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Casting KingsBards and Indian Modernity$
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Jeffrey G. Snodgrass

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195304343

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195304349.001.0001

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Cast of Characters

Cast of Characters

Setting the Rajasthani Stage

(p.41) 2 Cast of Characters
Casting Kings

Jeffrey G. Snodgrass (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter further describes the context of the author’s participant-observation fieldwork situation in the towns of Udaipur and Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It also presents the scholarly understandings of South Asian society that ground the book’s arguments. It is demonstrated how changes in caste relations in the modern colonial and postcolonial periods, and especially the decline in importance of elite bardic communities, provided the author’s Bhat informants with opportunities to remake their caste identity in the particular manner explored in the pages of this book. This chapter takes pains to demonstrate continuities of experience between the formerly untouchable Bhats and other low status Dalit (“oppressed”) communities. The remainder of the book, however, points to the distinctive manner than Bhats, as low status bards participating in a declining village exchange economy referred to as jajmani, take advantage of changing historical contexts to rework themselves and the institution of caste in ways unique to this community of performers.

Keywords:   participant-observation, Rajasthan, caste, colonialism, postcolonialism, bards, modernity, Dalits, Untouchables

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