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Swaminarayan HinduismTradition, Adaptation, and Identity$
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Raymond Brady Williams and Yogi Trivedi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463749.001.0001

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The Swaminarayan Ideology and Kolis in Gujarat

The Swaminarayan Ideology and Kolis in Gujarat

(p.94) 5 The Swaminarayan Ideology and Kolis in Gujarat
Swaminarayan Hinduism

Vibhuti Parikh

Oxford University Press

Political and economic changes in the nineteenth century created new opportunities for various social groups, including individuals at the lower levels of the caste scale. Swaminarayan teachings provided the ideological base to this kind of upward mobility thereby redefining social identity. Prominent among the new adherents were the Kolis of Gujarat, for whom the new ideology served as a medium to re-enter the social mainstream from whence they had been pushed out earlier and to focus their energies towards more honest and industrious pursuits. The Kolis present an interesting case study, and this chapter critically examines the changing profile of the Kolis in Gujarat against the backdrop of the Swaminarayan doctrine.

Keywords:   Kolis, caste, Swaminarayan doctrine, BAPS, social reform, nineteenth century, social identity, tribal

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