The 'Bedes' of Bengal

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More About This Title The 'Bedes' of Bengal


In the Bengali speaking regions of Bangladesh and India, the Bengali term bede today often evokes stereotypical imaginations of itinerant people. Of highly contested origin, the term has in the last two hundred years become the pivotal element for categorising and portraying diverse service nomads of the Bengal region. Besides an analysis of their portrayal in ethnographic and Bengali fictional literature, this book traces causes, reasons, and processes that have led to an increasing perception of these so-called `Bedes' as being ethnically different from the sedentary majority population.


Carmen Brandt is junior professor at the Institute for Oriental and Asian Studies at the University of Bonn, Germany.