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Merchants Of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, And Untouchables In Eighteenth-Century India

Release date: 15 June 2023
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What is the line that separates those with caste from outcastes? In the eyes of caste elites, thi... Read More

Product Description

What is the line that separates those with caste from outcastes? In the eyes of caste elites, this line was mutable. Depending on context, an outcaste could be anyone except rajputs, brahmans, and merchants. Despite shifting lines, the bhangi was indisputably and always “untouchable”. How and why did the bhangi come to constitute the extreme Other for Gandhi and for generations to come? What did this history have to do with Hindu–Muslim relations? Merchants of Virtue offers a granular, everyday account of the construction and practice of untouchability and its relationship with Hindu-ness in the kingdom of Marwar in eighteenth-century western India.

Divya Cherian uncovers how Marwari merchants enforced their caste ideals of vegetarianism and bodily austerity as universal markers of Hindu identity mobilizing the law and the state in their favor. They successfully remade the category of “Hindu” as antithetical to the “Untouchable”, and in the process reconfigured Muslims in caste terms. This book, for the first time, explores the key role that merchants played in the politics of caste and untouchability, and in defining who is a Hindu.

Divya Cherian

Product Details

Title: Merchants Of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, And Untouchables In Eighteenth-Century India
Author: Divya Cherian
Publisher: Navayana
SKU: BK0478273
EAN: 9788195539277
Number Of Pages: 272
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Country Of Origin: India
Release date: 15 June 2023

About Author

Divya Cherian is assistant professor in the Department of History at Princeton University.

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