Brahman divisions.

Anshuman Pandey apandey at
Fri Jun 6 02:36:14 UTC 1997

To add my $0.02 to this discussion...

There is a story I've been told about the Kanaujiya and Sarayupariya
brahmanas of Uttar Pradesh. I don't know the validity of this story or
whether it refers to the origin of a rift within the Kanaujiya ranks, the
Sarayupariya ranks, or to the rift between these two brahmana classes
which were once considered to be unified.

The recension of the story I heard says that the Kanaujiya brahmanas are
said to call their cross-river brothers, the Sarayupariya brahmanas,
"miiThaa caubes" or "soft Chaubes" (lit. sweet Chaubes), while calling
themselves "ka.Davaa caubes" or "strong Chaubes" (lit. bitter Chaubes).
If this is the case, then I think this story stems from a day when the
Sarayupariyas were not identified separately from the Kanaujiyas, and is a
folk-legend on how the two groups split. Otherwise, it could just be a
story referring to a division within one of the two groups.

The story goes as when some brahmanas of the Kanaujiyas were heading home
from performing a sacrifice, along the way they met a female member of
their village running towards them, how explained to them that some bad
guys were raping the women and pillaging the village and that they were
headed that-a-way. Upon hearing this, some of the brahmanas were enraged
and appealed to the group to chase down the thugs and punish them for
their evil deeds. However, some members protested saying it was
"unbrahmanical" to invite a scuffle, while others were ready to roll up
their dhotiis, er.. sleeves. The protestors lost out, were called "miiThe"
for being too cowardice to even defend their women and homes, and 
ostracized. Those with a fighting disposition became known as "ka.Davaa"
and were hailed for upholding the honor of their community.

I don't know if these "ka.Davaas" ever got their men.

If anyone can shed some light on this story, perhaps a different version,
or a correction, I'd be more than happy to hear it. I've looked for more
than two years now and haven't yet seen a reference to it. I'd
personally like to get to the roots of this story. Perhaps once I
make my trip to India this September, I'll try to dig this story up. But
until then, a "miiThaa caube" I'll remain.

Anshuman Pandey

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