Brahman divisions.

Peter J. Claus pclaus at
Fri Jun 6 13:57:41 UTC 1997


The various contributions to the list on characterization of Brahman
divisions have been interesting.  Most have been in the nature of
"sayings" or "aphorisms", short, one-line stereotypes.  These exist for
other castes, too, both for sections within a caste as well as for a caste
as a whole (in relation to a local caste system). In Tulu this is a major
part of a particular folk genre and lists of caste stereotypes like this,
interspersed with short melody and dance, are performed by a particular
caste of performers (low caste) during a particular season, traveling door
to door. 

Anshuman Pandey's short story is also commonly found in Indian folklore. 
Like the one he cites, the story explains the name of two sub-groups. 
Again, these can be found for many castes and at all levels of society. 
One of the most frequent themes is, as in the one cited, cowardice in the
face of violence to their women (or pollution of the caste line). See eg. 
Narayana Rao's essay, "Epics and Ideology: Six Telugu Folk Epics" in
_Another Harmony: New Essays in the Folklore of India_ ed. Ramanujan and
Blackburn.  As several epics mentioned in that article indicate, some of
these stories develop into major ritual performance events.

All of the examples cited so far are from oral tradition. I would expect
that some of these kinds of stories find their way (no doubt transformed)
into "puranas" (caste puranas) and the Brahman written tradition. No?

Peter Claus

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