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Caste An European Phenomenon

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Caste An European Phenomenon
#39
Further clarification on the above post.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheHeathenIn...ss/message/2878

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

Dear Arun,

Thank you for providing some context for the citation you posted on
the board. I knew that the author was not writing a treatise on caste
and I had guessed it had something to do with the British army and the
eighteenth-century India. Jayant has already raised some relevant
questions; I will confine myself to making a few points.

(a) Firstly, I was responding to your requests at the beginning and at
the end of the citation. The beginning: "It would be interesting to
know what things are wrong and what things are right in the following
account"; the end: "I would be extremely interested in knowing what is
wrong with the description above". Secondly, I attempted to show that,
between the eighteenth-century British and those from the
twentieth-century, an explanatory gulf is almost non-existent.

(b) The non-existence of the explanatory gulf has partly to do with
the nature of the selected facts. When one speaks of the presence of
`sub-sub-castes' among the Sikhs (say), this fact is not
theory-neutral which all subsequent theories has to explain. The data
is gathered by using a theory that suggests that `the Indian caste
system' is hierarchically ordered.

© Perhaps, one can understand why the British saw the operation of
such a hierarchy in India. Where they could not see such a hierarchy
so clearly, they wrote such problems off as the consequence of "local
complications". When they said that nothing about "the Indian
religious and social system is simple", they were not noticing the
poverty of their explanations or the complexity of the culture they
tried to understand. Actually, it carried a value judgment about the
Indian mind: it was neither logical nor consistent because it even
violated its own `principles' and `rules'.

(d) More important than their value judgment is the fact that most
Indian intellectuals (and many, many `Dalit' movements) repeat and
reproduce the hypothesis that the British entertained as though it is
their daily experience. That is to say, such people say that the
British descriptions are true of the Indian society and culture and
suggest that this truth is borne out by their own experience of the
`reality of the caste system'. This is the majority view. I believe
that this view hints at a problem about the nature of `our experience'
instead of being a true description of the Indian society and culture.
How can the experience of the Indian society and culture of the
eighteenth-century British be continuous with our experience of our
own culture and society today? What does this tell us about the nature
of our contemporary experience? Consequently, my reply was also partly
an indirect answer to the question Avinash raised.

(e) Were I to formulate the above paragraph In terms of alternatives,
this is how I would do it: It could be the case that the descriptions
that the British (merchants, military officers, bureaucrats, etc) gave
of India were scientific, which is why they remain true of our
contemporary experience. Or, there is something very, very problematic
about our experience. The majority picks the first alternative. My
research is about the second.


Friendly greetings

Balu<!--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
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Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 03-18-2010, 07:49 AM
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Caste An European Phenomenon - by HareKrishna - 04-04-2010, 04:28 AM
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