Akka Bakka. Religion, politics, and dual sovereignty of the Badaga in the Nilgiris, South India
Heidemann focuses on the dual organization of political aspects, as in the case of small ritual gateways (akka bakka) serving to pay respect to the village community, and religious aspects in the form of Hireodeya temples - complementary "institutions" which together form or represent a major/ central village. This dual organization is reflected in religious and political positions. Their representatives are present in rituals but do not interact directly, i.e. they do not pay reverence to each other - which has been termed dual sovereignty by R. Needham. Against the background of L. Dumont and others, status and power, values and action, aspects of purity and pragmatic power are discussed controversely. This study of the ethnographic setting in the village of Jackanarai is based on 24 months of fieldwork; the author first discusses the traditional social system (Akala): the precolonial social system, the history of settlement of Poranganadu, the abovementioned ritual gateways in relation to territories and kinship, the political kutu system, and religion. Then, the present social system, based on social respect, economic cooperation, competition and having clubs and organizations (sangam) is portrayed. The last chapter deals with myth and rituals, again modernity and tradition, and the veneration of Jedayasamy (a Badaga god defined as an avatar of Shiva). So there is a seeming equality of these various "institutions" which is better described as incomparability. The author sees the modernizing Badaga society as involved in a constant discourse with their traditions based on values which show in dual sovereignty as well.