By Saurabh Dube

Untouchable Pasts constructs a historical past of an untouchable and heretical group during the last 2 hundred years. The Satnamis of significant India have mixed the positive aspects of a caste and a sect to question and problem the tenor of formality strength that variously defines Hinduism. while, in the neighborhood, schemes of which means and tool, really these centering on gender, were imbued with ambiguity and a replica of types of inequality.

The booklet provides an interpretive account of Satnami endeavors, encounters, and stories by means of bringing jointly the views of background and anthropology, archival and box paintings. It addresses a snatch of theoretical matters and more than a few key and inextricably sure relationships in an obtainable demeanour. problems with caste and untouchability, sect and kinship, myths and pasts are rendered the following as a part of a much wider dynamic among faith and tool, gender and group, writing and the structure of traditions, ritual and the making of modernities, and orality and the development of histories.

Indeed, the ebook brings jointly the views and chances outlined through 3 overlapping yet specific theoretical advancements which were elaborated in recent times: first, novel renderings of anthropologies and enthnographies of the ancient mind's eye; moment, significantly engaged structures of histories from lower than, really by means of the collective Subaltern reviews exercise; and, ultimately, a conceptual emphasis at the 'everyday' as an area for the construction, negotiation, transaction, and contestations of meanings inside of wider networks and relationships of power.

By casting those analytical developments in a serious discussion with each other, Untouchable Pasts works towards wondering a few of these overarching oppositions—for instance, among ritual and rationality, fable and historical past, culture and modernity, and neighborhood and state—that have shaped the conceptual center of numerous inherited traditions of social and political concept in the academy in either Western and non-Western contexts.

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Extra info for Untouchable Pasts: Religion, Identity, and Power Among a Central Indian Community, 1780-1950

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C. Dube (19221996), Anthropologist and Parent Page vii Vespasia stood up and walked over toward the window. " "One has the right to question them," Charlotte said with irritation. "One must, or there will be no progress of ideas, no reforming. The most senseless ideologies cou ld be taught, and if we cannot challenge them, how are we to know whether they are good or evil? " "We cannot," Vespasia replied. "But there are many ways of doing it. '' Ann Perry, Highgate Rise: A Victorian Mystery Featuring Charlotte and Inspector Thomas Pitt Page ix Contents Preface xi List of Abbreviations xvii Chapter One Introduction 1 Chapter Two The Making of Satnampanth, 17801850 25 Chapter Three Malguzars, Gurus, and Missionaries, 18501900 47 Chapter Four Satnamis in Village Life, 19001950 79 Chapter Five A Contested Past: The Myths of Satnampanth 115 Chapter Six Reform and Authority: The Satnami Mahasabha, 19251950 145 Chapter Seven Contending Histories: Old Stories and New Pasts 183 Chapter Eight Conclusion 207 Appendix 1: Genealogy of Satnami Gurus, Four Generations 223 Appendix 2: Population of Satnamis, 19011931 224 Glossary 227 Notes 231 Bibliography 281 Index 297 Page xi Preface In March 1996, while doing field work on the evangelical encounter in central India, I traced the pathways of an indigenous catechist who had preached Christ in southwestern Chhattisgarh at the beginning of this century.

The short text, written by the missionary M. M. Paul, simultaneously took up the forms and idioms of popular religious discourse and followed modes of inscription that lent fixity to its allusions and tenor. This endeavor once again underscored the retention, subversion, and fashioning of meanings that lay at the heart of the relationship between orality and writing. These processes involving the constitution of truths and the making of histories were a part of larger efforts to regulate the community and redefine its identity.

The account addresses a clutch of theoretical issues, a range of key and inextricably bound relationships between sect and caste, religion and power, myth and history, orality and writing, gender and order, community and hegemony, reform and authority, and resistance and domination. The arguments are woven into the larger tale, involving a dialogue between history and ethnography and an interplay of archival and field work. Indeed, the book attempts to bring together the perspectives and possibilities defined by three overlapping but distinct theoretical developments that have all been elaborated in recent years: first, novel renderings of anthropologies and ethnographies of the historical imagination; second, critical constructions of histories from below, particularly by the collective Subaltern Studies endeavor; and, finally, a conceptual emphasis on the "everyday" as an arena for the production, negotiation, transaction, and contestation of meanings, often in a "local" and quotidian key, within wider networks and relationships of power.

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