review -sekhar bandyopadhyay

review -sekhar bandyopadhyay
review -sekhar bandyopadhyay
review -sekhar bandyopadhyay
review -sekhar bandyopadhyay
review -sekhar bandyopadhyay
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  • 7/30/2019 review -sekhar bandyopadhyay

    1/5

    Social Scientist

    Caste, Culture and Hegemony: Social Dominance in Colonial Bengal by Shekhar BandopadhyayReview by: Projit Behari MukherjeeSocial Scientist, Vol. 33, No. 7/8 (Jul. - Aug., 2005), pp. 94-97Published by: Social ScientistStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3516891 .

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  • 7/30/2019 review -sekhar bandyopadhyay

    2/5

    Social Scientist

    o3 of the marginalisedn developmentnd highlighthe congruence n?c4 developmental referencesf rural opulationnboth ndia and Pakistan.Moving wayfrom hedominant evelopmentiscourse,hebook with tsfocus n viewfrom elow' s an importantontributiono thedevelopmentliterature../)oZ

    rnr Jayatirivastava sattheDepartmentfPolitical cience,Universityf Delhi.

    Caste,CulturendHegemony:ocialDominanc-enColonialBengal,hekharBandopadhyay;age,Delhi,2004,pp.252,Rs. 550.The book mostlyweaves n motifs nd argumentshatwould seem

    recognizableomost eaders amiliar ithBandopadhyay'sork. hemajorthemes of 'Sanskritisation', ais as the premiere ate 19"' Centuryorganisationalevelopmento enforce astediscipline,Westernisation's alate tageof Sanskritisation'ndthe ontinuitiesetweenower asteupliftmovementsndBrahmanicalalue ystemsre allrefurbishednd revisited.In keepingwith he pparent bjective f thebook,viz.to be definitivevolume t east n the heoreticalonsensuseshathave mergednthe tudyofthehistoryf caste n recent ears, he ntroductioneviewshe entireambitof relevantiteratureromLouis Dumontto M.N. Srinivas, romHitesranjan anyal o GailOmvedt.Though hedemandingcholarmightseeka fuller iscussion f some of the iteraturelealtwith, et, onsideringthat t ssupposed o doubleupas an introductiono the hemesl thebookaswell, ackofdetail swellcompensatedythebreadthfvision.The firsthapterntitledaste ndpower,eeks oestablishhe entralityoftheprinciplefhierarchyhrougllhe rticulationf ocialpower scaste.Thuscaste,Bandopadhyayightlysserts,s at itscoreaboutthehierarchicorganisationf ocialpower, atherhan ts tratificationntohermeticnits.Thus, certain luiditysalwaysllowed orwithint, ven nthepre-colonialera,and itwouldbe wrong o see it as an unchangingrientalnstitution,what s never ubvertedhough s theprinciple f hierarchy.ven n thecolonial era both thereformistsnd therevivalists,eedless o saythoseorthodoxies, hich idnoteven ngagenthemodern ublic pherend tsdebates,t s thisprinciplefhierarchyhat snever hallenged.hus nthis94 chapter, andopadhyayeeks to also depictthe failure f themodernist

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  • 7/30/2019 review -sekhar bandyopadhyay

    3/5

    project ot nterms ftheweaknessfmodernity,ut rather s the trengthof tradition.n so doinghe alsoshowshowcontraryocommonsense,he'languageof science' and print re deployed o consolidate he hold of'tradition'.hough hepoint swellmade, newonders owBandopadhyayafterhimself avingmade the distinctionn the Introduction etweenRevivalistsnd Traditionalistsho remainedonmpletelyutside hemodernpublic sphere ees thisas the strengthf tradition' ather hanas the'inventionr constructionftradition.'The next hapterCaste and PopularReligion' howshowdespite hisconsensus n thehierarchicalature fcaste he pacefor esistance as notcompletelyoreclosed. rawing n a richveinofpopularheterodox ultsranging rom haitanya'smovemnentnmedieval engal o themorerecentAuls,Bauls,KartaBhajasetc.,he showshow on theone hand thesegroulpsarticulatedlements f resistance itlintheir ects,whilst n the other,Brahmanical owermanaged o continuouslyppropriate r marginalizetheseelements, ntil n orderto survive heyhad to acquiescence o themaintenancefcastenorms utside ftheir allowed recinctsf heirects.The next wo hapters,Caste nd SocialReform'nd Caste nd Gender'are argelyimilarn their hemes,s they ease ut the ommonpatriarchalcodesofBrahmanicower hat re hared venbythelower' astes.Aroundissuessuch as widowre-marriage,hildmarriage, owry tc. there s aremarkableegree f onvergenceetween he pinion fthe evivalistsndafew ecades ater heforbearsfthe asteupliftmovemencts.The last chapter, perhaps the one with the greatestring ofcontemporaneity,ealswith herunup to thepartitionfBengal n 1947,andhow theHindu eparatistsventually anage owooaway hedepressedclassmovementromts raditionalffinityoMuslim olitics. his uccess tleast npart sdue tothehegemonicrip f the aste ystemhat imited hedepressedlasses o magine heirdentitysat the ast nistanceHinduone.Thoughundoubtedlyhebook s a mnusteadfor llthoseworkingnthehistoryfcaste, he time s perhaps ife o takethedebate little urther.Hence t smore s a possible reaoffurtheresearch,atherhan sa critiquethat suggesthefollowing oints.First,t swellnigh ccepted oday hat aste, s a formnfframingocialpower, s not a Hindumonopoly, ethistorical orks n castecontinue oview t as a whollyHindu nstitution.speciallyn a contextuch as Bengal,any tudyhat oes notencompasshe xpressionsfcastewithinslam,nawayperpetuatehemythhat heveryxistence f caste (lentity akes nea Hindu,no matter owtangentially.he splitgoesso far hat,n the astchapter, venwhen we are privy o thestory f theHindu and Muslimconsolidationistsoth tryingo woo theDepressedCaste votebank,we

    Book Review

    95

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  • 7/30/2019 review -sekhar bandyopadhyay

    4/5

    Social Scientist

    hardly ear nythingbout heMuslim oliticsrsocialposition,most f t seitherthe Brahmanical mpulseor DepressedCaste response.Also inliteraturerom heearly wentiethentury, e meetruralMuslimpeasants,suchas RahamSheikh nTarashankar andopadhyay's onodebota, hoseidentitiesften ake on a formwhich, t leastto the ayreader ooksverysimilaro caste. n fact ven ntoday's ontemporaryengali iction, e meetsimilar eaturesn rural ociety,heGhoramisfAbulBashar ornstance.The problem perhaps stems largelyfrom an over reliance ongovernmentalnd propagandistources.Castes are after ll not internallyhomogenised. ach region nd sub-region as itsownspecificub groupswithin nd beloweachofthecastegroup.Now theelite eadershipf thevarious asteupliftmovementslso seek odeny hisnternalractioningndforge corporatedentity.hus n the ndtheofficialources o notexhibitthis level of hierarchy.he onlyway to retrieve hisis to interrogatecontemporaryhroniclers.t shere hat arashankar'sovels avebeenusedto open up a wholly ewlevelof analysis or cholar uch as RajatRay.Whereas ay,theSettlement eport ftheperiodproducedbyRai BejoyBihariMukharjiBahadur, topsat Banris s a castegroup;Tarashankar'snovelHansuliBankerUpokotha,hows hat hesewerefurtherivided ntoKahar,Dalui,SikhurendGubure.ven mongstheKaharsgain hereweretwogroups, tpoureesndBeharas;ndallof these racticedndogamyndwerefiercelyonscious f theirdentities.o merelyismiss llliteraturenthe lter fthebirthdentityfthe uthor stakinghings erhaps bittoofar.Justs the nternal eterogeneityfthe lower'castes reglossed ver,similarlyhe nternal eterogeneityf heupper astes oo are argelylossedover. The 1901 censusproducedan acrimoniousdisputebetweentheKayasthsnd Baidyas ver ritual recedence. hesearetwoofthehighestcastegroups n Bengal. imilarly,artha hatterjee hile ellinghe taleofthePrincelympostor' f Bhawalmentions owtheBhawalRaj family howereSrautriyarahmins,ried o ascend he aste adder y practisingothSanskritichypergamy y marryingnto Kulin families as well asWesternisation,ygettingheir rides rom alcutta's rofessionalamilies.Tlese internalensions ithinastes, erhapswould llowusnotonly ounderstand aste movements etter, ut by introducingn essentiallylocalised, patialelement nto theanalysis,would givegreater cuity ounderstandinghe arger olitics ftheregion.t s alsoan interestingay fusing oth aste ndclass s tworelatedategorieshat ctually roduce achother, ather hanviewinghem olely sbeing elatednthe nalyst'smentalmap.

    96 This s also mportantince hesenternalivisionslsomeandifferential

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