Chapter

• 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520249134.003.0015
• A Brahmin Woman

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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

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