Pages in
contributions to South Asian studies. I remember, as South Asian Studies Conference. A third member of
a young graduate student at the University of Baroda the Board, Christine Everaert, presented her work
in India in 1969, a visiting scholar from Moscow who remotely at the conference. While Bill and Joe were
came to deliver a talk. Her talk was deeply rooted in there, they presented a SASA award of achievement
the Sanskrit language which she flawlessly recited. to Dr. Alexender Dubyanskiy for his contributions to
This left everyone in the audience impressed, includ- Tamil studies (see photo below). It was the first step in
ing me. It is unfortunate that I do not recall the name bridge building between the scholars of two nations.
of the scholar, but I do remember the subject about So the two papers printed in this volume reflect our
which she eloquently spoke. She spoke about Naga, efforts to highlight the works of Russian scholars in
the Hindu mythical serpent, its origin and its signifi- South Asia that would otherwise have remained un-
cance in art, culture and religion. known to the West.

Collaboration between scholars and between na- This issue nicely sets up with the inclusion of papers
tions is important, especially in the age of global- on religion, travel, ritual, class, gender and national
ization. With that mission in mind, the SASA board identity. Alf Hiltebeitel’s article on the Mahābhārata
decided to start with Russia. Because of travel restric- is a continuation of his work which was published
tions and a language barrier, most Russian scholar- in our previous issue (v1n2). In this paper he tries to
ship in the field of South Asia has remained within the settle the argument about whether the Mahābhārata
boundaries of Russia, although the works of Nicolai had tribal origins. Pratapaditya Pal’s article takes up
Roerich have been translated into English and are now the travels of His Highness Bhawani Singh KCSI,
widely available in the West. Raja Rana Bahadur of Jhalawar, captured in the book
Travel Pictures: The Record of a European Tour by
To build a bridge between the U.S. and Russia, we the Maharaja himself. Two other papers deal with the
have included in this issue two papers by two Russian less represented Islam in Western Academe. Christine
scholars, namely Vyacheslav Y. Belokrenitsky and Everaert’s article on Islamic music in Hindi cinema
Alexandra L. Safronova. To bolster this bridge build- provides a deep insight into the popularity it presently
ing effort two members of the SASA Board of Direc- has. Similarly, Syed Soherwordi’s paper examines the
Islamic identity in South Asia, especially as it exists in
India. Bhikshuni Lozang Trinlae addresses the issue of
gender in Buddhism and challenges the conventional
view on women. Mugdha Yeolekar also presents gen-
der issues, writing on women’s ritual in cultural and
religious contexts.

We sincerely hope that
you will enjoy reading the
variety of materials present-
ed in this volume. There is
something for everyone.

Deepak Shimkhada


Professor Dubyanskiy receiving the SASA Bridge-Building Award
from Bill Vanderbok

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