Background Reading

The influence of state on identity in South Asia is a topic that requires an in-depth understanding of both the nature of state power and governance in the region through the last few centuries, the ground realities of societal structure and the interaction between the two. The following books expand on these subjects:

HOMO HIERARCHICUS by Louis Dumont – A treatise on the Indian caste system, this book pits Indian ideology against Western, and attempts to explain the caste system and its organising principles, taking heavily from Indian religious texts.

IDEOLOGIES OF THE RAJ by Thomas R. Metcalf – This is a book about the colonial period in South Asia, and the methods and ideologies the British employed to justify and expand the extent of their control over the region.

COLONIALISM AND ITS FORMS OF KNOWLEDGE by Bernard Cohn – Cohn’s collection of essays is an exploration of the manner in which British collection and codification of information about the society it governed influenced and contributed to their political control and hegemony in India. Important identity markers like language were influenced, and British notions of a society took over its own.

The following essays are empirical researches on caste in three countries – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The essay on India speaks primarily about government divisions of these categories through the years, while the other two are ethnographic researches on how caste plays out in Pakistan and Bangladesh:

ESSAY ON THE HISTORY OF INDIA’S CENSUS CLASSIFICATION (Anthropological Survey of India)

ESSAY ON PERCEPTIONS OF CASTE IN PAKISTAN

STUDY ON CASTE BASED DISCRIMINATION IN BANGLADESH

 

 

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