Environs and Cults: Tracing the Roots of the Social-Psychological Paradigm of Folk Existence in Deltaic Lower Bengal
Nupur Dasgupta

The Sundarbans in linguistic Bengal in the Indian Subcontinent constitutes a unique ecosystem. Living conditions in these environs have been riddled with specific bounties as well as hazards. Historical records since the early medieval times reveal how society has created its own mechanisms for physical and psychological sustenance in these natural conditions. With time these have manifested in the form of a number of cults and rituals at the grassroots. They got mingled with higher cultures which came later into the region, giving birth to a variety of significant faiths like those propitiating the Goddesses Manasa, Candi, Sitala and the Bon Bibi - bridging the cultural divides. Review of historical data since early medieval times reveal how these faiths and practices have been crystallized into a cultural paradigm embraced by popular folk society in need of psychological solace in the face of imminent threats of devastating natural and health conditions.

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