Oct 26, 2010

Two Women of the Mahar Caste - 1870

Seated carte-de-visite portrait of two women of the Mahar caste, one of a series of prints of ethnic types and occupations taken by Bourne and Shepherd in the early 1870s. The caste name, lightly pencilled in, appears to read Mhar. Mahar, are a caste-cluster, or group of many endogamous castes, living chiefly in Maharashtra state, and in adjoining states. Traditionally the Mahar caste came from the lowest group of the Hindu caste system but they have witnessed immense social mobility after Indian independence. The great social reformer Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was from the Mahar caste and championed a fight against the oppression of the Hindu caste system.