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Business Brahmins: The Gauda Saraswat Brahmins of South Kanara

Harald Tambs-Lyche (Author)

Village studies have dominated anthropological writing on India for a long time, though more recently, much has been written on the big cities. This study is original in focusing on a small-town bourageoisie.

Udupi, in South Kanara (north of Mangalore, was just a famous pilgrimage centre, then an administrative unit, unitl the 1890s. They were instrumental in creating a flourishing market and town, and their businesses still from the core of the local economy.

Written like a piece of local histort, this book tells the story of the town from the perspective of these 'Business Brahmins,' but it also presents an analysis of Kinship, religion and community in a Brahmin caste which, in some ways, does not correspond to the received ideas of Brahmin orthodoxy.

As Konkani speakers from Goa, they constiute an ethnic minority as well as the main part of the local bourgeoisie.Udupi is a small town and easily identified, so no attempt has been made to mask the main actors by using fictitious names. The suthor feels that any criticism that may emerge of them is amply compensated for by documenting their important role in building and developing the lively urban community that Udupi is today.


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About the author

Harald Tambs-Lyche

Harald Tambs-Lyche received his Ph.D. from the University of Bergen in 1972. After early work on Indian immigrants in Europe, he has worked on Saurashtra since 1973, and has published a volume on the emergence of its traditional society: Power, Profit and Poetry (Manohar, 1997); and edited a collection of articles on The Feminine Sacred in South Asia (Manohar, 1999). A study of Scandinavian missionaries among the Santals, in collaboration with Marine Carrin, is being prepared for publication. He is presently working on ethnic and religious revitalization in Karnataka, and is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Picardie-Jules Verne, Amiens, France.

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Bibliographic information

Title Business Brahmins: The Gauda Saraswat Brahmins of South Kanara
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.2011
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788173049026
length 362p., Illustrations; Maps; 23cm.