Chapter 1 is a general introduction to the book and outlines the main issues. It discusses the intellectual context of Orientalist domination of knowledge on India and the caste system, in particular, why it has been difficult to formulate alternatives to Orientalist knowledge and why ‘colonial consciousness’ persists among Indian intellectuals despite formal decolonization. It argues that this is partly why Indian intellectuals have failed to produce critiques of the Orientalist constructions such as the caste system, which now affects Indians in the diaspora through legislation such as the Equality Act. It provides illustrations of how the spectre of a violent sacerdotal core to Indian religion lies at the pre-theoretical root of ideas about the caste system. It suggests that there is a strong ground within Western culture upon which ideas of the caste system can be successfully built to produce campaigns and legislation. The chapter provides a brief outline of the succeeding chapters.


Caste System Indian Culture Indian Community Indian Tradition Lower Caste 
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Copyright information

© Prakash Shah 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prakash Shah
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen MaryUniversity of LondonUK

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