The Politics of Caste in West Bengal

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Uday Chandra, Geir Heierstad, Kenneth Bo Nielsen
Routledge, Sep 25, 2015 - Social Science - 272 pages
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This volume offers for the first time a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the making and maintenance of a modern caste society in colonial and postcolonial West Bengal in India. Drawing on cutting-edge multidisciplinary scholarship, it explains why caste continues to be neglected in the politics of and scholarship on West Bengal, and how caste relations have permeated the politics of the region until today. The essays presented here dispel the myth that caste does not matter in Bengali society and politics, and make possible meaningful comparisons and contrasts with other regions in South Asia.

The work will interest scholars and researchers in sociology, social anthropology, politics, modern Indian history and cultural studies.


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a hidden history of caste and the making of modern Bengal
Bhadralok responses to Dalit political assertion in colonial Bengal
3 Partition displacement and the decline of the Scheduled Caste movement in West Bengal
4 Partition and the mysterious disappearance of caste in Bengal
5 An absentminded casteism?
6 The politics of caste and class in Singurs antiland acquisition struggle
the politics of the Matua Mahasangha
the imaginary of the Mulnibasi in West Bengal
economic change and the slow change of social identity in rural West Bengal
the Kumbhakars of Bengal
11 The commodification of caste and politics in Kolkatas Kumartuli

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About the author (2015)

Uday Chandra is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany.

Geir Heierstad is Research Director at the Department of International Studies, Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Oslo, Norway.

Kenneth Bo Nielsen is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Bergen, Norway.