ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sons of the Ganga

Life on the Ganga: Boatmen and the Ritual Economy of Banaras by Assa Doron (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press), 2013; pp 262, Rs 695.

Life on the Ganga is a new, south Asian edition of Assa Doron’s Caste, Occupation and Politics on the Ganges, published in the United Kingdom. It is an engaging, sympathetic, and nuanced examination of how the Mallah/Nishad community of boatmen in Varanasi have structured their profession, interacted with those outside the profession – particularly, the state, their clients, and other communities – and endeavoured to reshape their cultural identity and defend their occupational position in recent decades. Based upon extensive ethnographic engagement and archival research, Doron portrays boatmen’s not-always-successful efforts to navigate the colonial and postcolonial states and a globalising, liberalising economy.

Collective Resistance

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