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Literature, Caste and Society: The Masks and Veils

S. Jeyaseela Stephen (Editor)
Synopsis This groundbreaking collection presents a significantly different portrait of the medieval and modern Indian society, literature, and the nation-state. Reporting on eighteen studies in five distinct sections spanning many centuries of Indian social history it has brought fresh insights into the emergence of innumerable sub-castes owing to various factors such as political, economic, inter-religious and inter-cultural. This remarkable set of reconstructions presents the reader with familiar as well as unfamiliar groups and areas within the subcontinent offering fresh appraisals of the evidence and of modern historical writing. What unites them here is an overarching thesis on social formation and transformation by establishing links chronologically and thematically. It is argued that although modernizing forces entered the caste system with the advent of the European missionaries and trading companies it did not radically alter the system but the changes brought about in the Indian society remained complex. There has been conflict in the society right from the time of Buddha challenging the Vedic and Shastric traditions. We find non-Brahmin tradition as part of broader Hinduism. In British India various reformers launched social reform movements to challenge the hegemony of the upper castes and to bring about change and transformation towards the egalitarian order. The book looks into the issues of identity, power, conversion and gender inequality.
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About the author

S. Jeyaseela Stephen

S. Jeyseela Stephen is professor of maritime History and Coordinator of the special Assistance programme of the UGC at Visva-Bharti. He joined the academy of historians in 1994 at Ecole francaise extreme-orient and went to pune to became Senior Advisor to Tata Central Archives in 2000. He became Head of the Department of History in 2001 at Visva-Bharti University, Santiniketan. He was the editor of revue Historique: Societe de 1st Histoire de Pondichery (1995-97). He had taught at the University of Nebraska, USA in 2004. He is a Member of the Executive Committee in the Indian Historical records Commission nominated by the Government of India. (220-07). Among his many publications are: The Coromandel Coast and its Hinterland: Economy, Society and political System, 1500-1600 (1997), Portuguese in the Rtamil Coast: Historical Explorations in Commerce and Culture, 1507-1749 (1998), Rangappa Thiruvengadam Pillai Naatkurippu, Vol. I (1760-1768) Vol. II, 1762-66, (2000), The Diary of Rangappa Thiruvengadam Pillai, 1760-68: Trnslated from Original Tamil with Notes (2001), Portuguese-Tamil Grammar: Modernisation and Democratisation of Tamil (2001) and Letters of the Portuguese Jesuits from Tamil countryside, 1666-68, (2001). He has also co-edited (with K.S. Mathew) Indo-French Relations, (1999). ) and edited Trade and Globalisation: Europeans, Americans and Indians in the Bay of Bengal, 1511-1819 (2003). He won the best book prize for his book Muthu Vijaya Thiruvengadam Pillai Naatkurippu, 1794-1796, in 1999 (in Tamil which deals with Diary Writing in Tamil during the Eighteenth Century).

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Bibliographic information

Title Literature, Caste and Society: The Masks and Veils
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8178354489
length 427p., Tables; References; Index; 23cm.