Brahman divisions

S Krishna mahadevasiva at
Sat Jun 7 21:35:23 UTC 1997

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>In Maharashtra, the 
>>Konkanastha community seems to be having a low opinion of just about 
>>subsect....The Shenvi/Gauda Saraswat Brahmins are the descendants of 
>>outcasted Konkanstha youth and a Sudra woman who collected cow dung 
>>while the Karhade Brahmin are supposed to be the descended from the 
>>carcass of a dead donkey.
>This is total news for me. By the way I am a Koaknastha, and for a 
>was married to a Deshastha. 

 Well, I myself didn't know this till a while ago till I happened
to read this in Arthur Crawfords book "Our troubles in the Deccan
and Poona" where he goes into an indepth analysis of the characteristics 
of the locally dominant communities.  He also mentions the fact there 
was a DEsastha Brahmin in the town of Wai who tried to
discredit the Chitpavan community's Brahminness on the basis
of the SAhyadri Khand around 1814. BajiRao II(The last Peshwa)
made life difficult for this man and as a precaution against
further trouble, confisicated as many copies of the SAhyadri
Khand from non-Konkanasthas.
                                  The part about their called
"Cobras" has been mentioned by a quite a few natives of Poona
. The fact that it is contraction of "KOnkanastha BRAhman" 
was mentioned by M. A. Patterson, who has researched  and published
 extensively on the Konkanastha community. She has an interesting
tract on the Poona riots of 1948( after the assasination of Gandhi)
where she mentions this fact. She also quotes the distinguished
economist Dr D.R.GAdgil on the Konkanastha tendency to look down
upon everybody else as being inferior to them- According to Dr Gadgil
, this tendency came from the fact that most Chitpavan Brahmins had
"Khot" rights in villages along the Konkan coast. Given the fact
that they were the local village tax collectors and could objections
from other villagers, they took it for "granted" that they could
assert their superiority in other areas or places.

>The perjoratives that I do knwo that each of these sub-castes utter 
>each other are more in the line of - Kokanasthas being very stingy 

Of course, this fact has also been mentioned by many commentators
on Maharashtra and Poona. No less a Konkanastha than Bal Gangadhar
Tilak is quoted as saying that while the Chitpavan/Konkanastha
Brahmins should pride themselves on their frugality, they must learn
from the Desasthas in terms of being charitable. Commenting on the
fact that the Konkanstha contribution to the freedom movement is
completely out of proportion to their numbers, the noted historian
D.D.Kosambi says "All that can be infered from this is that while
a Chitpavan doesn't think twice about sacrificing his life for the 
country, he would think atleast a hundred times even before he opened
his purse.":-) 
>penny pinching, and the Deshasthas having no discipline etc.
>And as for the "Cobras" i have not heard the perjorative. Infact, I 
>many times (along with a lot of others that i know ) have called myself
>Cobra, more as a shorthand than anything else.

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