An agrarian Festival at Hatkatchora
(near Jagdalpur, India)
by Nold Egenter
A Manifesto against so called 'primitive religion'
- For hundreds of years and all over the world, agrarian cult festivals have been
described in the framework of religion.
- Ceremonies were dominantly interpreted as
an expression of beliefs related to some sort of supernatural power (fertility cults
- Compared with the 'high' concepts of 'high' religions, that is, ideas based on the
interpretation of historical texts, such traditional cult festivals always seemed
to express 'lower' ideas, 'primitive' beliefs.
- They were also considered to be 'primitive' because - in contrast to the highly
spiritual concepts of scholastic (Neoplatonic) theology - they were dominantly related
to material objects, 'fetishes', 'spirit huts' and the like.
NOTE: THIS WAS AN EUROCENTRIC VALUE SYSTEM - NOT SCIENCE!
- The present description radically changes this attitude and consequently also the
descriptive method as well as the interpretation.
- It considers the factual cult tradition as the message.
- Not a preconceived ideology, the phenomenological description of traditional facts produces
- Description follows in detail how objects of material culture are placed into the
spatial framework of a local environment.
- This setting is understood as the traditional code which can be read to understand
the meaning of the whole.
- Surprisingly, in this new light, things gain entirely new dimensions.
- The interpretation turns away from primitivisation.
- The cults become perfectly logic, making sense in the local existential context.
- The cults even gain a tremendous intensity, because existential conditions of a
population appear extremely condensed into a dramatic expression
- This dramatic expression includes, in a socially dense atmosphere, aesthetics and
a local ontology of highest values absolutely independent of any Eurocentric scholastic
- It is an ontology which we can perfectly understand as outsiders because it is very
- For hundreds of years, under the 'learned' guidance of highest institutions like
universities, it was hammered into our heads that such events are 'primitive'. In
view of the beauty of this extremely dense simplicity and humane modesty we
have to ask:
- Was this Eurocentric arrogance the 'primitive' element?