Tasting Karma: How Food Produces Hindu Communities Within India
Wood, Eric Lickel
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Food and religion are an integral part of India's society. In this thesis I will be exploring the many interrelationships between the two to gain a wider understanding pf India's society. By choosing Hinduism, I focused on how food and dietary practices work to produce Hindu communities within India. After a discussion on the general implications of food within India, including the prevalence and implications of the caste system, food pollution (both environmental and social), and how it has helped create meaning and order within Indian society. I then go on to discuss the many regional cuisines found within India and by identifying their differences from one another, I point to how they help create a wider national cuisine. Elements that are present throughout India contain such contents as rice, potatoes, curries, fish, milk, and sweets. I then go on to show the elements within Hinduism and food to show the interconnections. Aspects such as Ayurvedic medicine, rituals, scriptural accounts and various deities, all reveal this interconnection. By exploring these powerfully charged interconnected subjects, I am able to present the dynamics between food and religion that are met on a daily basis for India's Hindus. By constructing their own meanings of life Hindus are presented with essential elements that are present in their construction and classification.