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House, but No GardenApartment Living in Bombay's Suburbs, 1898-1964$
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Nikhil Rao

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816678129

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816678129.001.0001

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From Southern Indians to “South Indians”

From Southern Indians to “South Indians”

(p.171) 5 From Southern Indians to “South Indians”
House, but No Garden

Nikhil Rao

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter investigates the constitution of South Indian identity. “South Indian” was a highly fluid and novel category that was generated in the context of Matunga’s residents’ efforts to consolidate themselves as a community in the context of Bombay and the subsequent redrawing of boundaries of inclusion and exclusion. Certain economic and political conditions have generated a need for the better understanding and differentiation of social structures among the South Indians of Matunga, yet at the same time these efforts inadvertently created more social distinctions between residents. This meant that, aside from the usual social divisions of caste and subcaste, certain residents counted as either “South Indians” or not depending on where they lived and how they acquired resources. For example, Christians from Kerala could sometimes count as South Indian, while most residents of Dharavi—who were primarily from southern India—were never considered “South Indians.”

Keywords:   South Indians, caste, subcaste, South Indian identity, Matunga, social distinctions, social structures

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