To Be Cared For
The Power of Conversion and Foreignness of Belonging in an Indian Slum
Anbu Nagar is a Dalit slum in the industrial sprawl of North Chennai. Attempting to grasp the connections between religion and everyday life In Anbu Nagar, Nathaniel Roberts shows us how what goes on in the street and at home gives meaning to religion—and not just the reverse, as commonly supposed. To be cared for contests nationalist narratives of Christianity as a “foreign” ideology that disrupts local communities. Far from being a divisive force, conversion integrates the slum community—Christians and Hindus alike—by mending moral fault lines that subtly pit women against one another, and by fortifying slum dwellers in their shared struggle for humanity in a national context that denies it. To be cared for was awarded the Bernard Cohn book Prize by the association for Asian studies in 2018.