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Caste and Capitalism in Colonial India

Caste and Capitalism in Colonial India

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Published by 120shal
Histories about Nagarathars and Chettiars.
Histories about Nagarathars and Chettiars.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: 120shal on Sep 28, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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When not describing Nakarattar business practice and social organization, much of this book engages friends and colleagues in a conversation about the nature (or natures) of Indiansociety. I acknowledge my debt to a wide range of scholars in the context of this discussion.But I would like to make special acknowledgment to a few individuals and institutionswithout which this book could not have been written. First of all, I wish to thank all myfriends in India for hospitality and help in a project that they must long since have despairedof seeing in print. In Madurai, I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Sv. Arunachalam,Mr. and Mrs. Al. Periyan-nan Shunmugum, Mr. and Mrs. S. Sundaramurthi, Mr. and Mrs. M.Vaidyalingam, Mr. and Mrs. M. Salim, R. Ramamurthy, P. Karuthammal, V. Somasundaram,and V. Narayanan. In Madras, I was greatly helped by Dr. K. M. and Debbie Thiagarajan andby M. V. Subbiah. It is impossible for me to name all the Nakarattars who extendedhospitality to me in Chettinad. None of my work would have been possible without my Tamilteachers and guides, V. S. Rajam (who tried to teach my tongue to dance at the University of Pennsylvania), K. Paramasivam, Muthu Chidambaram, V. Vijayavenugopal, V. Saraswathiand Raja Sekhar, who tried not to wince in Madurai. Much of my understanding of Nakarattar ritual comes from S. S. Sundaram Chettiar, a visionary poet and orator as well asaccountant. I owe my systematic view of Nakarattar history and social organization to myprincipal informant, S. M. L. Lakshmanan Chettiar (Somalay). I deeply regret that he did notlive to see the effort he expended on my behalf repaid by publication of this book. My fieldwork was made possible by language and junior fellowships from the American Institute of Indian
 Studies between 1979 and 1981. The Social Science Research Council provided me with thefunds and the opportunity to explore the India Office Library and reflect more deeply aboutmy research in 1986
87. By a stroke of good fortune, Peter Nabokov (whose past researchfocuses more on American Indians than Asian Indians) visited India in 1991. Peter fell inlove with the vernacular architecture of Chettinad. On his return to America, he read mydoctoral dissertation, contacted me, and allowed me to see his beautiful photographs of Chettinad houses and temples. Some of them now grace this book. I look forward to seeingthe results of his further researches into Chettinad architecture. Finally, I would like tomention the following special friends who never gave up on me and who never lost anopportunity to ask if I was ever going to finish: Arjun Appadurai, Chris Bayly, CarolBreckenridge, Val Daniel, Nick Dirks, Chris Fuller, Doug Haynes, Jim Heitzman, StephenInglis, John Loud, David Ludden, Johnny Parry, Lee Schlesinger, Burt Stein, and DavidWashbrook. For the last decade, you have made up my intellectual family, enriched mythoughts, and sustained my vocation.

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