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A cruise along the streets of Chennai – or Silicon Valley – filled with professional young Indian men and women, reveals the new face of India. In the twenty-first century, Indians have acquired a new kind of global visibility, one of rapid economic advancement and, in the information technology industry, spectacular prowess.
In this book C.J.Fuller and Haripriya Narasimhan examine one particularly striking group who have taken part in this development: Tamil Brahmans – a formerly traditional, rural, high-caste elite who have transformed themselves into a new middle-class caste in India, the United States, and elsewhere.
C.J. Fuller is emeritus professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics. He is the author of several books, including The Camphor Flame and The Renewal of the Priesthood.
Haripriya Narasimhan is assistant professor of social anthropology and sociology at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad.
Tamil Brahmans is a solid, original work that makes a major contribution to our understanding of a vitally important part of the world and of a unique group of people whose numbers in the US are growing year by year.
“For decades to come, if someone wants to understand the history and sociology of how and with what social effects the Tamil Brahmans have transformed themselves into a middle-class caste, they will read this book. “
Mattison Mines,University of California, Santa Barbara
This book is an indispensible read not just for all those who wish to understand caste formation, mobility and change over the past two centuries, but also for Tamil Brahmans themselves. It will help them rethink the notion that their professional achievements are somehow exceptional and biologically rooted in their caste and see them instead as a product of the opportunities provided by the colonial and postcolonial state.
Nandini Sundar,University of Delhi