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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

A New God in the Diaspora?

Muneeswaran Worship in Contemporary Singapore

A New God in the Diaspora explores the worship of a Hindu deity known as Muneeswaran in contemporary Singapore. The strong presence and veneration of this male deity on the island, and the innovative styles of religiosity now associated with him, justify calling Muneeswaran a ’new god’ in the Indian diaspora. In examining Muneeswaran, Vineeta Sinha documents a neglected aspect of local Hinduism and the ritual domain surrounding guardian deities (kaaval deivan). She also considers a broader question, asking why this deity, brought from Tamilnadu to Malaya more than 170 years ago, has developed a powerful appeal for young Singaporean Hindus three and four generations removed from their Indian origins. Her discussion of these issues provides an ethnographic documentation of urban-based Hindu religiosity in contemporary Singapore, and makes an important contribution to the global study of diasporic religious experience.

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