Social History of an Indian Caste: The Kayasths of Hyderabad (Third Edition)
Karen Isaksen Leonard
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

This book is a historical study of the Kayasths of Hyderabad, who have adapted their occupational patterns and marriage alliances to changing political and economic conditions over 200 years.

From the turbulent military campaigns of the eighteenth century to the bureaucratic modernization of the twentieth, the Kayasths have employed diverse strategies to serve Hyderabad State. The book traces the structural relationships among some 320 patrilineages, combining genealogical reconstructions with extensive research in private and official archives. The changing occupational, kinship, and marriage patterns challenge many assumptions about caste, class, and social mobility in Indian society, revising the traditional belief that social mobility in India is significantly different from that in other systems of social stratification. The extent to which Brahmanical ideas of inheritance and marriage regulations influenced behavior is also questioned.

The Epilogue to this third edition documents the recent changes and developments in the Mathur subcaste, tracing its movement from a cosmopolitan post-Mughal world to a cosmopolitan and global English-speaking world in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.

Social History of an Indian Caste will interest students and scholars of anthropology, sociology, political science and history.

Karen Isaksen Leonard has published on the history and culture of India, especially the former Hyderabad State, and on Asian American and Muslim American history and culture. She retired in 2014, after chairing the Anthropology department at the University of California, Irvine.

List of Figures, Tables, and Maps
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition 
Transliteration and Abbreviations 

Part One: The Nizam Under Siege
1. The Administration of a Military Regime 
2. Kayasth Families and Marriage Alliances

Part Two: Consolidation of the Mughlai Civil Service
3. Power to the Recordkeepers 
4. Building a Mathur Subcaste 
5. Saksenas and Bhatnagars: Kin Groups and Positions 
6. Gaurs and Srivastavas: Other Adaptations

Part Three: Establishment of the Modern Administration
7. The Changing Environment of the Late Nineteenth Century 
8. Asthana and Srivastava Immigrants in Modern Professions 
9. Diversification Among the Mathurs 
10. Kayasths in Decline 
11. Kayasth Participation in Public Life

Part Four: Incorporation into India
12. The Kayasths and Twentieth-Century Political Developments 
13. Changing Educational and Occupational Patterns 
14. New Patterns of Leadership and Authority 
15. Beyond Caste Boundaries 
16. Conclusion: Beyond Caste

A. Summary of Information Collected about the Hyderabad Kayasths 
B. The Mughlai Household Administration 
C. Hamzulf Among Saksenas 
D. Legendary Kayasths of Shahalibanda 
E. Suratval Genealogies 
F. Outmarriage by Subcastes

Cosmopolitan Worlds Lost and Found: The Reorientation of Hyderabad’s Mathur Kayasths


Release Date : 05-Mar-2020 Venue : Vidyaranya High School
1. A peek into the history of Kayasths | Telangana Today, 18 March 2020.
2. Social History of an Indian Caste Book Launch at Vidyaranya School | You & I Monthly Magazine, 11 March 2020.
3. Reviving the history: Kayasthas in Hyderabad | The New Indian Express, March 07, 2020.
4. Kayasths form integral part of Hyderabad’s composite landscape | The Siasat Daily, March 06, 2020.
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