Indian Messiah: the attraction of Meher Baba to British audiences in the 1930s

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Abstract

This article considers the British reception of Meher Baba, an Indian religious figure, who first travelled to Britain in 1931. Following a tradition of Indian religious figures who toured Britain and America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Baba was removed from organised religion and placed emphasis on self-realisation, and attracted large British followings notably dominated by women. This article argues that the 1930s witnessed a continuing interest in Indian religious figures and adherence to Orientalist stereotypes about Indian religiosity despite changing political dynamics. Exploring a range of public and private responses to Baba, following comparison with his contemporary Jiddu Krishnamurti, and discussing the role of British mediators Paul Brunton and Francis Younghusband, this article explores British impressions of Indian religious figures in the 1930s and how they were informed by notions of race, religiosity, and gender.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-234
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Religious History
Volume41
Issue number2
Early online date27 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Structured keywords

  • Migration Mobilities Bristol

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