The Untouchable as Himself: Ideology, Identity and Pragmatism among the Lucknow Chamars

Overview

The world of the Indian Untouchable is often invisible behind that of the dominant Hindu caste, but it is of no less significance for the understanding of contemporary Indian society. The Untouchables, like the caste Hindu, have been substantially affected by the political, economic and social changes that are occurring in independent India. While India has legally abolished untouchability, the society scarcely has and the Untouchables continue to face social resistance and deprivation. However, the changing ...

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Overview

The world of the Indian Untouchable is often invisible behind that of the dominant Hindu caste, but it is of no less significance for the understanding of contemporary Indian society. The Untouchables, like the caste Hindu, have been substantially affected by the political, economic and social changes that are occurring in independent India. While India has legally abolished untouchability, the society scarcely has and the Untouchables continue to face social resistance and deprivation. However, the changing social circumstances have given rise to a new awareness and increased expectations among the Untouchables and, although their social achievements may have been limited, they are engaged in a process of questioning and reformulating old definitions of self and society. This book is a study of the new frame of mind of the Untouchable. The work presents a complete discussion of the value structure and meaning of Untouchable ideology. It is a subtle combination of sensitive ethnographic data, taken from a field study of the Chamars of Lucknow, with an analysis of Untouchable accounts of their perceptions and experiences expressed in their own terms and a penetrating interpretation of wider cultural concepts.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; Note on transliteration; Introduction: The inquiry and its context; Part I. Untouchable Ideology: 1. The moral basis; 2. Formulations, categories and procedures; 3. Evaluating an ideal ascetic; 4. Moral individuation: a climax; Part II. Pragmatic Strategies: 5. Transition I: The worldly ascetic; 6. Transition II: The radical and protesting ascetic; 7. Articulation of the practical ethos; 8. Identification of deprivation and its manipulation; 9. Evaluation and accountability; Conclusion: aspects of significance; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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