2 DVD Edition
Produced and published by Henning Stegmueller

A German Pioneer in the Study of  Indian Culture:
Guenther Dietz Sontheimer (1934-1992) was an extraordinary scholar of Hinduism, Indian society and culture. Educated in Tuebingen, London, and Pune his first focus of study was Hindu law and its historical evolution. However, while studying Hindu law in Pune, Guenther Sontheimer met D.D. Kosambi - an interdisciplinary scholar and researcher - who had invented a method of investigating history on the basis of its living remnants in different social traditions. These new insights inspired Sontheimer to turn from desk research to field investigations and he started by studying the folk deities of the Dhangar shepherds in Maharashtra.

Until then this was uncharted territory for most Indologists and Sontheimer’s new preoccupation was viewed with scepticism by most of his colleagues who were unwilling to accept tribal lore and folk traditions as proper or relevant sources for the study of Hinduism. They scoffed at the idea of a religion without scriptures and texts, codified laws, and prescribed rites and rituals.

Once Sontheimer started his investigations into the traditions of the mostly illiterate nomadic pastoral tribes of Maharashtra, he realized that to establish the reality of his findings he had to document it. At that time, audio tape recording and cinema film recording were the only available means, and he used them again and again to describe folk festivals, rituals, songs and dances, and other performances that created the kind of evidence fellow-scholars would accept in research papers, books, seminars, symposia, and conferences.

In the three decades Sontheimer was engaged in his research of folk religion, he filmed from 1970-1992 a total of 30 hours of film footage in 8mm format. This archival material was restored and transferred by Henning Stegmueller, who worked with Sontheimer on his last two documentary features.

Films about Pilgrims, Shepherds and Gods...
(5 DVD’s)

This package of documentary films made by Guenther D. Sontheimer and inspired by him and his research in folk and tribal traditions of Maharashtra is now available for the use of educational and research institutions as well as individual scholars and teachers. Prices by Request

Contact & Sales: foto@henning-stegmueller.de


The Sontheimer Films
(4 DVD’s & 1 CD)

A comprehensive package of this rare archival material is now available, as a 4 DVD set for the use of educational and research institutions as well as individual scholars and teachers.
(Selected and edited by H. Stegmüller (2008) 6 hours, color).

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