'homage to the departed' makes an original foray into the thinking of some tribal groups in northern kerala about death and dying. Having realised that the available ethnographies of kerala are often conceptually and methodogically flawed, manjula poyil has gone directly to her ''source'' and reports the beliefs and past practices of various tribal groups. there is a rich description of practices to do with death- common practices as well as treatment specific to age, gender, and the status of one who has died. ghosts, omens, ritual dance at funerals, the appropriate musical instruments and memorials are some of the aspects of funerary practice described in this study. especially important among these is the aniconic tutelary deity, almost ubiquitous in historical india. the sensitive question of the space and voice conceded to women in social dealings with death has also been accomplished in this compelling book
HOMAGE TO THE DEPARTED — A Study of Funeral Customs Among the Tribes in Malabar, Kerala: Manjula Poyil; Other Books, I Floor, New Way Building, Railway Link Road, Kozhikode-673002. Rs. 460.
The idea of primitive society postulates a simple model: a pristine, organic society...