Chapter 2 discusses how the idea of a caste system of India came about, tracing it back to Christian theological accounts of India, their development in Orientalist accounts during the colonial period and subsequent secularization in social science. It discusses how caste was linked to Hinduism in Protestant accounts of Indian religion, and to the Aryan invasion theory. Together these ideas provided the framework to view Indian social structure as caste ridden, morally corrupt and racist. It goes on to explain the premises behind the Indian legislation on caste and how these ideas have filtered into current British discourse, explaining how the Christian-Orientalist account retains contemporary salience, and provides a justification for continued Christian proselytism in India. The seemingly contradictory role of the National Secular Society, which took a stand in favour of the caste provision, is explored.


Vested Interest Indian Society Caste System Indian Culture Common Debate 
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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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