Marriage, Religion and Society
Pattern of Change in an Indian Village
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Originally published in 1974, the conclusions of the book are based on intensive field-work during 1963-66 in a village in south-east Rajasthan, India. Although the marriages of 158 boys and 163 girls were studied, the relevance of the conclusions drawn extends far beyond the village and its region since it reveals the changing themes and values in Indian society at the time.
The perceptive analysis of rites and ceremonies of marriage further illuminates the central problem of the book – how the themes of the Dharmasastras are interpreted and acted upon in village life and what kinds of reinforcements and incentives to change they provide to the various units of social structure.
The author contends that the series of marriage rites manifest the continuity of tradition, a ritual epitomisation of caste interdependence and means of systematic social advancement. At the time ritual idioms and patterns of social exchange were beginning to change, more often in observance than in content. Traditional sources of status aggrandisement continued to provide new pathways to the forces of modernisation and unveil several clues to the innovative strategies of change.
This scholarly study filled the need for a realistic appraisal of the relationship between marriage practices, religious values and the changing social structure.
Table of Contents
Preface. 1. Introduction 2. The Village 3. The Caste System 4. Internal Structure of Castes 5. Rituals, Preliminary to Marriage 6. Ritual Complex of Marriage 7. The Post-Wedding Rituals 8. The Family and the Kinsmen 9. Caste and Caste Councils 10. Social Exchange Among the Castes 11. Remarriage 12. Tradition and Change. Appendix. Bibliography. Glossary. Index.
Giri Raj Gupta