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Strong Arms and Drinking StrengthMasculinity, Violence, and the Body in Ancient India$
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Jarrod L. Whitaker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199755707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755707.001.0001

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Manhood and Masculinity

Manhood and Masculinity

(p.35) 1 Manhood and Masculinity
Strong Arms and Drinking Strength

Jarrod L. Whitaker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 examines the use of common R̥gvedic terms that denote “man” (nár) and “manhood, masculinity” (nr̥mná, paúm̥sya). It argues that through the use of these terms poet-priests communicate a dominant and rocentric ideology to male ritual participants. One of the key ways that poet-priests do this is by closely aligning a man’s identity with the gods Agni and Indra. Hence, ritual practitioners lay claim to what constitutes manhood through the performances of rituals, while defining just how men should comport themselves in the ritual arena and in the world at large. This chapter illuminates the relationship between the performance of early Vedic rituals and the ways in which such practices encode, reproduce, and legitimize the masculine identities of Āryan men. It demonstrates that a fundamental aspect of early Vedic life involves the sustained promotion and embodiment of what it means to be a true man.

Keywords:   man, manhood, masculinity, Agni, Indra, fire, violence, nár, nrnmá, paúmsya

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