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Kinship has been a central concern of anthropology for more than a century. As a key element in the organization of every human society, kinship is also a major source of the principles that guide people in the other spheres of life. Ronald B. Inden, a historian of India, and Ralph W. Nicholas, an anthropologist who has studied contemporary Bengali culture and society, have joined complementary skills to analyze the kinship system of a major human society that possesses an ancient, literate civilization and a tradition of analytical thought. The re-publication of this book is intended as a contribution to the dialogue of cultures that has developed in the twenty-first century. Kinship in this book is approached through the categories and meanings provided by Bengali culture. The authors identify a single coherent pattern of cultural premises that lie behind the kinship categories of Bengal, and other regions of India as well. They interpret the samskara rites, including the marriage ceremony, and show how the terms used to address and describe relatives are related to the kinship categories and how these categories are transformed by marriage. Based on years of field research in Bengal as well as Sanskrit and Bengali texts, Kinship in Bengali Culture provides a culturally sensitive approach to the study of kinship and of symbolic systems.