ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Where Have all the 'Bhadraloks' Gone?

In colonial times, the term 'bhadralok' was taken to mean primarily upper caste Hindus, with some access to landed property or wealth and with a claim to a liberal education. By the early 20th century, however, socially mobile lower castes were soon staking their claim to the term. Since independence, vertical changes brought on by increased government spending and other associated economic changes, together with the physical expansion of the city have implied further social change, including a continual change in the meaning of the notion - bhadralok. This paper attempts to map this story of change. Its description of the slow transformation of a Calcutta neighbourhood indicates more significant changes in a mode of living and in the belief systems that marked a bhadralok.

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