Constructing the Colonial Encounter: Right and Left Hand Castes in Early Colonial South India

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Psychology Press, 1999 - History - 280 pages
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This book offers a systematic analysis of the violent clashes between the South Indian 'right' and 'left' hand caste divisions that repeatedly rocked the European settlements on the Coromandel Coast in the early colonial period. Whereas the Indian population expected the colonial authorities to intervene in the disputes, the Europeans were reluctant to get involved in conflicts which they barely understood. In the nineteenth century the significance of the divisions diminished, a development that has long puzzled historians and anthropologists. In addition, this study addresses the larger issue of the nature of colonial encounters. The rich material relating to these disputes convincingly demonstrates how Europeans and Indians, as they sought to incorporate each other into their own social structure and conceptual universe, participated in a dialogue on the nature of South Indian society.
  

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Contents

a Dynamic Interpretation
17
Indigenous Leaders Competing
58
Caste Disputes in an Expanding
81
Suppremannia Chettis Challenge
103
Unsettled Authority
125
Caste Disputes in theCapital of Kingdoms
139
Caste Disputes in a NineteenthCentury
188
Caste Disputes under Judicial
220
Conclusion
239
Castes and Caste Names
255
Index
272
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