SV: SV: SV: Kinship systems

Vanbakkam Vijayaraghavan vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK
Thu Nov 2 13:33:28 EST 2000

On Mon, 30 Oct 2000 22:19:14 +0530, RM. Krishnan <poo at GIASMD01.VSNL.NET.IN>

>Dear Mr Vijayaraghavan,
>Even though you chose not to reply to the questions I raised (regarding
>customs common to Dravidians) in my earlier mail, I am still responding to
>satisfy your curiosity.

Dear Mr.Krishnan

Thanks for the patient reply. Even though my question was when did the
words Saivam and Vainavam gained widespread currency, my curiosity is still
unsatisfied notwithstanding your best efforts as you can see from your

However, I shall not leave you dissatisfied about common customs among
Dravidians. Here is the much awaited reply.

"RM. Krishnan" <poo at GIASMD01.VSNL.NET.IN> at Wed, 18 Oct 2000 20:47:53
+0530 wrote
>>   I can think of few customs which are common to Dravidians.>
> 1. Wide prevalence of cross-cousin marriages
> 2. Worship of Mother Goddess, especially Kali (=KoRRavai), Iyyanaar like
> deities, etc
> 3. Prevalence of Parisam (instead of dowry) among castes who have not
> adopted Brahminized practices.
> 4. Importance given to maternal uncle rather than father in many family
> rites and rituals.
> 5. Tradition of keeping a few weapons like spear, arivAl, trishul etc as a
> family property handed over through generations and bringing them out for
> showing on few solemn occasions (after polishing them, oiling them and
> garlanding them) to show valor.

Since I have been influenced by the philosophy of Bertrand Russell, I am
analysing your proposition logically. Your proposition ("I can think of few
customs which are common to Dravidians")can be taken as "all these
following customs is found among one group of people and one only. Moreover
this group is identical to Dravidian speakers".

You have enumerated the 5 customs (even though this is not exhaustive) and
the people in question are the speakers of Brahui, Malto, Kudukh, Gondi,
Konda, Kui, Manda,Parji, Gadaba, Kolami, Pengo, Naiki, Kuvi, Telugu, Tulu,
Kannada, Kodagu, Toda, Kota, Malayalam, Tamil.  These customs are also put
in contradistinction to "brahminised practices". To some extent the first
of your propositions i.e. these 5 customs are found among only one group of
people does not make any sense until we come to the second proposition i.e.
this group is identical to the speakers of the 18 languages.

My first reaction is whether do you have any anthropological studies
connecting these customs connecting them exclusively to these speakers.
Even a cursory examination of each of these customs shows the untenability
of your proposition.
1.Cross-cousin marriages. It is practiced not only in the South India , but
also in Pakistan (Punjabi speakers) and Arabian countries also. Punjabi and
Arabic are not Dravidian languages. Hence your proposal falls flat here.
And do you have any studies to show the Wide prevalence of cross-cousin
marriages among all the 18 types of Dravidian speakers? Even in South India
, do you have any study to show what percentage of marriages are cross
2.Worship of Mother goddess. This has been practiced for the last 6000
years in different societies in all continents. Remember Saraswati of the
Vedas or various Mesapatomian religions like Ishtar, Nanna and others.
Roughly speaking outside Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions worship of
Goddess is prevelant. (Even in Christianity there is Virgin Mary)
3.Prevalence of Parisam- Are you saying there is no dowry among most castes
in Tamilnadu and do you have any study to show the extent of dowry (defined
as pre-marital payment in cash and kind by the bride to the bridegroom)
among the speakers of these 18 languages. In any case in Islamic societies
there is meher i.e. payment by the groom to the bride. You have not shown
the exclusive connection of absense of dowry to the dravidian speakers.
4.Importance to maternal uncle than to father: Again there has been no
study to prove any exclusion connection between the custom and the speakers
of 18 languages. Can you point to any study which proves this with respect
to at least Telugu speakers?
5.Tradition of keeping a few weapons like spear, etc: Again you offer no
evidence to back up your statement.

Your statement is more an ideological statement than a statement of science
which can be verified objectively. If you want I can name this ideology

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list