Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia

 
Merchants of Virtue Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia by Divya Cherian
Author: 
Published: 
December, 2022
ISBN: 
9780520390058
Publisher: 
University of California Press

Winner of the 2022 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences

Merchants of Virtue explores the question of what it meant to be Hindu in precolonial South Asia. Divya Cherian presents a fine-grained study of everyday life and local politics in the kingdom of Marwar in eighteenth-century western India to uncover how merchants enforced their caste ideals of vegetarianism and bodily austerity as universal markers of Hindu identity. Using legal strategies and alliances with elites, these merchants successfully remade the category of “Hindu,” setting it in contrast to “Untouchable” in a process that reconfigured Hinduism in caste terms. In a history pertinent to understanding India today, Cherian establishes the centrality of caste to the early-modern Hindu self and to its imagination of inadmissible others.

 

Area of Interest: 
Business History
Caste
Criminality and Criminal Justice
Cultural History
Early Modern South Asia
Hinduism
History of Capitalism
History of the State(s)
Islam
Legal History
Political History
Religion
Sensory History
Social History
Period: 
17th & 18th Centuries
Region: 
Asia