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Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India

Nicholas B Dirks (Author)
Synopsis When you think of India, you think almost immediately of caste. Caste has become a central symbol for India, suggesting an area which is socially and culturally different from other places, as well as expressing its essence. Nicholas Dirks argues that caste is in fact neither an unchanged survival of ancient India nor a single system that reflects some core culture. Rather than being an expression of Indian tradition, caste, as we know it now, is a relatively modern phenomenon—the product of the encounter between India and British colonial rule. This is not to suggest that the British invented caste, but to show that it was on account of British domination that caste became a single term capable of naming as well as subsuming India’s diverse forms of social identity and organisation. Dirks traces the career of caste from the medieval kingdoms of South India to texts in early colonial archives; from early Jesuit commentaries to the census in the late nineteenth century; from the writings of colonial administrators to those of Indian scholars seeking to rescue ethnography from its colonial legacy. Finally, Dirks examines the rise of caste politics in contemporary India, in particular caste-based movements and their implications for Indian nationhood.
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Bibliographic information

Title Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition Reprint
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 9788178240435
length xvi+372p.
Subjects History