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Popular Democracy and the Politics of Caste Rise of the Other Backward Classes in India

By Satendra Kumar Copyright 2023
    ISBN 9781032346090
    152 Pages
    Published September 21, 2022 by Routledge India

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    Original Price $170.00
    Sale Price USD $136.00
    ISBN 9781003323013
    152 Pages
    Published September 20, 2022 by Routledge India

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    This book examines the intersection of caste and politics in North India and highlights its contribution to the anthropological study of democracy. It argues that the long-term process of internalization of democracy within the caste body has fundamentally changed the workings of the Indian party system. Drawing on an in-depth ethnographic case study of the Gujjars, a marginalized caste group in India, the book presents a systematic analysis of the political mobilization and culture of political participation of the Other Backward Classes to understand why and how certain caste groups have been more successful in politics than others. It discusses various key themes such as popular democracy and the politics of caste, regional politics and territoriality, myth, legends and heroes in the Gujjar community, the transition from lineage deities to caste deity, and the (re)formation of caste-community identity. It reveals the symbiotic relationships between religion and caste and shows how religion shapes contemporary caste. 


    The book makes an important contribution to the study of marginalised groups and their politicization and fills a significant gap in the political sociology of India. It will be useful for scholars and researchers of sociology, history, exclusion studies, Dalit studies, political studies, history, social anthropology, and South Asian studies.

    Introduction: Caste View of Democracy 1. The Rise of Caste and Popular Democracy in North India 2. Caste and Region: Gujjars in Western Uttar Pradesh 3.  Myth, Heroes and Hi(stories): Re-imagining of Gujjar Community 4. Rise of Shri Devnarayan Bhagvan: From Lineage Deities to Caste Deity 5. Hero-Gods, Kings and ‘Rebels’ in the Making of Gujjar Political Culture 6. ‘We are a Martial Caste’: Gujjars’ Understanding of Democracy Conclusion: Caste and the Anthropology of Democracy      


    Satendra Kumar is a social anthropologist and senior researcher at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland. He received his Ph.D. from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India. He works across the fields of sociology and anthropology of caste, class, agrarian political economy, and political anthropology. His research investigates how marginalized groups understand and engage with politics and the state in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, North India. He has been awarded the British Academy Fellowship at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, UK. He has also been a Visiting Fellow at John Hopkins University, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, Bielefeld University, Germany, University of California, Berkeley, and Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS). He has also taught at Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, and Allahabad University, Prayagraj. He is currently Co-editor, Book Reviews Section at the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS). His recent publications include Badalte Gaon, Badalta Dehat: Nayi Samajikta ka Uday (2018).

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