The Pariah Problem

Original price was: ₹599.Current price is: ₹500.

Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India

EverBlue Edition

Rupa Viswanath

  • Number of Pages: 416
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Size: 5.5 x 8.5”
  • ISBN: 9788189059729

A Navayana Everblue 20th anniversary edition

PARIAH IS A CRUEL WORD. Yet most speakers of English know nothing of its brutal history. In this exposé, Rupa Viswanath traces the emergence of what was called the ‘Pariah Problem’: native elites and British colonizers appeared to recognize Dalit servitude publicly for the first time, only to immediately disavow their status as beneficiaries of an agrarian regime that depended on unfree Dalit labor. Landlords, state officials, and well-intentioned missionaries defined Dalit oppression as a matter of religion rather than labour, foreclosing real solutions, even as ordinary Dalit women and men engaged in extraordinary acts of resistance.

Slavery that passed for benign servitude


Rupa Viswanath is Professor at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) at the University of Göttingen, and a Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College at the University of Cambridge.




‘The book has been able to put together a very important story about the struggle of a community, the colonial apathy, the interface with missionaries and an ever-growing assertion of basic human rights’—Business Standard


‘The nexus between dominant castes and the British rulers in dealing with the ‘Pariah Problem’ has been fully exposed’P. Sivakami

'Viswanath challenges the notion of “induced” conversions and the caricatures of Dalit Christians as passive beneficiaries of missionary intervention' —James Taneti

'A brilliant scholarly achievement and a major political intervention … The Pariah Problem is most far-reaching in its implications, and at its devastating best, in documenting the ‘caste–state nexus’ that developed to contain—rather than to solve—this problem and continue to thwart genuine solutions today' —Mrinalini Sinha, University of Michigan

‘Scholarly erudition, lucid exposition’—Arvind Sharma

‘Insightful, ground-breaking’—Journal of Hindu Studies

‘Extraordinary scholarship’—Partha Chatterjee