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The Allotted Share

Managing Fortune in Astrological Counseling in Contemporary India

Caterina Guenzi

Anthropological studies on causality in South Asia in the past decades have focused mostly on local idioms of 'mis fortune', with very little attention being paid to ideas of 'fortune' and 'luck'. This article, based on fieldwork carried out among astrologers and their clients in Banaras, shows that astrology provides an ideological framework for the conceptualization and management of fortune in present-day urban India. According to astrologers' analyses of horoscopes, 'destiny' (bhāgya, lit. 'allotted share') is conceived as a form of wealth acquired at birth that can be augmented or diminished as a result of planetary influences and personal choices. The author suggests that, beyond the Sanskrit tradition, the semantics of destiny can be linked to decisionmaking processes and values of achievement that mark the lives of middle- and upper-class families in contemporary India.

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Among Cannibals and Headhunters

Jack London in Melanesia

Keith Newlin

. Political groupings were small and tended to be organized around clans and some clan alliances, and leaders (banara) emerged who could “bring renown to himself and his supporters by conspicuous demonstration of wealth and, above all, his generosity

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Portrait

Ann Grodzins Gold

Ann Grodzins Gold, Bhrigupati Singh, Farhana Ibrahim, Edward Simpson, and Kirin Narayan

Press . 10.1215/9780822383475 Gupta , Akhil . 1998 . Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India . Durham, NC : Duke University Press . 10.1215/9780822399759 Parry , Jonathan P . 1994 . Death in Banaras . Cambridge