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The Pariah Problem – Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India - Columbia Scholarship Online
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The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India

Rupa Viswanath


Once known as “Pariahs,” Dalits are primarily descendants of unfree agrarian laborers. They belong to India’s most subordinated castes, face overwhelming poverty and discrimination, and provoke public anxiety. Drawing on a wealth of previously untapped sources, this book follows the conception and evolution of the “Pariah Problem” in public consciousness in the 1890s. It shows how high-caste landlords, state officials, and well-intentioned missionaries conceived of Dalit oppression, and effectively foreclosed the emergence of substantive solutions to the “Problem”—with consequences that contin ... More

Keywords: Pariahs, Dalits, unfree agrarian laborers, castes, public anxiety, poverty, discrimination, Indian slavery

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780231163064
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231163064.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Rupa Viswanath, author
University of Goettingen