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Caste An European Phenomenon

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Caste An European Phenomenon
#40
Aruns rejoinder.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheHeathenIn...ss/message/2881

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Re: semantically speaking

Balu,

Your comments on what is wrong and what is right with Philip Mason's
account are very helpful to me, and I'm merely trying to bring additional
info. to your attention.

Mason, I see, finds the varna/jati/gotra construct to be social rather than
scripturally sanctioned - that its connection with the Vedic story is a myth.
And elsewhere he finds similar jati arrangements among Muslims and
Sikhs, and among the Gurkhas and so on. Correlated with the jati
arrangements are various ritualistic commitments on part of the members
of the jati, that make them less or more suitable for army duty.
Any hierarchical ordering among jatis is weak, and there are many
dimensions to consider - ritual, social, economic and political, at least.
Finally, the prejudices about such groups come to be shared by the
Europeans.

Now, here is some further info, that may be at the start of an account of
how British feedback affected this culture. During the latter half of the 19th
century, British army recruiters became obssessed with "caste", as part of
their theory of martial races.

"Captain Bingley, writing of the Rajputs...Like his colleagues, he goes into
immense detail over sub-castes and sub-sub-castes; this is necessary because
'Fighting capacity depends not only on race but also on hereditary instinct
and social status, therefore it is essential that every effort should be made
to obtain the very best men of that class which a regiment may enlist...
Men of good class will not enlist unless their own class be represented in
the regiment." So if you have a good tradition all will be well - but on the
contrary, if you have 'native officers who as regards race and breeding are
not altogether desirable, they will naturallly bring into the regiment men
of their own kind' and a ring will be formed that will be a power deterrent
to the good class.

"The 'country Rajput is a straightforward, guileless, honest gentlemanly fellow
and his manners betray him.' But outsiders try to pass themselves off as
what they are not and it is important to make quite sure of a man's every
particular. Against some 'clans' or sub-castes, Bingley puts a note to warn
the unsuspecting:

'Undesirable; of spurious descent and practice widow remarriage'
'Rajputs of fallen grade who permit widow remarriage'
'Undesirable; cunning and treacherous clan'
'Turbulent and troublesome race of spurious descent'

A jealous, sometimes an anxious enthusiasm for the good name of one
particular class; a minute concern with the details of social precedence
and an almost obsequious readiness to recognize the men's social
prejudices - these are the marks of a recruiting office. He admires his
men, just as they are; he does not want them to be different.

"Dogras" was the term generally used of the Rajputs from the foothills
of the Himalayas north of the Punjab. They have none of the Mongolian
look of the hilmenn from further east and their caste system is much
the same as for Rajputs from the plains. The handbook for Dogras lists
420 subdivisions usually recruited and ranks them in four grades
according to their own estimation. All four grades are mixed in Dogra
companies - in spite of the damning fact that the lower grades allow
their widows to remarry. But recruiting should not go beyond these
limits. There are Jats living in these same hils, who were 'formerly more
or less freely enlisted...but now castes are so clearly defined and well-known
they find it increasingly difficult....They are sturdy and of better physique
than Dogra Rajputs and officers...speak highly of their discipline, courage
and soldierly fitness; but when mixed in the same company as Dogra
Rajputs, they suffer somewhat as the Dogra Rajput does not consider
them on the same social plane.'

------
Seems to me that this could not be a one-way street, i.e., British
absorbing Indian prejudices. E.g., else, how could Jats freely enlist before?
How did castes become so clearly defined? Maybe the men learned that
if they exhibited disdain for other jatis, more positions would be offered
to their own jati. Probably impossible to know at this time what feedback
loops got set up.

-Arun<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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Caste An European Phenomenon - by Guest - 09-12-2006, 04:07 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by Guest - 09-12-2006, 06:48 PM
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Caste An European Phenomenon - by Husky - 02-04-2009, 06:28 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 03-16-2009, 10:25 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by Husky - 07-02-2009, 04:28 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by Bharatvarsh - 10-24-2009, 11:45 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by agnivayu - 10-25-2009, 06:18 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by ravinder - 12-12-2009, 06:03 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by agnivayu - 12-25-2009, 09:28 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by ravinder - 12-28-2009, 05:21 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 03-14-2010, 07:10 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by shamu - 03-15-2010, 09:45 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 03-15-2010, 12:39 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by shamu - 03-16-2010, 09:16 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 03-17-2010, 07:04 AM
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Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 03-17-2010, 09:40 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by shamu - 03-18-2010, 03:21 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 03-18-2010, 07:49 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by shamu - 03-18-2010, 08:39 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 04-04-2010, 04:28 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 04-04-2010, 04:34 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by agnivayu - 04-04-2010, 07:02 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 04-04-2010, 01:26 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 04-04-2010, 03:09 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 04-04-2010, 03:11 PM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 04-07-2010, 02:04 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by agnivayu - 04-15-2010, 09:16 AM
Caste An European Phenomenon - by agnivayu - 04-15-2010, 09:20 AM
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