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Documentary Film DVDs

Religion and Community in Gwalior

by Daniel Gold

An ongoing series of documentaries about religious life in a provincial Indian city.  Cornell University Professor Daniel Gold has also published a book providing some analytic commentary on the videos: Provincial Hinduism: Religion and Community in Gwalior City (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

To purchase a DVD, or the set of 3 DVDs, write to the South Asia Program at


The price is $10.00 per DVD or $25.00 for the set of three. Pre-payment by check made out to: "Cornell University"; memo line: SAP DVDs, mailed to South Asia Program, 170 Uris Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

sap, einaudi, gold, gwalior

1. Music in the Ashram: Then and Now examines the changing role of music in a small Gwalior ashram, focusing on the use of film-music styles for prayer songs.  The DVD features clips of different musical styles and interviews with performers.  These are intercut with comments by the ashram’s present guru.  16 minutes. ($10.00 each, or $25.00 for the set of 3)

sap, einaudi, gold, gwalior

2. Living Above Hippopotamus Street explores religious life and sensibilities in a group of interconnected working class neighborhoods.  Members of Dalit groups, higher caste Hindus, and Muslims living in a Hindu area all comment on issues of identity, community, belief, and practice.  Particularly engaging are some conversations with two young Muslim performers who act in traditional Hindu religious dramas.  The DVD includes supplementary material giving some background to the video.  35 minutes. ($10.00 each, or $25.00 for the set of 3)

sap, einaudi, gold, gwalior

3. Being a Sindhi in Central India: Religion, Community, Identity  examines the religious life of Gwalior's Sindhis, Hindus whose families arrived from the far west of the subcontinent after its partition in 1947.  Although most maintain a strong Hindu identity, their religious life often differs substantially from that of the majority of Hindus in Central India: it sometimes shows Sufi influences, often gives prominence to the Guru Granth familiar from Sikh tradition, and regularly highlights Sindhi saints and a distinctive divinity called Jhulelal.  The video examines the religious practice of Hindu Sindhis in Gwalior, their community life, and the sometimes complex religious identities of three individuals.  22 minutes. ($10.00 each, or $25.00 for the set of 3)