Identity, Gender, and Poverty: New Perspectives on Caste and Tribe in Rajasthan

Identity, Gender, and Poverty: New Perspectives on Caste and Tribe in Rajasthan

Identity, Gender, and Poverty: New Perspectives on Caste and Tribe in Rajasthan

Identity, Gender, and Poverty: New Perspectives on Caste and Tribe in Rajasthan

Synopsis

After studying the poor tribal community of the Girasia in the North West of India the author concludes that the consensus opinion of caste and tribal categorisation is not valid and is a construct of outsiders, mostly academics.

Excerpt

In the previous two chapters I outlined the historical nature of Girasia marginality and the outsiders' constructions of Girasia identity. in this chapter I turn towards understanding Taivar Girasia views on what it means to be a Girasia. in conversations, members of the Girasia community continuously evaluated other Girasia men and women in terms of the two contrasting, yet interrelated social institutions of descent (relationships of one's own patrilineage), and marriage (relationships with other patrilineages). the Girasia evaluations were always made with reference to the 'village' or space occupied, owned and associated with a specific lineage and descent. the village was called the kaka-baba-re, meaning place of the father's brothers. It was also known as the piyar or natal village and huhara or affinal village. the village in spatial and genealogical terms was thus associated with men and provided a map of male social relations. Women were less visible in the language and images of lineal kinship but through their change of residence at marriage created realationships beyond the village and linked specific villages across the region. Despite an inability to read or write, an isolation from the media and a general ignorance of national affairs, the Taivar Girasia were extremely well informed about the members of their community in other Girasia villages of the region. the main channels for the flow of personal information were the connections established through marriage among . . .

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