Re: caste

From: vishalsagarwal
Message: 17673
Date: 2003-01-16

--- In, "danjmi <dmilt1896@...>"
<dmilt1896@...> wrote:
If everyone in India nowadays
> recognizes that the past is the past and reminders of earlier
> injustices are met with equanimity, then I'm happy for that
> fortunate land.
> Dan Milton

VA: The Hobson and Jobson dictionary typically is seen only in
libraries inIndia as cheap editions do not exist, to my knowledge. In
any case, one would expect it to rouse some sense of pride in
Indians, as they will see how many words in English are of Indic
origin. As for the past, you will perhaps be surprised to note that
the Aryan theories do not evince much interest in the minds of the
lay Indians, the memories of the last millenium are much more
prominent. If you go to good bookshops in India, you will find very
few books dealing with the question. The issue has started acquiring
some publicity only recently, and is discussed avidly in the
literature of various ideologues. It defies my understanding however
why something that happened in the 2nd millennium BCE should have an
effect on today.

Coming to caste - the only WELL DEFINED varna in India is that of the
Brahmanas. For others, the concept of Jaati has much more relevance
and reality in the Indian society. Take for example, my 'jaati' -
Agrawal. I am classified as a Vaishya caste person in Delhi, Uttar
Pradesh, Haryana etc., but as an 'Other Backward Caste' (which itself
typically means 'Shudra') in other states such as Orissa and Bihar.
According to the tradition of the community, we are descendant from a
Consider the case of the 'Modha' jaati of Gujarat - this has people
belonging to the Brahmin as well as to the baniya (=Vaishya) caste.

There is a wealth of literature by anthropologists (fortunately
sociology and anthropology are not so heavily politicized in India
due to the initial refusal of stalwarts of these two fields to have a
common truck with the 'secular' historians - see works of Andre
Betielle in this regard) dealing with 'caste', and jaati, a
discussion of the same is beyond the scope of this list.