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

FREE Delivery
Delivery Ships in 1-3 days
Item Code: IDE617
Author: Lawrence A. Babb
Publisher: Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 0761932232
Pages: 254 (B & W Illus: 15)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.7" X 5.7"
Weight 430 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business

Book Description

From the Jacket:

The several trading castes known generically as 'Marwaris' are among the most powerful and wealthy groups in India. While they have spread absorbing book explores their origin myths and the manner in which these myths construct and express their social identities.

Lawrence Babb draws attention to the special problems of self-definition faced by these groups and shows how myth engages these problems by using a distinctive symbolism drawn from the vedic rite of sacrifice. According to the author, origin myths utilize sacrifice as a master metaphor for creative power and social order. The trading castes employ this metaphor as a 'myth model' that explains who they are and how they fit within the social order. At the core of this identity are issues of violence, the social control of violence, and the traders relationship with martial communities. In response to these issues, maintains Professor Babb, myth configures their identity as a rejection of violence in sacrificial rites.

At a broader level, this book deals with three interrelated themes: the nature of India's caste system; the special character and specific place of trading castes in Indian society; and the role of myth as a repository of socially important knowledge. A unique feature of this book is that it is based mainly on the literature published by caste and religious associations supplemented by oral material.

Proposing a novel theory of the role of violence, non-violence and ritual symbolism, this book also provides fresh insights into the fashioning of caste identity. It will be welcomed by sociologists and anthropologists, and particularly those studying caste, society, myth and religion in South Asia.

About the Author:

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: Cultre and Society in the study of Rajasthan (2002) [with Michael Meister and Varsha Joshi].


List of Figures7
A Note on Transliteration9
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Violence and the Ways of Trade
Chapter 3
Sages and Warriors
Chapter 4
Melted Warriors
Chapter 5
Warriors Exiled
Chapter 6
Going Public
Chapter 7
Traders Victorious
About the Author255

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q. What locations do you deliver to ?
    A. Exotic India delivers orders to all countries having diplomatic relations with India.
  • Q. Do you offer free shipping ?
    A. Exotic India offers free shipping on all orders of value of $30 USD or more.
  • Q. Can I return the book?
    A. All returns must be postmarked within seven (7) days of the delivery date. All returned items must be in new and unused condition, with all original tags and labels attached. To know more please view our return policy
  • Q. Do you offer express shipping ?
    A. Yes, we do have a chargeable express shipping facility available. You can select express shipping while checking out on the website.
  • Q. I accidentally entered wrong delivery address, can I change the address ?
    A. Delivery addresses can only be changed only incase the order has not been shipped yet. Incase of an address change, you can reach us at
  • Q. How do I track my order ?
    A. You can track your orders simply entering your order number through here or through your past orders if you are signed in on the website.
  • Q. How can I cancel an order ?
    A. An order can only be cancelled if it has not been shipped. To cancel an order, kindly reach out to us through
Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Book Categories