Caste, Conflict and Ideology: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Low by Rosalind O'Hanlon

By Rosalind O'Hanlon

The 19th century observed the start of a violent and arguable flow of protest among western India's low and untouchable castes, geared toward the results in their lowly place in the Hindu caste hierarchy. The leaders of this circulate have been confident that non secular hierarchies had mixed with the consequences of British colonial rule to supply inequality and injustice in lots of fields, from faith to politics and schooling. This research concentrates at the first chief of this circulation, Mahatma Jotirao Phule. It exhibits him as its first ideologist, figuring out a special model of radical humanism. It analyses his contribution to at least one of an important and ignored social advancements in western India during this interval - the formation of a brand new nearby identification. This means of id formation is studied opposed to the historical past of the sooner background of caste relatives during this quarter of India, and contributes vital facts in regards to the courting among ritual prestige and political power.The circulation itself presents a desirable instance of early 3rd global radicalism, illustrating the function of ideology and faith within the fight opposed to British colonial energy.

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In the interchange recorded here, Pratapsinh's de facto power to appoint and dismiss priests was balanced against his extraordinary dependence on the Brahman priest for the most basic explanation of what ritual would be appropriate for the Bhosale family. The Brahman, Valimbe, clearly regarded ritual as a matter of negotiation, bearing upon his relationship with the Chatrapati and his fellow Brahmans: The Bhatji said that the matter of Vedic ritual had been decided. Rites from the Yajurveda are those proper to Kshatriyas, and those are the custom in Udepur, and should therefore be in use amongst our caste in Satara.

In 1819-20, emissaries were given a letter from Grant Duff and sent to Udepur to obtain information about the usages of the Kshatriya castes of Rajputana, and to ask how information might be found about the genealogical connection between the houses of Udepur and Satara, upon which the Bhosale claim to Kshatriya status had been founded at the time of Shivaji. The emissaries informed Pratapsinh that Ranaji, the Maharaja of Udepur, had been unable to give them any detailed information, but confirmed 42 I have taken my material for this dispute from the diaries of Pratapsinh, which have been published as part of the Selections from the Peshwa Daftar, and from an account of the affair written much later, in 1905, from the perspective of the controversy over ritual then current in Kolhapur, by Mahadev Ganesh Dongare.

Briggs himself realised that Pratapsinh's sense of his importance as Chatrapati could have been raised in this way, and that this may have had something to do with his later sense of grievance at the limitation of his jurisdiction by the treaty of 1819: Before the Rajah and his family fell into our hands, on the capture of Sattara by our troops, Mr Elphinstone ordered the British flag, which was at first hoisted, to be hauled down, and the flag of the Rajah displayed, and by proclamation, and in other forms intended to attract and conciliate the Mahratta chiefs, implied that the claims to federal supremacy of the Rajah of Sattara were more legitimate than those of the usurping Peishwa, whom we denounced and proscribed.

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