Skip to content

Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth Century India

Eggers Hall, 341

Add to: Outlook, ICal, Google Calendar

The Moynihan Institute’s South Asia Center presents a book talk by Divya Cherian of Princeton University.

What did it mean to be Hindu in pre-colonial India? Through a discussion of everyday life and local politics in the kingdom of Marwar in the eighteenth century, this presentation will show that an alliance between existing landed elites and a newly ascendant mercantile class remade the category “Hindu.” A key element of this new articulation of an early modern Hindu identity was vegetarianism and an embrace of non-violence. 

Divya Cherian is a historian of early modern South Asia. She is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Princeton University. Her book, "Merchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia" (University of California Press, 2023), offers a fine-grained study of pre-colonial reconfigurations of the Hindu Self and its inadmissible Others pursued through local politics, state law and bodily practice.

This event is co-sponsored by the Departments of History and Religion.


Social Science and Public Policy




Main Campus

Open to



MAX-South Asia Center, MAX-History, CAS-Department of Religion


Matt Baxter


Contact Matt Baxter to request accommodations