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

SanskritisationSubscribe to Sanskritisation

Writing Histories of Regions in Premodern India

The Making of Regions in Indian History: Society, State and Identity in Premodern Odisha by Bhairabi Prasad Sahu, Delhi: Primus Books, 2020; pp xvi + 274, ₹ 1,095.

Language as People’s History

Wanderers, Kings, Merchants: The Story of India through Its Languages by Peggy Mohan, New Delhi: India Viking, 2021; pp 352, ₹599

The Call of the Funeral Pyre

Burning the Dead: Hindu Nationhood and the Global Construction of Indian Tradition by David Arnold, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021; pp 268, $70.

Religious Identity at the Crossroads

​ The religious identity of the Hindu fisherfolk of Kerala—the Dheevaras—has been a site of multiple and contradictory interpretations by agents and institutions with varied interests. While their caste association—the Akhila Kerala Dheevara Sabha—is urging them towards Sanskritisation and allegiance to Hindutva, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is engaging them in their communal propaganda. At stake is a host of religious practices and philosophies evolved by the Dheevaras through their occupation of fishing, and the contribution of early Dheevara reformers in critiquing the Brahminic domination of Hinduism and the caste system.

Emerging New Social Status among Dalits in Bihar

The social status of Dalits in Bihar is undergoing change. A study based in a village and a town in East Champaran district of north Bihar reveals that Dalits are developing social consciousness, adopting Sanskritisation, and accessing constitutional provisions, and socio-religious movements, to change both their caste and class status.

Mobility through Sanskritisation

Mobility through sanskritisation in a caste context generates social friction. Lest its mobility endeavour turns out to be a superficial course of action, a mobilising caste will not remain content with mere emulation but will question the superiority of the upper castes. The main barriers on the path of mobility chosen by the lower castes are endogamy and hierarchy which are the essence of caste.

Stooping to Conquer

The demand for reservation by Jats has grown stronger in the past four months. Does this demand reflect the changing political economy of rural Haryana? A historical analysis.

Caste in a Casteless Language?

This paper focuses on a new archive of dalit writing in English translation. The "archive" has a forced homogeneity imposed by the term "dalit", which embraces an urban middle-class dalit and a member of a scavenger caste; the homogeneity is consolidated by the fact that the translated texts are in an international language. The questions asked concern the relationship between caste and the English language, two phenomena that represent considerably antithetical signs. Dalit writers accept English as a target language, despite the fact that local realities and registers of caste are difficult to couch in a language that has no memory of caste. The discussion shows how English promises to dalit writers (as both individuals and representatives of communities) agency, articulation, recognition and justice. The paper draws attention to the multiplicity of contexts that make writing by dalits part of a literary public sphere in India, and contribute to our thinking about caste issues in the context of human rights.

The Locations of Hindi

Hindi Nationalism by Alok Rai , Tracts for the Times 13, Orient Longman, Delhi, 2000; pp 138, Rs 150.
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