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Abstract

Abstract The Caste System stratifies Indian society into a hierarchy where the upper caste groups such as Brahmins have more power and privileges over those belonging to lower castes. The Banias are an upper caste trading community who have been the biggest supporting allies of the Brahmins in maintaining the caste order. Within the community, the Bania women play the role of tradable commodities used to cement kinship ties between families and forge credit crucial to business expansionism. While Bania women are controlled by Bania patriarchy in regard to their social and reproductive agency, they are active participants in reinforcing the caste system that benefits upper caste women for their caste status. This paper aims to investigate the role of young, upper class, urban Bania women in reinforcing caste boundaries in their everyday social interactions. Interviewing 7 Bania women, the field study focuses on reinforcement of caste in three everyday social scenarios: Food Practices, Dating and Marital Relations, and Interactions with Lower Castes. Keywords: Caste, Gender, Bania women, Food Practices, Dating and Marital Relations, India, South Asia

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