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Upward mobility in a forgotten tribe

Notes on the "creamy layer" problem

Megan Moodie

Public discussions of recent demands by the Gujjars of Rajasthan, India, for inclusion on the list of the state's affirmative action beneficiaries have often veered away from the legitimacy of their claims and toward whether elite Gujjar leaders can speak for less educated and less affluent community members. This article examines how this latter set of questions-often described as the “creamy layer“ problem in reference to a group's elite who have “risen to the top“ and need to be “skimmed off“-can obscure the real workings of affirmative action on the ground and the limitations encountered by groups seeking upward mobility. Ethnographic research with the Dhanka tribe reveals deep concerns that upwardly mobile groups are in danger of downward mobility without the protection of affirmative action-based hiring practices, and that middle class elites within the tribe can be important political advocates for others within the community.

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Where Is the Public Sphere?

Political Communications and the Morality of Disclosure in Rural Rajasthan

Anastasia Piliavsky

The public sphere has been centre stage in celebrations of India's political triumphs. Leading commentators tell us that the astonishing post-independence surge of democracy has been contingent on the rise of a new kind of sociopolitical formation: the public sphere. This article takes a closer look at the popular deliberative terrain in North India to question this claim. Drawing on research conducted in a provincial town in the North Indian state of Rajasthan, we see that where metropolitan political theorists see 'transparency' as promoting discursive and political possibilities, Rajasthani villagers see an exposure which prevents expression, communication and the making of political choices. In their view, it is secrecy and social seclusion that enable political interactions and elicit political judgments. 'The public sphere' is an unfit heuristic for locating popular politics within (and beyond) Rajasthan, where it obscures much more than it reveals.

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Spiritual Beliefs and Ecological Traditions in Indigenous Communities in India

Enhancing Community-Based Biodiversity Conservation

Maria Costanza Torri and Thora Martina Herrmann


From time immemorial, local and indigenous communities in India have developed traditions, representations, and beliefs about the forest and biodiversity. The cultural practices and beliefs of a community play a significant role in enhancing community-based initiatives, particularly in achieving sustainability in the long term. Nevertheless, too often conservation policies do not take into consideration the link between the culture of local communities and their environment. A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between cultural traditions and practices related to biodiversity and their current status and manifestations is crucial to the concept of effective and sustainable conservation policy. This article examines the traditional practices of the communities in the Sariska region (Rajasthan, India) as well as their beliefs and their values, underlining the special relationship that these tribal and indigenous communities maintain with the forest and their usefulness in community-based conservation. Some conclusive remarks on the importance of adapting conservation approaches to local cultural representations of the environment will be drawn.

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Ann Grodzins Gold

Ann Grodzins Gold, Bhrigupati Singh, Farhana Ibrahim, Edward Simpson, and Kirin Narayan

evidently charted by experiences of my pre-academic life. After that, my projects large and small framed themselves in response to shifting combinations of what I encountered in one Rajasthan village in North India and what I heard around me at conferences

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Narratives, Ontologies, Entanglements, and Iconoclasms

Sondra L. Hausner, Simon Coleman, and Ruy Llera Blanes

, illustrating further Gold’s capacity to write Rajasthan into the anthropological canon, along with her poignant reflections on the nature of fieldwork, the ways in which texts and people speak to one another, and the nature of religion as lived on the ground

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The Art of Doubting

A Jewish Perspective

Danny Rich

-century synagogue and experiencing the backwaters of Kerala. Thereafter, flights to the traffic of Mumbai and the smog of Delhi before a six-day trip to Rajasthan, including Jaipur and the Taj Mahal, one more internal flight to the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the

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“Real, practical emancipation”?

Subaltern politics and insurgent citizenship in contemporary India

Alf Gunvald Nilsen

multiple subgroups such as Bhilalas, Barelas, and Naiks, the Bhils inhabit the largely hilly regions of northwestern Maharashtra, eastern Gujarat, southern Rajasthan, and western Madhya Pradesh. For the sake of simplicity, I use the term Bhil Adivasis to

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Bernard Faye

, C. , Faye , B. , Moulin , C. H. and Kohler-Rollefson , I. ( 2008 ), ‘ A Typology of the Camel Keepers in the Jaisalmer District, Rajasthan, India ’, Journal of Camel Practice and Research 15 , no 2 : 231 – 238 . Bengoumi , M. and Faye

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Pushkar Sohoni

bringing the men was to establish an initial cadre of skilled camel men, who would then train others. 11 The men would be known as Afghans or Ghans, but in reality they probably came from a much wider geographical area, including Rajasthan, Kashmir

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Kenneth Bo Nielsen

disclosure in rural Rajasthan . Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 31 ( 2 ): 104 – 122 . 10.3167/ca.2013.310207 Roy , Dayabati . 2014 . Rural politics in India . Delhi : Cambridge University Press . Rudolph , Lloyd I. , and Susanne H. Rudolph