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Reincarnations of the Museum: The Muscum in an Age of Religious Revivalism 


Kavita Singh


This paper discusses the incursion of the ‘museum model’ in the self representation of institutions being built by some religious revival movements in India today. There is a blurring of the boundary between the museum and shrine, worldwide, which reflects changes in cultural ecology in response to the new cultural economy and politicized religion. Used for 50 years or more to embody the state’s vision of a ‘national culture’, the museum is now being used by a range of communities within the nation to articulate differentiated claims to political identity. The paper discusses the articulation of such claims through the study of three emergent museum-like institutions sponsored by religious groups in India, viz. the Maitreya project in Uttar Pradesh, The Akshardham complex in Delhi and the Khalsa Heritage complex in Punjab.

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