Susan bayly, on the other hand, states that jati system emerged because it offered a source of advantage in an era of pre-Independence poverty, lack of institutional human rights, volatile political environment, and economic insecurity. Clarification needed According to social anthropologist Dipankar Gupta, guilds developed during the mauryan period and crystallised into jatis in post-mauryan times with the emergence of feudalism in India, which finally crystallised during the 712th centuries. However, other scholars dispute when and how jatis developed in Indian history. Barbara metcalf and Thomas Metcalf, both professors of History, write, "One of the surprising arguments of fresh scholarship, based on inscriptional and other contemporaneous evidence, is that until relatively recent centuries, social organisation in much of the subcontinent was little touched by the four varnas. Nor were jati the building blocks of society." 81 According to basham, ancient Indian literature refers often to varnas, but hardly if ever to jatis as a system of groups within the varnas. He concludes that "If caste is defined as a system of group within the class, which are normally endogamous, commensal and craft-exclusive, we have no real evidence of its existence until comparatively late times." Untouchable outcastes and the varna system The vedic texts neither mention. The rituals in the vedas ask the noble or king to eat with the commoner from the same vessel. Later Vedic texts ridicule some professions, but the concept of untouchability is not found in them.
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Vedic varnas The varnas originated in Vedic society (ca.1500500 bce). The first three groups, Brahmins, Kshatriyas and drama vaishya have parallels with other Indo-european societies, while the addition of the Shudras is probably a brahmanical invention from northern India. The varna system is propounded in revered Hindu religious texts, and understood as idealised human callings. The purusha sukta of the rigveda and Manusmriti 's comment on it, being the oft-cited texts. 73 counter to these textual classifications, many revered Hindu texts and doctrines question and disagree with this system of social classification. Scholars have questioned the varna verse in Rigveda, noting that the varna therein is mentioned only once. The purusha sukta verse is now generally considered to have been inserted at a later date into the rigveda, probably as a charter myth. Stephanie jamison and joel Brereton, professors of Sanskrit and Religious studies, state, "there is no evidence in the rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system and "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the rigveda and, both then and later, a social. 74 In contrast to the lack of details about varna system in the rigveda, the manusmriti includes an extensive and highly schematic commentary on the varna system, but it too provides "models rather than descriptions". 75 Susan bayly summarises that Manusmriti and other scriptures helped elevate Brahmins in the social hierarchy and these were a factor in the making of the varna system, but the ancient texts did not in some way "create the phenomenon of caste" in India. Jatis jeaneane fowler, a professor of philosophy and religious studies, states that it is impossible to determine how and why the jatis came in existence.
The latter has criticised the former for its caste origin theory, claiming that it has dehistoricised and decontextualised Indian society. 68 Ritual kingship model According to samuel, referencing george. Hart, central aspects of the later Indian caste system may originate from the ritual kingship system prior to the arrival of Brahmanism, buddhism and jainism in India. The system is seen in the south Indian Tamil literature from the sangam period, dated to the third to sixth centuries. This theory discards the Indo-Aryan varna model as the basis of caste, and is centred on the ritual power of the king, who was "supported by a group of ritual and magical specialists of low social status with their ritual occupations being considered 'polluted'. According to hart, it may be this model that provided the concerns with "pollution" of the members of low status groups. The hart model for caste origin, writes Samuel, envisions "the ancient Indian society consisting of a majority without internal caste divisions and a minority consisting of a number of small occupationally polluted groups".
This perspective was particularly common among scholars of the British colonial era and was articulated by dumont, who concluded that the system was ideologically perfected several thousand years ago and has remained the primary social reality ever since. This school justifies its theory primarily by citing the ancient law book manusmriti and disregards economic, political or historical mini evidence. The second school of thought focuses on socioeconomic factors and claims that those factors drive the caste system. It believes caste to be rooted in the economic, political and material history of India. This school, which is common among scholars of the post-colonial era such as Berreman, marriott, and Dirks, describes the caste system as an ever-evolving social reality that can only be properly understood by the study of historical evidence of actual practice and the examination. This school has focused on the historical evidence from ancient and medieval society in India, during the muslim rule between the 12th and 18th centuries, and the policies of colonial British rule from 18th century to the mid-20th century. The first school has focused on religious anthropology and disregarded other historical evidence as secondary to or derivative of this tradition. The second school has focused on sociological evidence and sought to understand essay the historical circumstances.
Flexibility sociologist Anne waldrop observes that while outsiders view the term caste as a static phenomenon of stereotypical tradition-bound India, empirical facts suggest caste has been a radically changing feature. The term means different things to different Indians. In the context of politically active modern India, where job and school"s are reserved for affirmative action based on castes, the term has become a sensitive and controversial subject. 55 Sociologists such. Srinivas and Damle have debated the question of rigidity in caste and believe that there is considerable flexibility and mobility in the caste hierarchies. Origins Perspectives There are at least two perspectives for the origins of the caste system in ancient and medieval India, which focus on either ideological factors or on socio-economic factors. The first school focuses on the ideological factors which are claimed to drive the caste system and holds that caste is rooted in the four varnas.
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To later Europeans of the raj era it was endogamous jatis, rather than varnas, that represented caste, such as the 2378 jatis that colonial administrators classified by occupation in the early 20th century. Arvind Sharma, a professor of comparative religion, notes that caste has been used synonymously to refer to both varna and jati but that "serious Indologists now observe considerable caution in this respect" because, while related, the concepts are considered to be distinct. In this he agrees with the Indologist Arthur Basham, who noted that the portuguese colonists of India used casta to describe. . tribes, clans or families. The name stuck and became the usual word for reviews the hindu social group.
In attempting to account for the remarkable proliferation of castes in 18th- and 19th-century India, authorities credulously accepted the traditional view that by a process of intermarriage and subdivision the 3,000 or more castes of modern India had evolved from the four primitive classes, and. This is a false terminology; castes rise and fall in the social scale, and old castes die out and new ones are formed, but the four great classes are stable. There are never more or less than four and for over 2,000 years their order of precedence has not altered." The sociologist Andre beteille notes that, while varna mainly played the role of caste in classical Hindu literature, it is jati that plays that role. Varna represents a closed collection of social orders whereas jati is entirely open-ended, thought of as a "natural kind whose members share a common substance." Any number of new jatis can be added depending on need, such as tribes, sects, denominations, religious or linguistic minorities. Thus, "Caste" is not an accurate representation of jati in English. Better terms would be ethnicity, ethnic identity and ethnic group. In normal usage of the term jati in modern india, it does refer to caste.
In various linguistic areas, hundreds of castes had a gradation generally acknowledged by everyone restrictions on feeding and social intercourse, with minute rules on the kind of food and drink that upper castes could accept from lower castes. There was a great diversity in these rules, and lower castes generally accepted food from upper castes Segregation, where individual castes lived together, the dominant caste living in the center and other castes living on the periphery. There were restrictions on the use of water wells or streets by one caste on another: an upper-caste Brahmin might not be permitted to use the street of a lower-caste group, while a caste considered impure might not be permitted to draw water from. Lack of unrestricted choice of profession, caste members restricted their own members from taking up certain professions they considered degrading. This characteristic of caste was missing from large parts of India, stated Ghurye, and in these regions all four castes (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, vaishyas and Shudras) did agriculture labour or became warriors in large numbers Endogamy, restrictions on marrying a person outside caste, but in some. Far less rigidity on inter-marriage between different sub-castes than between members of different castes in some regions, while in some endogamy within a sub-caste was the principal feature of caste-society.
The above ghurye's model of caste thereafter attracted scholarly criticism 42 43 for relying on the British India census reports, 44 the "superior, inferior" racist theories. Risley, and for fitting his definition to then prevalent colonial orientalist perspectives on caste. 47 48 Ghurye added, in 1932, that the colonial construction of caste led to the livening up, divisions and lobbying to the British officials for favourable caste classification in India for economic opportunities, and this had added new complexities to the concept of caste. 49 Graham Chapman and others have reiterated the complexity, and they note that there are differences between theoretical constructs and the practical reality. Modern perspective on definition Ronald Inden, the Indologist, agrees that there has been no universally accepted definition. For example, for some early european documenters it was thought to correspond with the endogamous varnas referred to in ancient Indian scripts, and its meaning corresponds in the sense of estates.
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According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is derived from the portuguese casta, meaning "race, lineage, breed" and, originally, pure or unmixed (stock or breed. 29 There is no exact translation in Indian languages, but varna and barbing jati are the two most approximate terms. Ghurye's 1932 opinion The sociologist. Ghurye wrote in 1932 that, despite much study by many people, we do not possess a real general definition of presentation caste. It appears to me that any attempt at definition is bound to fail because of the complexity of the phenomenon. On the other hand, much literature on the subject is marred by lack of precision about the use of the term. Ghurye offered what he thought was a definition that could be applied across British India, although he acknowledged that there were regional variations on the general theme. His model definition for caste included the following six characteristics, segmentation of society into groups whose membership was determined by birth A hierarchical system wherein generally the Brahmins were at the head of the hierarchy, but this hierarchy was disputed in some cases.
The jatis are complex social groups that lack universally applicable definition or characteristic, and have been more flexible and diverse than was previously often assumed. Some scholars of caste have considered jati to have its basis in religion, assuming that in India the sacred elements of life envelop the secular aspects; for example, the anthropologist louis Dumont described the ritual rankings that exist within the jati system as being based. This view has been disputed by other scholars, who believe it to be a secular social phenomenon driven stdout by the necessities of economics, politics, and sometimes also geography. 23 jeaneane fowler says that although some people consider jati to be occupational segregation, in reality the jati framework does not preclude or prevent a member of one caste from working in another occupation. A feature of jatis has been endogamy, in Susan bayly 's words, that "both in the past and for many though not all Indians in more modern times, those born into a given caste would normally expect to find marriage partner" within his or her. Jatis have existed in India among Hindus, muslims, Christians and tribal people, and there is no clear linear order among them. 28 Caste main article: Caste The term caste is not originally an Indian word, though it is now widely used, both in English and in Indian languages.
court of India, are based on heredity and are not changeable. 16 a discrimination against lower castes is illegal in India under Article 15 of its constitution, and India tracks violence against Dalits nationwide. Contents Definitions and concepts Varna, jāti and Caste varna main article: Varna (Hinduism) Varna literally means type, order, colour or class 17 18 and was a framework for grouping people into classes, first used in Vedic Indian society. It is referred to frequently in the ancient Indian texts. The four classes were the Brahmins (priestly people the Kshatriyas (also called Rajanyas, who were rulers, administrators and warriors the vaishyas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen and farmers and Shudras (labouring classes). The varna categorisation implicitly had a fifth element, being those people deemed to be entirely outside its scope, such as tribal people and the untouchables. Jati main article: Jāti jati, meaning birth, is mentioned much less often in ancient texts, where it is clearly distinguished from varna. There are four varnas but thousands of jatis.
The caste system as it exists today is thought to be the result of developments during the collapse of the mughal era and the, british colonial regime in India. The collapse of the mughal era saw the rise of powerful men who associated themselves with kings, priests and ascetics, affirming the regal and martial form of the caste ideal, and it also reshaped many apparently casteless social groups into differentiated caste communities. The British Raj furthered this development, making rigid caste organisation a central book mechanism of administration. Between 18, the British segregated Indians by caste, granting administrative jobs and senior appointments only to the upper castes. Social unrest during the 1920s led to a change in this policy. From then on, the colonial administration began a policy of positive discrimination by reserving a certain percentage of government jobs for the lower castes. Caste-based differences have also been practised in other regions and religions in the Indian subcontinent like nepalese buddhism, 10, christianity, islam, judaism and, sikhism. 11 13, it has been challenged by many reformist Hindu movements, Islam, sikhism, Christianity, 11 and also by present-day indian, buddhism. 15 New developments took place after India achieved independence, when the policy of caste-based reservation of jobs was formalised with lists of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
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This article is about socio-political stratification in Indian society. For religious stratification in Hinduism, see. Gandhi visiting Madras (now Chennai) in 1933 on an India-wide tour for. His speeches during such tours and writings discussed the discriminated-against castes of India. The caste system in India is the paradigmatic ethnographic example of caste. It has origins in ancient India, and was transformed by various ruling elites in medieval, early-modern, and modern India, especially the. Mughal Empire and the, british Raj. It is today the basis of educational and job reservations in India. 5, it consists of two different concepts, varna and jati, which may be regarded as different levels of analysis of this system.