My book, Inscribing Identities Proclaiming Piety: Exploring Recording Practices in Early India (2022), focuses on votive inscriptions found in four areas – Bharhut, Sanchi, Western Ghats and Mathura. The time frame is from 2nd century BCE to 2nd century CE. Votive inscriptions were inscribed on the architectural parts of the stūpa at Bharhut and Sanchi, in caves, tanks along the Western Ghats and on statues at Mathura. The book investigates and underlines the gendered inequalities between ecclesiastical and laity. Gender relations have been constructed and analysed on the basis of markers such as occupation, place of residence, and kinship patterns for the monastic and lay donors. The book is a revelatory endeavour which throws light on how the donated gifts were gendered, and how nuances of social identification make the construction of social identity a striking one. The focal points are the social complexities within and without the sangha along with the idea of agency and social identity irrespective of varna identity.
Snigdha Singh teaches at Miranda House, University of Delhi, India. Her research interests include gender relations represented in inscriptions and visual sources, with a special focus on the early historic period. She has co-authored three books and written a monograph: Beyond the Woman’s Question: Reconstructing Gender Identities in Early India, “Waters” of Western Rajasthan: Myth, Tradition, and Livelihood, ‘Of Thieves and Therīs, Potters and Pativratās: Essays on Early Indian Social History for Kumkum Roy, and Inscribing Identities Proclaiming Piety: Exploring Recording Practices in Early India.