Individuality is often viewed as an exclusively Western value. In non-Western societies, collective identities seem to eclipse those of individuals. These generalities, however, have overlooked the importance of personal uniqueness, volition, and achievement in these cultures. As an anthropologist in Tamil Nadu, South India, the author of this book found private and public expressions of self in all sectors of society. Based on twenty-five years of field research, the book weaves together personal life stories, historical description, and theoretical analysis to define individuality in South Asia, and to distinguish it from its Western counterpart.