Bihani Sarkar


Associate Faculty Member and Tutor in Sanskrit

Faculty / College Address:

Oriental Institute


Research interests:

Classical Sanskrit literature and aesthetics; Indian religions; History of ritual; History of pre-modern India (c. 300 BCE-1400 CE); Indian Philosophy

Current projects:

Collaborative project with D. Acharya and S.Hatley--The Devīpurāṇa and the Rise of the Goddess: Text, Culture and Female Persona n Ancient India

Courses taught:

Classical Sanskrit literature, literary commentaries, Aesthetics, MPhil set texts for Classical Indian Religions, tutorials and lectures on the history and culture of pre-modern South Asia

Recent publications:

Heroic Shāktism: The Cult of Durgā in Ancient Indian Kingship

Full publications:

“Durgā,” in Oxford Bibliographies in Hinduism. Ed. Tracy Coleman. New York: Oxford University Press. May 2019

'The Tale of King Suratha and its Literary reception: Texts and Translations', Asian Literature and Translation, 5(1), pp. 146-266. November 2018

“From Magic to Deity, Matter to Persona: The exaltation of Māyā”, The Goddess in the History of Hinduism Series, edited by Mandakranta Bose, series edited by Gavin Flood, Oxford University Press, UK, pp. 39-62 June 2018

(Book) Heroic Shāktism: the cult of Durgā in ancient Indian kingship, British Academy Postdoctoral Monograph Series, Oxford University Press, Oxford. November 2017

“Where ants dig up gold: ‘India’, selfhood and the myths manufacturing a nation”, The British Academy Review, No. 30. June 2017

“License and Faithfulness: Taking liberties with Kathā in classical Sanskrit poetry and aesthetics”, Journal of Indological Studies, Nos. 26-27 (2014-2015), Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, pp. 83–142. March 2017

Review of J. Knutson, “Into the twilight of Sanskrit Court Poetry: The Sena Salon of Bengal and Beyond”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 79/2. June 2016

‘Poetics and Morality in the opening verses of the Surathotsava and the Kīrtikaumudī (texts, translations and remarks)’. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 67 (2), pp. 215–248. June 2014

‘Thy Fierce Lotus-Feet: Danger and Benevolence in Medieval Sanskrit Poems to Mahiṣāsuramardinī-Durgā’ in Nina Mirnig, Péter-Dániel Szántó & Michael Williams (eds.) Puṣpikā Vol. 1: Proceedings of the First International Indology Graduate Research Symposium (St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University, September 28-29, 2009), Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 407–441. 2013

‘What makes a good poet according to Someśvaradeva? Reflections on Poetic Merit and Demerit and the Ethics of Poetry in the Surathotsava and the Kīrtikaumudī, Acta Orientalia’ Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 66 (1), pp. 25–45. Mar 2013

‘The Rite of Durgā in Medieval Bengal: An Introductory Study of Raghunandana's Durgāpūjātattva with Text and Translation of the Principal Rites’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, London, Volume 22, Issue 02, pp. 325–390. April 2012

Forthcoming publications:

‘Toward a history of the Navarātra, the autumnal festival of the Goddess’, in Festschrift in honour of Professor Alexis Sanderson, University of Toronto, edited by Shaman Hatley, Dominic Goodall et. al. forthcoming 2020

Attitudes to animal sacrifice (paśubali ) on Mahānavamī between the 9th and the 14th centuries: containing a critical edition and English translation of Chapters 21 and 22 of the Devīpurāṇa in P. Dold (ed). Religions: Special Issue on “On Violence: Voices and Visions from Hindu Goddess Traditions’  forthcoming 2019

Classical Sanskrit tragedy: the Concept of Pathos and suffering in Medieval India, I.B.Tauris-Bloomsbury, UK. (forthcoming November 2020)

'Śivāji and the Cult of the Goddess'. Submitted to the Journal of South Asian History and Culture (accepted for publication, subject to revisions).

Any other information: I teach Sanskrit grammar free-lance.