image of PhD Defence - 'Eternal Salutations', Tillo Detige

PhD Defence - 'Eternal Salutations', Tillo Detige

CERES Palais, room "Turfan" (0.13)

Tillo Detige presents and defends his doctoral dissertation, 'Eternal Salutations: Memorials of Digambara Jaina Ascetic Lineages from Western India', the outcome of a research project supervised at CERES by Prof. Jessie Pons from 2020 to 2024. The event is open to the general public, and all are welcome to attend.

Built around a survey of funerary monuments and an analysis of their epigraphic, architectural, iconographic, and ritual aspects, the dissertation presents a study of Digambara Jaina ascetic lineages flourishing in Western and Central India during the Sultanate (1206-1526 CE) and Mughal (1526-1857 CE) periods. The bhaṭṭārakas which led the Digambara mendicant lineages at the time are now often conceived of as mere ‘clerics’ or ‘corrupted ascetics’. Memorials and other sources however make it clear that the bhaṭṭārakas were venerated as paramount ascetics and led sometimes considerably large mendicant communities. The remaining memorials are also uniquely helpful in reconstructing the geographical distribution of the ascetic lineages and studying their subsequent relocations between various towns and regions. Far from fleeing from the Indo-Muslim polities, bhaṭṭārakas often seem to have been attracted to them, undoubtedly following in the wake of lay communities migrating there in search of professional opportunities. These findings debunk notions prevalent both in prior scholarship and among contemporary Jains concerning the decline of Jain and other South Asian religious traditions due to persecutions by supposedly fanatical, Islamic rulers. Although often long abandoned and left to dilapidate, Digambara memorials stand to remind us that Jaina communities flourished, statt withered, in the Indo-Muslim states.

The doctoral defence committee consists of:


Photograph of Tillo Detige

Tillo Detige

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