• A Brahmin Woman

John Stratton Hawley and Vasudha Narayanan

in The Life of Hinduism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780520249134
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940079 | DOI:
• A Brahmin Woman

Show Summary Details


This chapter fictionalizes a celebrated nineteenth-century event that vividly dramatized the costs of being a Nambudiri Brahmin woman. The Nambudiris of Kerala, at least in their own perception, occupy the very highest rungs of the ladder of caste, and, until the early twentieth century, maintained their eminence in large part through the control of women. Marriage was strictly confined to the Nambudiri fold, and a Nambudiri woman's sexuality was closely watched. The discussion notes that, in many communities, a woman's most important deity is her husband, which has led some observers to urge that such a story actually concerns two castes: Brahmins and women.

Keywords: caste; Nambudiri Brahmin woman; Nambudiri woman's sexuality; Kerala

Chapter.  4619 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.