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Alchemies of Violence
Myths of Identity and the Life of Trade in Western India
Lawrence Babb draws attention to the special problems of self-definition faced by these groups and shows how myth engages these problems by using a distinctive symbolism drawn from the Vedic rite of sacrifice. According, to the author, origin myths utilize sacrifice as a master metaphor for creative power and social order. At a broader level, this book deals with three interrelated themes: the nature of India`s caste system; the special character and specific place of trading castes in Indian society; and the role of myth as a repository of socially important knowledge. A unique feature of this book is that it is based mainly on the literature published by caste and religious associations supplemented by oral material.