Areas of Interest & Expertise
Religion, Colonialism, Modernity, Bengali Vaishnavism, Chaitanya, Social & Intellectual History of South Asia, Religion and New Media in Contemporary India
Varuni Bhatia is a faculty with the School of Arts and Sciences.
Varuni Bhatia is a historian with an abiding interest in all things religious. In her research work, she examines various religious phenomenon while remaining rooted in her training as a historian. She likes writing, both for an academic audience as well as the public. Varuni has recently published a book on the modern-day memory and memorialisation of the 15th century Krishna devotee from Bengal, Chaitanya. She has published articles in journals on Bengali Vaishnavism and its revival in Bengal during the colonial period. More recently, she has been interested in the question of religious or devotional publics, especially how these publics operate through a variety of social media platforms.
What was pre-colonial India like?
An inquiry into the 'origin' questions of India: geological, ecological, cultural and political.
Publications and Writings
“Sisir’s Tears: Bhakti and Belonging in Colonial Bengal,” International Journal of Hindu Studies, vol. 21, issue 1 (April 2017):
Invited Journal Articles
“Finding a Birthplace,” in Journal of Vaiṣṇava Studies (Special Issue on Bhaktivinoda Thakur), vol. 23, no. 1 (Fall 2014): 157 – 188.
- “The Afterlife of an Avatara in Modern Times,” in Ferdinando Sardella and Lucian Wong, eds., Gaudiya Vaishnavism in the Modern Period (New York: Routledge, 2019). Forthcoming.
- “Six Blind Men and the Elephant: The Bhagavata Purana in Colonial Bengal,” in Abhijit Gupta and Swapan Chakravorty, eds., Founts of Knowledge: Book History in India, volume III (New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 2015): 110 – 139.
Popular writings, Blogs, etc.
- “Karnataka’s Black Magic Bill Targets Caste and Gender Discrimination not Hindu Religious Practices.” Web. Scroll. November 28, 2017.
- “Lifestyle Patriotism.” Web. Raiot. June 21, 2018.
- “Pranayam Revolution and the Baba: The Strange Case of Baba Ramdev” on Humanities Underground. June 9th, 2011. Web.
- “Ramdev’s Agenda is Political, not Civil” on IBN-LIVE June 10th, 2011. Web. December 3, 2013
- “Lessons from Mumbai Blasts, Norway Mssacre” on News18.com, August 5th, 2011.