|(1) There can be faction fights between two factions of the same ward -- that is between members of the same caste in the same ward. In such cases members of other castes get drawn into the battle because of a client-patron relationship with some of the principals.|
|(2) Disputes may originate in a Vellāla rebuking a Palla or other Untouchable labourer who is not his own client. In such cases a Vellāla patron of the low-caste labourer will come to his support. The dispute may then develop into a faction fight with the two Vellalas leading rival mixed-caste factions. Obligations between patron and client normally override considerations of caste solidarity. Gross sexual offences such as that entailed in a Palla man's having sex relations with a Vellāla woman may indeed produce a complete polarization of hostilities along caste lines. But even here the antagonism does not go beyond the ward. In such a case we may find all the Vellālas in one ward attacking all the Pallas in another ward, but the neighbouring wards of the same villages will not become involved.|
In short, in Jaffna, the focus of local solidarity sentiment is to be found in the residence group of the caste -- that is the ward -- not in the village as a whole. By contrast, in Tanjore, tension is greatest between villages and between castes of the same village. This appears to confirm the view that the effect on the Jaffna system of many cross-cutting ties is to reduce the level of tension both between villages and between castes, but that this has the effect of increasing social tension within the local residence unit.
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Publication information: Book title: Aspects of Caste in South India, Ceylon, and North-West Pakistan. Contributors: E. R. Leach - Editor. Publisher: University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge. Publication year: 1962. Page number: 77.
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