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Beastly encounters of the RajLivelihoods, livestock and veterinary health in India, 1790-1920$
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Saurabh Mishra

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089725

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089725.001.0001

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Cattle poisoning and the Chamar identity

Cattle poisoning and the Chamar identity

(p.123) Chapter Six Cattle poisoning and the Chamar identity
Beastly encounters of the Raj

Saurabh Mishra

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores colonial representations of the crime of cattle poisoning and uses it as a starting point to investigate questions related to the formation of Chamar identity. Starting from the 1850s, it looks at the process whereby the caste group was imbued with certain undesirable traits of character. Simultaneously, it also explores the larger trend towards fixing the caste with certain occupational traits, so that it began to be identified completely with leather work by late nineteenth century. The role of new specialisms such as Ethnography, Toxicology and medical jurisprudence in the formation of new definitions about Chamars is also highlighted. The overall aim of the chapter is to reveal the complexities involved in the formation of colonial discourse about caste and caste groups

Keywords:   Chamar, caste, leather, agriculture, crime, poisoning, jurisprudence, stereotypes

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