Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia (South Asia Across the Disciplines) (Paperback)

Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia (South Asia Across the Disciplines) By Divya Cherian Cover Image

Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia (South Asia Across the Disciplines) (Paperback)

$34.95


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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.
Divya Cherian is Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University.
Product Details ISBN: 9780520390058
ISBN-10: 0520390059
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: December 27th, 2022
Pages: 284
Language: English
Series: South Asia Across the Disciplines
"Divya Cherian’s Merchants of Virtue is a vibrant and engaging intervention in the historiography of South Asia and caste history. Its strong arguments, rich analysis of historical sources, and careful scholarship will prove stimulating for scholars of South Asia, South Asian religions, history, the social sciences, and archival studies."
— Reading Religion