Beef, Brahmins, and Broken Men: An Annotated Critical Selection from The Untouchables

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Beef, Brahmins, and Broken Men: An Annotated Critical Selection from The Untouchables
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One of twentieth-century India's great polymaths, statesmen, and militant philosophers of equality, B. R. Ambedkar spent his life battling Untouchability and instigating the end of the caste system. In his 1948 book The Untouchables, he sought to trace the origin of Untouchability. Beef, Brahmins, and Broken Men is an annotated selection from this work, produced in a time when the oppression of and discrimination against Dalits remains pervasive.

Ambedkar offers a deductive, and at times a speculative, history to propose a genealogy of Untouchability. He contends that modern-day Dalits are descendants of those Buddhists who were fenced out of caste society and rendered Untouchable by a resurgent Brahminism since the fourth century BCE. The Brahmins, whose Vedic cult originally involved the sacrifice of cows, adapted Buddhist ahimsa and vegetarianism to stigmatize outcaste Buddhists who were consumers of beef. The outcastes were soon relegated to the lowliest of occupations and prohibited from participation in civic life. To unearth this lost history, Ambedkar undertakes a forensic examination of a wide range of Brahminic literature. Heavily annotated with an emphasis on putting Ambedkar and recent scholarship into conversation, Beef, Brahmins, and Broken Men assumes urgency as India witnesses unprecedented violence against Dalits and Muslims in the name of cow protection.

ISBN: 
9780231195850
Author: 
Binding: 
Paperback
Publication Date: 
February 4, 2020