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Recreating A Jati

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores how jati was deployed in dual contexts of forging an empowered identity through a quest for a 'new' indigenous history, and connecting the multiple meanings of jati to its overarching nature in a discourse seeking to weld diverse groups, and mediate issues of minorities within and beyond Bengal. It explains concrete expressions of cultural identity and notions of unity which sets the immediate context and forms an ideational prelude for seeing how ideas about identity articulated through a connection between history and jati came to be lodged within the analytic frame of samaj. The chapter focuses on the symmetry and asymmetry between categories such as 'race', 'nation', and 'caste' as they developed in colonial as well as indigenous discourses, and to analyse how the borders of identity and the frontiers of language, religion and locality overlapped and faded off into each other.

Keywords: colonial Bengal; cultural identity; Jati; samaj



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