This volume documents the ethnographies of regionally distinct Dalit and tribal Christian communities, raising new arguments pertaining to the autonomy and distinct identity of these communities in adverse social set-ups.

Stressing upon the plurality of identities, the essays reject the idea of determining these exclusively on the basis of religion. They also chart the multiple levels of marginality experienced by both Dalit and tribal Christians and analyze how these groups negotiate their former religious faith and practices with Christianity.

The book is a response to the urgent need for such studies in social science writings brought to the fore by contemporary political challenges and struggles facing these communities in various parts of India.

The Broken Mirror: John Masih's Journey from Isai to Dalit

The Broken Mirror: John Masih's Journey from Isai to Dalit

The broken mirror: John Masih's journey from Isai to Dalit
Matthew N.Schmalz

Tall Tales

The true saint is detached from all ambition but still lives in the world.

John Masih, aphorism number eight.

In the north Indian village of Shantinagar, they often tell a story about John Masih. John was a Catholic convert from the untouchable Chamar caste of tanners and, in his early teens, was studying at the local mission's Hindi medium school.1 Discipline was strict and students were limited to one and a half meals a day because funds were low. But John Masih felt that this was nothing more than stinginess since the mission had its own wheat fields and water buffaloes. The lack of curds John ...

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