We have been concerned with the flexibility of caste principles in the spheres
of endogamy and ritual status. In doing so, I have drawn attention to irregularities of practice which contrast with what Professor Lévi-Strauss has called
'the conscious model' of social structure ( 1953: 526), the core principles of
caste distinction. These irregularities are significant, for the resolution of
contradiction itself demonstrates the power of caste concepts.
I have shown (a) how cross-caste unions did not affect caste boundaries
which were re-established in every case; (b) how changes in ritual status were
'validated' by recourse to traditional 'identification marks' which reaffirmed
the values inherent in them.
It does not seem to me likely, then, that there will be any early abandonment
of caste principles, even under conditions of improved physical mobility and
In these respects, as in his garments, the Buddhist monk imitates the behaviour
of a Hindu sannyasi (cf. Carstairs 1957: 101-2; Coplestone 1892: 456-7; Zimmer 1946: 162 n.).
One pāla of land is the area sown with one pāla basket of rice seed. It is a
variable area of round about half an acre.
(This is not the universal opinion. Elsewhere in Ceylon a Goyigama villager
remarked 'There must always be caste, for at festivals we need drummers and if there
were no Tom-tom Beaters who would do the drumming?'
E. R.L. Ed.)
A typical vasagama would be, for example, Senanayaka Seneviratne Herat Mudiyansā Iā gē Welakona Watte Gedara Banda: that is, Banda of the House (Gedara)
of Welakonawatte descended from Knight (Mudiānse)
S. S. Herat (see Pieris 1956. 172;
Tambiah 1958: 24).
In the Maritime Provinces the status of the Kardāa is very high. They claim
Kshatriya descent. In the interior, where the Goyigama predominate, they are not
accorded the same respect.
This use of gā needs to be clearly distinguished from the Low Country Sinhalese
'Gā name' to which Ryan ( 1953) refers rather frequently.
The normal word for wife is simply 'woman' (gānē); pavula is more polite, and
the politest is 'lady' (hāmine).
Expressed in the phrases -- yanni enni ne; kanni bonni ne; sambanda ne (lit. no
going and coming; no eating and drinking; no marriage). More directly, they may
say, nākam kādēla (kinship is broken).
In all cases known to me the husband is rich and the girl's parents benefit from
the association. They may even receive some money, but such pseudo-bridewealth
payments are always kept secret, for it would be said that the woman has been
prostituted' for material gain.
These are in the Nuwara Eliya Kachcheri. I was allowed access to them by
the kind permission of Mr
B. F. Perera, C.C.S., then Permanent Secretary to the
Ministry of Home Affairs.
In the Registers of 1857-61 eight aristocratic houses own, between them,
196 pāla of paddy; twenty-one ordinary Goyigama families own 188-5 Pāla; those of
low rank own only 35 pāla. Le Mesurier ( 1898: 266 ff.) provides both land and
population figures. He gives an average land holding for 'Terutenne' as a whole,