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An Unholy Brew – Alcohol in Indian History and Religions - Oxford Scholarship Online
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An Unholy Brew: Alcohol in Indian History and Religions

James McHugh


An Unholy Brew is the first book on alcohol in premodern India. Using a wide range of sources from the Vedas to the Kāmasūtra, the book explores the drinks, styles of drinking, and sophisticated theories of abstinence found in South Asia from our earliest Sanskrit written records through the second millennium CE. It begins with the intoxicating drinks people devised over the centuries, made from grains, sugars, fruits, and herbs. Texts describe a number of types of drinking: public drinking at the brewery-tavern, and at festivals and weddings. Poetic texts depict elite drinking, often in an er ... More

Keywords: India, South Asia, history, religion, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, alcohol, drugs, Sanskrit

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780199375936
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2021 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199375936.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

James McHugh, author
Associate Professor, University of Southern California