Caste, Conflict and Ideology: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Low Caste Protest in Nineteenth-Century Western India

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 22, 2002 - History - 344 pages
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The nineteenth century saw the beginning of a violent and controversial movement of protest amongst western India's low and untouchable castes, aimed at the effects of their lowly position within the Hindu caste hierarchy. The leaders of this movement were convinced that religious hierarchies had combined with the effects of British colonial rule to produce inequality and injustice in many fields, from religion to politics and education. This study concentrates on the first leader of this movement, Mahatma Jotirao Phule. It shows him as its first ideologist, working out a unique brand of radical humanism. It analyses his contribution to one of the most important and neglected social developments in western India in this period - the formation of a new regional identity. This process of identity formation is studied against the background of the earlier history of caste relations in this area of India, and contributes important evidence about the relationship between ritual status and political power.The movement itself provides a fascinating example of early Third World radicalism, illustrating the role of ideology and religion in the struggle against British colonial power.
 

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The Great Mahatma Phule

Contents

Low caste protest in nineteenthcentury western India
3
Religion and society under early British rule
13
From warrior traditions to nineteenthcentury politics structure ideology and identity in the Marathakunbi caste complex
15
The crisis of cultural legitimacy missionaries reformers and Hindu society in the midnineteenth century
50
The growth of religious reform opinion in western India
88
Jotirao Phule and his circle the emergence of a distinctive radical voice
103
Student radicals in midnineteenthcentury western India
105
Christianity and the attack on caste in Phules early writing
122
Religious emancipation and political competition
189
Social protest and the construction of a religious ethic
193
Traditional privileges and new skills Phules analysis of the nature of Brahman power
206
The Satyashodhak Samaj in the 1870s
220
Ideology and the nonBrahman movement in the 1880s
253
Phules polemic in the 1880s the ideological construction of rural life and labour
255
The nonBrahman movement in the 1880s
274
Epilogue ideology and politics in nineteenth century western India
303

The creation of a lower caste identity in history and popular culture 186973
133
Ritual status and political conflict in later nineteenthcentury Maharashtra
135
The Aryan invasions and the origins of caste society
141
Warriors and cultivators the reinterpretation of popular culture
152
Maratha history as polemic low caste ideology and political debate in late nineteenthcentury Maharashtra
164
The lower caste community in contemporary society
187
Bibliographic note
309
Bibliography
311
Glossary
317
Index
321
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