Featured HRAF Global Scholar: Subhra Saha

Global Scholars Program

HRAF Global Scholar: Subhra Saha
Title: Academic Counselor and Researcher
University Affiliation: Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, India
Research Topic: Tantra and Shākta tantric traditions over the centuries in India

Subhra Saha photoHRAF Global Scholar Subhra Saha is a counselor and researcher at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in New Delhi, India. As a social anthropologist and researcher, Subhra studies religious sects in India. The focus of her research includes ethnographic works such as Jonathan Parry’s Death in Benaras. She is currently researching the Shākta Tantra and the Tantric Goddess in Bengal. Her goal is to develop a new understanding of Tantra.

Subhra describes how Tantra has evolved across many cultures of the world since ancient times. According to Subhra, “Tantra is a science of religion and philosophy of science which plays a significant role in India.” In her research, Subhra studies Tantra scripture and interviews Tantra practitioners in West Bengal, India, focusing on the anthropology of religious belief systems and sects. To assist with her research, Subhra utilizes the eHRAF World Cultures database. Her interest in eHRAF World Cultures arises from the need to analyze the rituals and philosophy of Tantra in different cultures in order to compare their elements in common and change over time. According to Subhra, “the eHRAF databases provide a unique and important opportunity for gaining access to an extraordinary anthropological and multicultural data set.”

Subhra notes that studies of Tantra must be examined critically. She is currently developing several main lines of anthropological inquiry. These include formal analysis and representation of the structure and geographical representation of Tantra, analysis of Shākta tantric traditions and rituals, and Shākta Tantra as a religious lifestyle in the 21st century.

The HRAF Global Scholars Program has been instrumental in providing Subhra with access to an extensive repository of data on hundreds of world cultures and archaeological traditions. The eHRAF databases enable her to conduct rigorous research without costly travel to libraries and archives in other countries. Subhra hopes that her university will become a member of the eHRAF databases after her year of complimentary access has been completed.

HRAF is honored to feature Subhra Saha as one of our HRAF Global Scholars for 2024. We wish her continued success with her research.

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