This ethnographic study of Dalit Lutherans in South India examines how the lived religion of Dalit Christians contests the structures of caste domination in rural Andhra. It shows how the emergence of Dalit Christianity generated new religious ideas, patterns, terrains, rituals, and practices that challenge the traditional notions of caste privilege and impact the politics of the region. It highlights the transforming role of Dalit agency in the development of Christianity, which is largely unexplored in the studies of Christian missions and anthropology of Christianity in India. The book looks at the social history of Christianity, critical events of protest, platforms of community politics, caste ideology, and local politics and interlocking of caste with congregation to provide a constructive critique of the dominant paradigm of the Dalit movement, which often treats Dalits as a homogenous social group. It discusses the pragmatic changes within the politics of Dalit Christianity as viewed from the margins of Indian society and incorporated through engagement with political ideologies (from communism to the Ambedkarite movement) and religious belief systems (from Hinduism to Christianity).
This volume at the intersection of religion and caste will be an essential read for students and researchers of Dalit studies, political studies, sociology, sociology of religion, religious studies, social justice and exclusion studies, and South Asian studies.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Rowena Robinson
1. Social History of Christianity and Lutheranism in Andhra
2. Changing Gods: Caste-Class Consciousness and Critical Events of Protest
3. Dalit Christians: Rituals, Religious Celebrations, and Community Politics
4. Identity, Ideology and Dalit Christian Politics
5. Interlocking Caste with Congregation: A Political Necessity for Dalit Christians in Andhra?
Ashok Kumar Mocherla is Assistant Professor of Sociology in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore, India. His academic interests include sociology of religion, caste, faith healing, and missionary medicine.