Aspects of Caste in South India, Ceylon, and North-West Pakistan

By E. R. Leach | Go to book overview

CASTE IN A TANJORE VILLAGE

By E. KATHLEEN GOUGH


INTRODUCTION: HINDU CASTE

This Introduction will appear trite to all who are acquainted with caste in India. It indicates only in a very general way how far the caste system of Tanjore may be treated as typical of caste in India as a whole. An excellent statement of the common characteristics of castes was given by Weber ( Gerth and Mills 1947: 397-415).

Castes in Hindu India are ranked, birth-status groups. The caste, or a subsection of it, is usually endogamous; it tends to be associated with an occupation. A caste is not a localized group, but comprises small local communities, often several miles apart. Local communities of different castes form administrative units as multi-caste villages or towns. Usually, the caste communities of the village have in the past possessed hereditary differential rights in the produce of village lands, these rights being dispensed by a dominant caste group of land managers and village administrators. In towns, caste guilds of craftsmen and traders traditionally had separate organizations.

The formal ranking of castes is defined in terms of the belief in ritual purity and pollution; rules of social distance between castes issue primarily from this belief. Whatever the origins of these rules, their codification, recording and adaptation to local circumstances have been primarily the work of the Brahmans, who from their origin in the Vēdic kingdoms of the North Indian river valleys spread throughout the sub-continent as the highest caste of religious specialists. The ubiquity of the Brahmans and their common possession of a sacred literature and a body of religious laws are apparently responsible for most of the common features of caste in the different regions.

Despite the universality of the Brahman, India cannot be said to possess a single caste system, but a number of regional systems. A comparison of regional systems is required which would permit not only generalizations covering all of them, but, more significantly, statements of concomitant variation. Regional differences are related partly to ecological variation, and partly to political history (which is itself of course influenced by ecology).

Before British rule, India comprised several independent and mutually hostile political units. Within each such unit, or within a relatively autonomous subdivision (for example a tributary kingdom), the rules governing intercaste relationships had a degree of uniformity, for they were articulated with a common body of law administered by a central authority. In Hindu kingdoms,

-11-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Aspects of Caste in South India, Ceylon, and North-West Pakistan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 148

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.