The study takes on the dynamics of Brahmin identity in

contemporary Karnataka. The decision to focus on Brahmin

identity is driven by two reasons. One, it is a paradox that while

the figure of the Brahmin has forever haunted all our thinking

on caste, sociological descriptions of this figure, as it gets

configured in modern times, are the hardest to come by. Often

we work with a straw figure of the Brahmin, and surprisingly it

seems to satisfy the requirements of even academic inquiries on

caste. This assertion (concerning the paucity of descriptive

accounts of particular caste contexts) can be made while speaking

of other castes too. Indeed, this is yet another point of departure

for this study that even as we increasingly seem to be presented

with touching certainties and theses on contemporary caste, we

have a receding preoccupation with the need to describe, and

describe sociologically, specific contextually animated

dimensions of being caste. This paucity is so evident that it is

surprising that it has escaped serious reflection.