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Practicing CasteOn Touching and Not Touching$
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Aniket Jaaware

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823282265

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823282265.001.0001

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Touch and Texts

Touch and Texts

Ancient and Modern

(p.119) 5 Touch and Texts
Practicing Caste

Aniket Jaaware

Fordham University Press

This chapter assesses how classical texts function in society and how the textuality of visual markers of caste operated in earlier periods. It also considers modern texts, concentrating on Maharashtra. It might seem that narratives such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata actually connect caste-societies, since these narratives are part of the textual fabric of the totality of caste-societies, though they change and are disseminated in a variety of ways. However, the textual operation of these narratives is more complicated, since these often serve as moral texts from which one is supposed to derive one's own morality. Indeed, it is not easy to estimate the social power and behavioral efficacy of these narratives, but it is clear that they circulated widely and informed the moral universe of most parts of caste-societies. The other feature of the place of texts in ancient and modern societies is their authority by the fact of being texts.

Keywords:   classical texts, visual markers, modern texts, Maharashtra, caste-societies, moral texts, authority, Ramayana, Mahabharata

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