The untouchables of India
The subjugation of millions of people in a caste system that is a radical form of apartheid has long had its critics, both from within India and from outside it. Although the government has introduced equal opportunity legislation in an effort to right some of history's wrongs, untouchability is an accident of birth that continues to stigmatize and ostracize more than one hundred and forty million people. Untouchables remain on the bottom of the socioeconomic scale and are found, more often than not, in unskilled, low status occupations. They are forbidden to enter temples, often beg for their food, must leave their chests uncovered and silently endure public humiliations and insults. They remain on the fringes of society and it is even said by some that their shadows pollute passersby. This excellent book addresses the problem of untouchability by providing an overview of the subject as well as penetrating insights into its social and religious origins. The author persuasively demonstrates that untouchability is a deeply ambiguous condition: neither inside nor outside society, reviled yet indispensable, untouchables constitute an original category of social exclusion. This is reflected in the various social movements they have led over the last century and more. The situation of untouchables is crucial to the understanding of caste dynamics, especially in contemporary circumstances, but emphasis, particularly within anthropology, has been placed on the dominant aspects of the caste system rather than on those marginalized and excluded from it. This important book redresses this problem and represents a vital contribution to studies of India, Hinduism, human rights, history, sociology and anthropology.
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Theories of Caste
The Ambiguity of Untouchables
Untouchable Myths of Origin
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agricultural workers Ambedkar anthropologists Arya Samaj B. R. Ambedkar Berreman Beteille Bombay Brahmins brother Buddhism caste system cent century Chamars Chamars of Senapur Change Christian Congress Party conversion culture Dalit Delhi Deliege discrimination dominant Dumont economic elite Endavur example Gandhi Gough Gujarat Harijans hierarchy high-caste higher castes Hindu Hinduism Homo Hierarchicus Ibid ideology important impure Indian society instance Iravas Jajmani Jatavs Kerala Konkunad live low castes lower castes M. N. Srinivas Madras Maharashtra Mahars Maravars missionaries mobility Moffatt movement myth Nadars never Nevertheless Onaanraakbaren Ouden Oxford University Press Pallars pannaiyal Paraiyars Paraiyars du Tamil political population position poverty problem Pulayas Punjab purity radical refuse relative religion religious replication role Rural Sakkiliyars Scheduled Castes social categories South India status stress subcastes sweepers Tamil Nadu temple term traditional untouchable castes Untouchable Community untouchable groups upper castes Uttar Pradesh Valghira Manickam various village Wagatsuma Zelliot