Alchemies of Violence: Myths of Identity and the Life of Trade in Western India

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Lawrence A. Babb

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    A Note on Transliteration

    I have given most Indic terms in italics with standard diacritical marks. I have not italicised proper names and titles. I have provided diacritical marks for the names of authors of Hindi materials and names appearing in Hindi writings or discourse. I have not used diacritics on place names appearing in standard English-language maps and have used standard English spellings for these. I have, however, given the names of more obscure locations with diacritics. With some exceptions, the criterion on which I have based this judgement is whether or not a given term appears in The Rajasthan Road Atlas (Arya and Arya 1997). In keeping with the vernacular character of this study's subject, I have privileged the Hindi as opposed to Sanskrit versions of most terms where there is a choice to be made (thus, TirthaṄkar as opposed to TirthaṄkara and dān as opposed to dāna), but have kept the Sanskrit ending in the case of terms most familiar in that form (such as Śaiva or karma).

    Acknowledgements

    The research on which this book is based took place, sometimes episodically, over period of several years. The bulk of the research was done was in Jaipur from August 1996 to May 1997 and was supported by an American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Research Fellowship. Additional material (appearing in portions of Chapters Two, Three and Five) was gathered during the spring of 1998 while engaged in a collaborative research project on the temple complexes at Goṭh-Mānglod (Dadhimatī) and Osian conducted with John E. Cort and Michael W. Meister and supported by the J. Paul Getty Trust. I would like to thank my Getty colleagues whose fellowship and intellectual stimulation have added to this book in many ways and at many levels. Amherst College Faculty Fellowships supported brief visits to Rajasthan in 2000 and 2002. I would like to thank Dr R. C. Swarankar and the Department of Anthropology, University of Rajasthan, for institutional hospitality in 1996–97 and the Institute for Rajasthan Studies and its then Director, the late Professor Rajendra Joshi, for providing an institutional base for the Getty project.

    The individuals who assisted me in the course of this lengthy investigation are far too many for all to be singled out by name, but some deserve special mention. For assistance and kindnesses of various kinds I am grateful to Ashok Bhandari, M. C. Khandelval, Gyan Chandra Khinduka, Jyoti Kothari, Fateh and Indu Singh, Rajendra Shrimal and Ranbir Sinh. Radhe Shyam Dhoot and I explored Khandela and Lohargal together—a happy memory for both of us—and he assisted my investigations in many other important ways. Mukund Lath and Rajendra Joshi were sources of valuable advice and intellectual stimulation throughout the period of research. Vivek Bhandari took the time to give me a valuable critical reading of a portion of the manuscript. John Cort, companion in the field and critical reader of this manuscript, is the very model of what a colleague should be: interested, always willing to lend a hand, and the sharpest of critics. Surendra Bothara is a friend and colleague whose helping hand, warm support, and invaluable advice have long been indispensable to my work in Jaipur, and the Bothara family has been my family away from home. To all of the above I am deeply grateful. To these expressions of gratitude, however, I must append the declaration that all errors of fact and interpretation in this book are my responsibility alone.

    I would also like to thank the editors of Contributions to Indian Sociology and International Journal of Hindu Studies for permission to include reworked materials from two previous articles of mine (Babb 1998 and 1999 respectively).

    My wife, Nancy, supports my endeavours in too many ways to describe. For her patience and so much else, my thanks indeed.

    Figure 1 Rajasthan with selected locations.

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    About the Author

    Dr Lawrence A. Babb is currently Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at Amherst College, Massachusetts, where he has spent most of his career. His previous books are—The Divine Hierarchy: Popular Hinduism in Central India (1975), Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition (1986) and Absent Lord: Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture (1996). He has also co-edited Media and The Transformation of Religion in South Asia (1995) [with Susan S. Wadley] and Multiple Histories: Culture and Society in the Study of Rajasthan (2002) [with Michael Meister and Varsha Joshi].


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