This article is a revised version of a paper presented at the Imperial History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, 17 Oct. 2005. It was awarded the Pollard Prize in 2006. The author gratefully acknowledges the Sutasoma Trust for supporting revisions and research, undertaken as a Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge in 2006–7.
Spiritual slavery, material malaise: ‘untouchables’ and religious neutrality in colonial south India*
Article first published online: 16 MAR 2008
© Institute of Historical Research 2008
Volume 83, Issue 219, pages 124–145, February 2010
How to Cite
Viswanath, R. (2010), Spiritual slavery, material malaise: ‘untouchables’ and religious neutrality in colonial south India. Historical Research, 83: 124–145. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2281.2008.00464.x
- Issue published online: 15 DEC 2009
- Article first published online: 16 MAR 2008
The policy of religious neutrality in colonial India, the forebear of post-colonial secularism, was radically reshaped in the process of implementing governmental welfare measures directed at ‘untouchable’ Pariahs. This article reveals how caste came to be understood as a matter of religion – and therefore outside the purview of legitimate state intervention – in a series of conflicts involving state agents, European missionaries, Indian landlords and Pariah agricultural servants in late nineteenth-century Madras Presidency.