Front cover image for Caste, society and politics in India from the eighteenth century to the modern age

Caste, society and politics in India from the eighteenth century to the modern age

"The phenomenon of caste has probably aroused more controversy than any other aspect of Indian life and thought. Some scholars see India's caste system as the defining feature of Indian culture, although it is dismissed by others as a colonial artefact. Susan Bayly's cogent and sophisticated analysis explores the emergence of the ideas, experiences and practices which gave rise to so-called 'caste society' over a period of 350 years, from the pre-colonial period to the end of the twentieth century. Combining historical and anthropological approaches, Bayly frames her analysis within the context of India's dynamic economic and social order. She thereby interprets caste not as the essence of Indian culture and civilisation, but rather as a contingent and variable response to the enormous changes that occurred in the subcontinent's political landscape both before and after colonial conquest."--Jacket
Print Book, English, 1999
Cambridge University Press, New York, 1999
xi, 421 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
9780521264341, 9781139053389, 9780521798426, 0521264340, 1139053388, 0521798426
Map 1. The break-up of the Mughal empire, c. 1766
Map 2. British India, 1858-1947
Map 3. India after Independence, 1956-1987
1. Historical origins of a 'caste society'
2. The 'Brahman Raj': kings and service people c. 1700-1830
3. Western 'orientalists' and the colonial perception of caste
4. Caste and the modern nation: incubus or essence?
5. The everyday experience of caste in colonial India
6. Caste debate and the emergence of Gandhian nationalism
7. State policy and 'reservations': the politicisation of caste-based social welfare schemes
8. Caste in the everyday life of independent India
9. 'Caste wars' and the mandate of violence