Untouchable Pasts

Untouchable Pasts

Product ID: 15274

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Author: Saurabh Dube
Publisher: Sage Publications
Year: 2001
Language: English
Pages: 328
ISBN/UPC (if available): 078290413


UNTOUCHABLE PASTS constructs an anthropological history of an unusual community over the last two hundred years. The Satnamis of central India have combined the features of a caste and a sect to question and challenge the tenor of ritual power that variously defines Hinduism. Combining archival and field work, the book presents an interpretive account of Satnami endeavours, encounters, and experiences – the ethnographic pasts of a numerous community that continues to be a significant presence in the newly constituted state of Chhattisgarh.

The book brings together recent analytical departures and significant critical developments within contemporary scholarship in history, anthropology and sociology. By casting these theoretical tendencies in a critical dialogue with one another, the book thinks through some of those overriding oppositions that have formed the conceptual core of social thought and political enquiry in both Western and non-Western contexts.


Saurabh Dube tracks the history of the Satnamis of Central India, a sect born of the Chamars of Chhattisgarh, over the last 200 years. [The author] gleans meanings from the margins that can raise important questions for central themes in South Asian history.
-The Indian Express

A classic of methodology and description.
-Eleanor Zelliot in Dalit International Newsletter

Untouchable Pasts is an outstanding accomplishment of scholarship and a compelling read.
-The Telegraph




The Making of Satnampanth, 1780-1850
Malguzars, Gurus, and Missionaries, 1850-1900
Satnamis in Village Life, 1900-1950
A Contested Past: The Myths of Satnampanth
Reform and Authority: The Satnami Mahasabha, 1925-1950
Contending Histories: Old Stories and New Pasts