Miracle as Modern Conundrum in South Asian Religious Traditions

Chad M. Bauman, Butler University


The ever-present entanglement of modernity and tradition was revealed rather plainly to me when, during a period of fieldwork in Raipur, Chhattisgarh (one of India's newest states), I attended a conference on business communication at the invitation of an Indian friend. The conference was sponsored by Rai University and was held in the city's most impressive hotel, which was posh even by Mumbai's standards and paradisiacal by Raipur's. There, surrounded by the signs and symbols of luxury and modernity, two visiting Dartmouth professors presented papers on business communication skills. During the subsequent period of discussion, a rather wealthy, modern looking Indian inquired of the professors whether their research had found "communication without technology or speech" to have been a useful business tool. After a great deal of garbar (confusion, agitation, bewilderment) it was determined that the questioner was asking the American professors about telepathy.