4
Caste Through the Ages -- II

The post-Vedic period testifies to the rigid stratification and internal solidarity of the four varnas. Each group was recognized as distinct, almost complete in itself, for its social life. Among the laws that were valid, provided they did not contradict the sacred precepts, are those of castes. "Cultivators, traders, money-lenders, and artisans have authority to lay down rules for their respective classes."1 It may be inferred that many of the sub-divisions within each varna -- and undoubtedly by now there must have existed in each varna numerous sub-divisions-had rules of their own for their internal management. The word 'jāti' is applied by the great grammarian Patanjali to such ethnic groups as the Ābhīras, whom he declares to be other jāti than the Śţdra. By implication the Śţdras too were a 'jāti'. 'Varna' and 'jāti' would thus appear to be interchangeable terms. It is clear that other groups than the four traditional ones were not only in existence but had come to be recognized as jātis.2

The four castes were even supposed to be distinguished by their origin and particular sacraments.3 When officers were chosen from all castes, their positions were to be so adjusted as not to disturb the caste-order of precedence.4 A number of major and minor offences are also enumerated as leading to loss of caste.5 Social intercourse, eating, and intermarriage seem to have been the visible marks of an individual's assimilation in his group.6 Clearly these groups and sub-divisions must have had each its own internal organization to carry out effectively the avoidance of social intercourse, eating and intermarriage with their defaulting members. Adherence to prescribed duties was neither wholly left to the sweet will of the individual, nor was it only to

-74-

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Caste, Class, and Occupation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Preface to the Second Edition xi
  • Preface to the First Edition xiii
  • Preface To Caste and Race in India *
  • 1 - Features of the Caste System 1
  • 2 - Nature of Caste-Groups 30
  • 3 - Caste Through the Ages 42
  • 4 - Caste Through the Ages -- II 74
  • 5 - Race and Caste 112
  • 6 - Elements of Caste Outside India 138
  • 7 - Origins of the Caste-System 159
  • 8 - Caste and British Rule 178
  • 9 - Scheduled Castes 213
  • 10 - Occupation & Caste 241
  • 11 - Class and Its Role 282
  • 12 - Future of Caste 305
  • Appendix A - Panjab 329
  • Appendix B - United Provinces of Agra and Oudh 330
  • Appendix C - Bihar 331
  • Appendix D - Bengal 332
  • Appendix E - Bombay 333
  • Appendix F - Madras 334
  • Appendix G - Differentail Index 335
  • Bibliography 337
  • Index 345
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