Flush with Success:Bathing, Defecation, Worship, and Social Change in South India
AbstractUntil the 1970s, the focus of the Hindu home was the puja room, or domestic shrine, but during the past 20 years, the focus has shifted to the bathroom. Bathrooms are now the showplaces of the Hindu home where conspicuous consumption and display are the norm, whereas the puja rooms have become increasingly smaller and private. The article discusses the dynamics of this shift in the significance of domestic spaces and the underlying changes in attitudes toward purity and pollution, cleanliness and hygiene, sacredness and secularity, and the categories of public and private that these changes imply. Exploring such changes problematizes the underlying cultural changes, the phenomena of secularization and commodification, and the changes in attitudes and values among the Hindu middle classes .