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Grant number like: FA-51448-05

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Smriti Srinivas
Regents of the University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2006 – 12/31/2006

Charisma, Modernity, and the Sathya Sai Baba Religious Movement

This project will produce the ethnography of a contemporary religious movement that has become a transnational phenomenon in the last fifty years: the movement focused on the Indian guru, Sathya Sai Baba (b. 1926). The book will analyze the cultural, political, and technological pathways that transmit his charisma and the reception and transformation of his message by devotees in three world regions and their cities---Puttaparthi and Bangalore (India), Nairobi (Kenya), and Atlanta (USA). The book is composed of seven chapters, plus introduction and conclusion, and proposes that the Sathya Sai Baba movement is not merely a "neo-Hindu" revival or anti-modern but that it is based on an alternative and transformative understanding of modernity.