This book depicts the life and social adaptation of some urban sweepers in Bangladesh. They live as socially degraded untouchables and are a minority within a minority. It focuses on what the author considers to be major concerns in their communal life: question of identity, caste ranking and dignity. The work is based on ethnographic research carried out among the Hindu and newly converted Christian Sweepers of diverse ethnic backgrounds in two different districts. The book consists of two essays: The first essay is about the Sweeper's community life, institution and aspects of social organization. The second deals with aspects of religion and ritual, and highlights matters related to their ideology and conversion to Christianity. The two essays together with the general introduction and epilogue contribute immensely to the general understanding of these sweeper's lives and what it means to be a methar or sweeper. The importance of this work is in its ethnographic presentation. It provides a substantial theoretical discourse and analysis where the author critically examines what he calls the unitary models of South Asian culture and social organization.
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