The Changing World of Caste and Hierarchy in Bengal : Depiction from the Mangalkavyas c. 1700–1931 book cover
1st Edition

The Changing World of Caste and Hierarchy in Bengal
Depiction from the Mangalkavyas c. 1700–1931

ISBN 9780367557553
Published August 26, 2022 by Routledge India
316 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book challenges the prevalent assumptions of caste, hierarchy and social mobility in pre-colonial and colonial Bengal. It studies the writings of colonial ethnographers, Orientalist scholars, Christian missionaries and pre-colonial literary texts like the Mangalkavyas to show how the concept of caste emerged and argues that the jati order in Bengal was far from being a rigidly reified structure, but one which had room for spatial and social mobility. The volume highlights the processes through which popular myths and beliefs of the lower caste orders of Bengal were Sanskritized. It delineates the linkages between sedantized peasant culture and the emergence of new agricultural castes in colonial Bengal. Moreover, the author discusses a wide spectrum of issues like marginality and hierarchy, the spread of Brahmanical hegemony, the creation of deities and the process of Sanskritization, popular Saivism, the cult of Manasa in Bengal and the revolt of 1857 and the caste question.

Rich in archival sources, this book will be an essential read for scholars and researchers of colonial history, Indian history, political sociology, caste studies, exclusion studies, cultural studies, social history, cultural history and South Asian studies, especially those interested in undivided Bengal.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Locating the issues of marginality and hierarchy in colonial Bengal: histories from the long past 2. The making of the goddess tradition in Bengal: exploring the world of omnipotent lower caste malevolent deities 3. Popular religion, myths, orality and subalternity in Bengal 4. Land reclamation leading to new agriculture and settlement 5. Risley and the constructed Bengali space: caste, census and the relevance of jatis Conclusion

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Sudarshana Bhaumik is Assistant Professor of History at Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida, Delhi NCR. She has a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She is a recipient of the prestigious Charles Wallace India Trust Grant Fellowship (2018). She has delivered lectures at various international conferences held at places like Queens College, Oxford (March 2019), IIAS Leiden (July 2019) and Victoria University of Wellington (November 2019). She has published articles in numerous journals and edited volumes including IIAS Summer Hill , Historical Sources and Genres and Encyclopaedia of Historiography: Africa, America, Asia (2019). She has worked as Assistant Professor (History) in the Lovely Professional University, Punjab and has also worked as Guest Faculty in the Department of History, Central University of Karnataka, Gulbarga, and as Guest Lecturer at Milli Al-Ameen College for Girls (Affiliated to the University of Calcutta).