Casting Kings: Bards and Indian Modernity
Based on three years of anthropological fieldwork in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Casting Kings explores the manner in which semi-nomadic performers known as Bhats understand, and also subvert, caste hierarchies. A number of scholars have recently contended that caste is invented and thus a fiction of a kind. But focus in these studies is typically placed on the way caste is imagined according to the agendas and desires of elite Westerners such as colonial officials. In this book, by contrast, the author argues that Bhats themselves understand the imaginative dimensions of caste relations. Indeed, such insights are shown to lie at the heart of the Bhats traditional profession of praise- and insult-singing. Likewise, the author demonstrates how the ability to cleverly rework and even sabotage lingering caste inequalities continues to form the basis for Bhat claims to status and dignity in contemporary India.
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Amar Singh Rathor Amba Lal Ann Dev argue audience bank Bansi Lal bard’s bards Bhambhi patrons Bharucha Bhat community Bhat informants Bhat puppet Bhats speak Brahmins British Carans caste communities caste relations chapter claims clever clients colonial community’s contemporary contexts cunning Dalit Daughter’s Wedding discussed drama economy example fact Ghori gifts gotras Gujar Hadi Rani hierarchies Hindi Hindu identity imagined Indian insult jagirdari jagirdars Jaipur jajmani jati Khetaji king’s kings Komal Kothari Krisan Ksatriyas Lal’s Lalji land landlords language leatherworking linked lives lords Marwar modern Mughal Muslim narrated neo-Hocartian noble one’s pandit patronage perform persons perspective play poem poetic political praise praise-singers priests Prithviraj Chauhan puppetry Rajasthan Rajput recited referred Resamji ritual royal bards Sanskrit Sati Churi scholars Similarly skills social society status story Sudras suggest tale told tourist traditional typically Udaipur Udaipur Bhats untouchable Vaisyas varna Ve´ronique village words