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Beyond the Four Varnas: The Untouchables in India

Prabhati Mukherjee (Author)
Synopsis Much has been written and discussed about the untouchables in contemporary India but almost nothing about their emergence, visibility and eventual degradation in society. The present study undertakes the ardous task of finding out from hitherto unexplored bibliographical sources the relevant questions like, who were the most powerful people; when, why, and how could they bring others under their control? It starts with the Rgveda, the earlier written materials regarding India and attempts to describe the emergence, crystallization and ultimate discrimination of untouchables in India. The study continues upto c. AD 200 when the exact Sanskrit word asprsya appeared for untouchables replacing other words like "unclean", "impure", etc. In this edition several topics have been discussed with more details. Comparison has also been made with similar phenomena in other countries to show that untouchability in India was not unusual. What however was unusual is that with untouchability becoming a taboo it became viable and therefore more difficult to eradicate from society.
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About the author

Prabhati Mukherjee

Prabhati Mukherjee obtained the degree of D.Phil. from Humboldt University Berlin.

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Bibliographic information

Title Beyond the Four Varnas: The Untouchables in India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition Reprint
Language: English
isbn 8179860027
length xxii+116p., Tables; Bibliography; 23cm.