A tale of two temples: an exploration of caste in Cape Town

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dc.contributor.author Gajjar, Neerali
dc.date.accessioned 2016-10-28T08:05:35Z
dc.date.available 2016-10-28T08:05:35Z
dc.date.issued 2016-10-28
dc.identifier.citation Gajjar, Neerali, (2016) A tale of two temples: an exploration of caste in Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,< http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/handle/10539/21301 >
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/21301
dc.description A Dissertation submitted to the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in the fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts in Political Science by research. Johannesburg, January 2016 en_ZA
dc.description.abstract A Tale of Two Temples: An Exploration of Caste addresses the notion of caste in South Africa, specifically among the Gujarati community in Cape Town. Caste within this community has been discussed with regard to the Indian diaspora in general and Natal in South Africa, but there is not a vast amount of literature regarding this phenomenon among Indians in Cape Town. Through the description of a dispute between a caste-based organisation of mochis –those of a leatherworking and cobbler caste- and a non-caste-based organisation predominantly of agricultural patidars over control of the space of worship, the recreation, dynamics and interplay of the caste system are discussed. Louis Dumont’s influential synoptic theory of caste serves as the frame of reference when addressing the system. Dumont focuses on the idea of purity and hierarchy. The system includes four varnas or classes, which are positioned along a pure-to-impure hierarchy. In Cape Town, this hierarchy is not entirely recreated; all four varnas are not represented. Instead patidars or agriculturalists have claimed to be of high status, which is normally attributed to a Brahmin or clerical caste, and have asserted themselves as the reference group for other castes. They perceive the mochis to be of low caste. The mochis have not accepted this and through the influence of the Arya Samaj, they have recreated a new historical narrative classifying themselves as high caste. This new narrative and the empowerment of the mochis created a conflict that escalated as a result of apartheid’s Group Areas Act, which legally enforced racially segregated residential areas. This conflict provides insight into the recreation of caste in Cape Town. Keywords and Terms Cape Town, Caste, Diaspora, Dumont, Durban, Fiji, Gujarati, Indenture, Indian Diaspora, Johannesburg, Migration, South Africa, Trinidad en_ZA
dc.format.extent Online resource (111 leaves)
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.subject.lcsh Gujaratis (Indic people)
dc.subject.lcsh Asians--South Africa
dc.subject.lcsh Asians--South Africa--Politics and government
dc.subject.lcsh South Africa--Race relations
dc.title A tale of two temples: an exploration of caste in Cape Town en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA
dc.description.librarian MT2016 en_ZA

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