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Old October 31st, 2017, 11:31 PM   #31
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Many of the South Indian dynasties had local, village, forest origins. Later people claimed kshatriya or brahmin lineages for them. They had to thank brahmins for that. In North we had Jat Rulers. The Scindias were probably herder, though I do not know for sure. Perhaps a Maharashtrian could enlighten us.
Scindias were village headmen in satara district. They grew in prestige and migrated to gwalior. Holkars of indore have herder origins.

Last edited by maratha; October 31st, 2017 at 11:40 PM.
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Old November 1st, 2017, 12:46 AM   #32

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Having lived in south india throughout my life i have little knowledge of the north indian caste system. Was the condition of shudras in north india similar to that of dalits in south india? Were shudras in north india allowed to enter temples? What was the difference in occupation between the shudras and dalits of north india? I would be grateful if you could answer these questions.
This is one confusion I too have. Were Shudras allowed entry in to temples?

Dalits were not for sure. Historically one remedy was that in some traditions of Hinduism - like in the Lingayats - caste distinctions were abolished. Everyone could join and become a Lingayat. So all were allowed in this case irrespective of their caste status. [1] Second remedy has been the various social reform movements - perhaps beginning with Kerala during colonial rule. [2] Latest is from Kerala where Government has appointed Dalits as priests in Hindu temples. [3]

The practice about Shudras's temple entry still remains fuzzy in my mind.

Regards

Rajeev

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References

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basava#Basava_Philosophy

'However, Basava championed devotional worship that rejected temple worship and rituals led by Brahmins, and replaced it with personalized direct worship of Shiva through practices such as individually worn icons and symbols like a small linga. This approach brought Shiva's presence to everyone and at all times, without gender, class or caste discrimination.'

[2] Viakom Satyagrah: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaikom_Satyagraha

[3] Kerala?s first Dalit priest Yedu Krishnan takes charge - The Hindu

'Chanting mantras, breaking barriers: Kerala’s first Dalit priest takes charge'

Last edited by Rajeev; November 1st, 2017 at 12:49 AM.
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Old November 1st, 2017, 01:40 AM   #33

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This is an amazing case of how religion can twist someone mind into accepting his fate. Religion is such an amazing tool for mass control.
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Old November 1st, 2017, 01:41 AM   #34

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No. I am from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. We lived in a predominantly brahmin locality but people of other castes also had their houses there. Many of them were given employment by my grandpa in his department of Museum and Archaeology. Any kind of atrocity with those who did odd jobs for our family was simply unthinkable, and so even when talking to them without giving them respect due for their age. Yes, a few rule were observed. No one of the lower caste entered the dining area when my grandfather was having his meal. I am talking of 1950s before the new age arrived.
This I too remember. Genuine courtesy was shown to servants, who belonged presumably to 'lower castes,' in households of my grandparents and parents. Not genuine courtesy alone, but also we children had a feeling of warmth & affection towards them which is there even today. I can recall time from early 1960s on wards. There was never a occasion of eating meals together with them because generally they would eat after feeding others. But is separate dining such a big deal?

I remember reading President Barack Obama saying when he was in White House that had he entered a restaurent near White House with his grandfather in good old days, they would have been denied service. [1]

Firstly, there has to be a reason why this nasty, evil, reprehensible, etc etc, caste system has survived for 3000 years. Its endurance or sustenance is a puzzle which is asking for answers.

Secondly, societies can and do change - little by little as President Barack Obama's another speech shows so well.[2] There is no need to be ambivalent about caste in India. It is on the way out, but method of eradication would be different.

regards

Rajeev

References:

[1] Cant find online reference. Please help if you find.

[2] Barack Obama's 2008 speech on race in United States

Barack Obama's 2008 speech on race in United States | The Independent

From middle of the speech he begins describing the social discrimination faced by Afro-Americans. He also mentions clearly the balance journey that remains. Lots of lessons for thinking Indians, if such creatures exist!

Last edited by Rajeev; November 1st, 2017 at 03:39 AM.
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Old November 1st, 2017, 06:23 AM   #35

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Kan ji, i.e., Kanhaiyya Lal.
More correctly, Kan ji ba (Baba as a mark of respect). Laloo ji ba, Bhik ji ba (his son became a jockey in Mumbai and earned decent money), Partap ba (the only one who could make me drink milk), Jassan Bai (old lady, very strong, would go up the relatively stiff incline to our locality with a sack weighing 150 pounds), Har kanwar bai (her mother and her daughter), Jataniya bai, Rukma bai (brahmin, to whose son we sold our ancestral house as promised to her). Various castes - Brahmin, Jat, Rajput, Rjput (lower than Rajput), Raika (Camel herders), etc. These were associations which lasted four generations.
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Old November 1st, 2017, 06:28 AM   #36

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Historically one remedy was that in some traditions of Hinduism - like in the Lingayats - caste distinctions were abolished.
Chaitanya's Vaishnavas, Natha Sampradaya, Kabir Panth, Guru Nanak.
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Old November 1st, 2017, 07:50 AM   #37

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Not really the same as Indian caste. If you are referring to the Greek nobility, commoners, and slaves, they are not the wame thing as caste. While you could be born into these classes, you could move from class to class - a commoner could become a slave, and a slave could obtain his freedom. A commoner could through success, might have his children rise to the nobility

The Indian caste were far more rigid and fixed.
Hardly any Indian caste was "rigid and fixed", with the exception of chandalas on one extreme and brahmins on the other extreme. No one wanted to be a chandala because they did work that was considered polluting and filthy (e.g. tanning and cleaning sewers), while brahmins tended to be quite parochial and restrictive in their membership (at least by medieval times, you could only become a brahmin through birth). However, the vast majority of Indians were neither chandalas nor brahmins, and these intermediate castes were quite fluid. There was a great deal of social mobility among these intermediate castes, and you can easily see that by looking at the number of kingdoms and principalities established by low-ranking shudras (especially in South India, but also by Jats in northwest India for example).
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Old November 1st, 2017, 10:19 AM   #38

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This is an amazing case of how religion can twist someone mind into accepting his fate. Religion is such an amazing tool for mass control.
Hi Eryl Enki,

Caste system is a four-layered sandwich.

Economic base: Each "Jati" in caste system has a specific occupation. There are thousands of 'Jatis." Since occupations involved special skills not learned easily (example making copper from copper ore), the groups became endogamous.

Social base: Since peoples of a single occupation may live near each other, it will [i] cause a social bonding and natural affinity about next generation getting married within the occupational group, [ii] the girl fitting into her husband's home more easily due to similar occupations of husband and similar economic status. Endogamy becomes desirable. [iii] father happily teaches his profession to his son and son learns it from childhood.

[iii] Political base: Kings naturally want people in all professions and thus did not allow people to change professions (for example in Persian history). Power structures also get defined & sustained when we classify people as Kings/nobles, warriors, other citizens, menials, slaves.

[iv] Religious sanction for the system comes on top of the above.


Fundamental basis of Caste system is economic and social. If it had been religious alone, then it would have died out in India long back because a specific religion has rarely been enforced in Indian history.

Regards

Rajeev
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Old November 1st, 2017, 10:37 AM   #39
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A person born a commoner could become a noble - it was rare, but it coule ane eid happend. Shinde mignt become ,king, but did he orficially change the caste he was born to, even when he became king. What Dakit ever became king?

A Dalit remains a Dalit no matter how economically successful he was, In England, a man of low birth could ensure his son could join the upper class by sending a his son to tne right school, and his son could marry the daughter or the aristrocacy, while it is extremely unlikely for the Dalit to marry a Brahmin.

And Napoleon worked his way ip from common soldier, to empeor of France, and his sibling became kings of various European countries. Unlike Shinde, , the descendents or one of Napoleon generals (who was from common stock), who was made king of Sweden, still sit on the Swedish throne.; Nor was a king considered the highest caste, ranking lower than a priest, if what I read is correct.

Also, a king or ruler in India was not the highest caste. Shinde, for all his success, still could not be
No the large part of the Indian population was able to rise in the society and people were able to change their caste depending on the circumstance. There are a lot of examples in Indian history of people from lower classes becoming part of the nobility like the Nandas, Holkars, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagars and many more. On the other hand there are barely any similar examples in European history. European families like Smith in England or Gerber in Germany were never able to become part of the elite in the past. So the class system in medieval Europe was more rigid than the caste or class system in many parts of ancient and medieval India
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Old November 1st, 2017, 10:59 AM   #40

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Fundamental basis of Caste system is economic and social.
Not only that, Rajiv. Other reasons include tribes (Jat, Ahir), Regions (Deshastha, Konkanastha, Chitpavan among brahmins of one region), language (Tamil brahmins in Kerala), religious affiliation (Ramnami, Nmdharis), etc. and more. Each group in India was allowed to live its life in its own fashion. It is different from the American melting pot, it is like a stained glass window. Each color has its own place.

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