Including Dogs, Horses, Cows, Dalits and Women: An Alternative Narrative of the HindusDoniger, Wendy - University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Palmer Commons - Forum Hall
How does one go about telling the story of the Hindus by including the maverick as well as the mainstream Hindus in the story? The ancient Sanskrit texts, usually dismissed as the work of dead Brahmin males, in fact reveal a great deal about women and the lower castes, often very sympathetic to them, and sometimes masked by narratives about dogs (standing for the people now generally called Dalits, formerly called Untouchables), cows (standing for women, but also for Brahmins of any gender), and horses (standing for the feared but admired warrior castes as well as the foreign conquerors of India, particularly the Muslims). Tracing these stories through the centuries, we can see how the attitudes to these marginalized groups constantly shifted.
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