In this paper I examine the iconography, contemporary worship and mythology of a local goddess, Erukamma, in the city of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India to reconstruct her associations with the goddess Hariti who is known throughout the Buddhist world of Southeast and East Asia. In order to establish Hariti's connection with Erukamma and her ancient origins and signifi cance, I analyze the translations of Taisho texts that refer to Hariti's story and worship. My aim in this paper is to argue the following: while the Buddhist renderings allow goddesses such as Hariti to travel beyond the Indian sub-continent, there have been many goddesses like Hariti in the Indian context whose cults were submerged in the developing Buddhist cultic world. A reverse process has also occurred when Buddhism has lost ground such as in the case of Erukamma. In these instances, goddesses like Erukamma refl ect adaptations of new religious trends while retaining characteristics of their original village origins.
The aim of this paper is to advance an ethnographic analysis of Chinese leadership in Kelantan. The Chinese community in Kelantan is often referred to as a disadvantaged minority constrained by a strong Islamic political setting in which Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) dominates. In fact, developments in the past decade have seen the emergence of Chinese leaders who support PAS. These leaders are actively expanding their political sphere and appealing to Chinese voters. This phenomenon is unique to West Malaysia, where political parties formed along exclusive ethnic lines dominate. The emergence of the Chinese leaders supporting PAS has its roots in the late 1990s, when a former Gerakan Deputy Youth leader converted to Islam and became the fi rst Chinese Muslim member of PAS. Since Anuar Tan was elected as a state assembly member in 1999, a number of Chinese have been appointed as municipal councilors and various committee members under the PAS state government. These leaders function as bridges between PAS and the Chinese community. To comprehend the social background of emerging Chinese leaders supporting PAS, this paper will focus especially on the structure of Chinese leadership and its relationship with the Islamic party. The paper ultimately seeks to understand the functions of ethnic boundaries in shaping politics in contemporary Malaysia.