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Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth by Susan Bayly

By Susan Bayly

The phenomenon of caste has most likely aroused extra controversy than the other point of Indian existence. This quantity explores the emergence of principles and practices that gave upward thrust to the so-called "caste-society." utilizing a historic and anthropological strategy, the writer frames her research within the context of India's fiscal and social order, examining caste as a contingent and variable reaction to adjustments in India's political panorama during the colonial conquest. The book's wide-ranging research deals the most strong statements ever written on caste in South Asia.

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Additional info for Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age (The New Cambridge History of India)

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Towards the end of British rule, and also in independent India, a process of what one might call de-ritualisation has been apparent. This has meant that Dumont's purity-conscious 'caste Hindu' has come in many cases to look more like a believer in material and political power as the chief measure of value in a dangerous and uncertain world. Yet these trends have never been complete. At no time in the past did all Indians deal with one another on a purely 'ritualistic' basis. By the same token, even in 'modern' environments, contemporary Indians 3 On the important phenomenon of the pollution barrier, that is, the values and practices dividing those of ritually 'clean' and 'unclean' birth, see below, Chapters 2, 5 and 8.

M. Hocart (1938) who emphasised the ritualised or sacri®cial dimension of the caste system's occupational specialisations. For interpretive overviews, see DelieÁge 1993 and Kolenda 1983; on Dumont's intellectual pedigree, see Galey 1981 and Appadurai 1992; on Hocart's view of caste as a ritualised redistribution system with principles comparable to that of the royal kingdom, see Dirks 1987. 16 Dumont 1970: 44. For debate on Dumont's view of caste as a unique feature of Hinduism which has nevertheless in¯uenced or `contaminated' many non-Hindus (1970: 202±12), see Ahmad 1973; Fuller 1975 and 1996.

13 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 caste, society and politics in india confusion bring the family itself as well as those who have destroyed it . . 13 The principles of caste as a universal law of life are further elaborated in the Manavadharmasastra or Manusmrti, an encyclopaedic treatise in verse on human conduct, morality and sacred obligations. This work is most commonly known as the Laws or Institutes of the mythical sage or lawgiver Manu; it was probably composed in about the ®rst century AD.

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