1st Edition

Chastity in Ancient Indian Texts Precept, Practice, and Portrayal

By Oly Roy Copyright 2022
    164 Pages
    by Routledge India

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    This book looks at the representation and practice of chastity in selective ancient Indian texts. It studies how and when the concept originated and in what ways it was intertwined with the social, cultural, and economic notions of Indian society. Drawing on seminal Indian texts such as the MahāPurāṇas, Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata, Sattasaī and the Jātakas, the volume delves into the social and reproductive rights of women through an examination of the norms of chastity, virginity, and Pātivratya, which were construed according to a patriarchal hierarchy of the society and implemented as a means of strengthening patriarchal authority. It also examines the interinfluence of various religious traditions that emerged on the very concept of chastity and the ideologies they later gave rise to.

    A comprehensive study of sexuality and gender in early India, the book will be indispensable to students, teachers, and researchers of gender studies, literature, women’s studies, women’s rights, feminism, South Asian studies, and social history of Ancient India.

    Introduction  1. Conceptualising Chastity  2. Conformity in the Great Epics (the Mahābhārata and the Vālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa)  3. Deviance in the Great Epics  4. Chastity as Reflected in the MahaPurāṇas  5. Deviant Behaviour as Reflected in the MahaPurāṇas  6. Comparative Evaluation of Conformity and Deviance in Hāla’s Sattasaī and the Jātakas  Conclusion


    Oly Roy is an academician and researcher, who has received her Ph.D from Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Her research interests include gender, social, cultural and political issues.