Gender Equality

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Pinar Gökcin Özuyar, Tony Wall

Gender, Sexuality, and Caste-Based Occupations: A Case Study of the Bedia Community of North India

  • Risha BaruahEmail author
Living reference work entry


“Gender” and “caste” when entwined together are often seen to produce a body of knowledge that floods one with notions of “purity” and “pollution” finding space in the much revered Hindu Shastras (with reference to the views emanating from Yajnavalkya, Satapatha Brahmana, Apastamba Dharmasutra to name a few). One would find the sexual purity of a woman and the factors that can bring impurity and pollution to a caste group in strong conjunction with one another. From a “menstruating virgin” to “widowhood,” the degree of successful regulation of a woman’s sexuality is seen as an indicator of the virility of the male members of the family and a mark of aggressive masculinity without which a man is considered a “na-mard,” a colloquial term in North India for being unmanly.

Caste may be defined “as a small and named group of persons characterized by endogamy, hereditary membership, and a specific style of life which sometimes includes the pursuit by tradition of a particular...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Melissa Haeffner
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Science and ManagementPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA