Saturday, January 25, 2014
Dattatreya and Shiva in Western Africa
The trade between Africans and Indians is ancient. It is notable that the man who showed Vaco Da Gama the route to India was a Gujarati trader. Along with goods, ideas spiritual, scientific and religious were also exchanged since ancient times. Because the spiritual systems in India as well as Africa were non-Abrahamic (Not Jewish, Islamic or Christian), there was a free exchange of ideas and philosophies.
No wonder than that images and idols of some of the Gods of Hinduism have found their way to Western Africa from the 15th century onwards and are worshiped by the followers of Vodun to this day. These idols are considered of Gods of Vodun and continue to be worshipped to this day. Among the commonly worshipped are idols of Dattatreya, Shiva, Ganesha and those of Lakshmi and Durga.
Indian material culture in the form of images in books, pamphlets, films, and popular devotional chromolithographs (Bae 2003), as well as the votive practices of Indian traders in Africa, came to have a profound impact on Mami Wata worshipers, their icons, and their ritual actions.
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(Picture Courtesy - Google.com)
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