Color of Skin

Peter J. Claus pclaus at
Wed May 14 15:08:27 UTC 1997

Ganesan.  Hello!

I'm sure you're familiar with the many texts that utilize this varna
scheme.  But I do not know whether they use it in relation to skin color.
That is an extrapolation, albeit I think a fairly common one. I suspect it
occurs primarily in conversational tradition, rather than textual

However, I, too, would be interested in any textual references
to this abstract color correspondance schem and skin color of individuals
or groups.  Help, please.

On Tue, 13 May 1997 GANESANS at wrote:

> Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 22:18:46 BST
> From: GANESANS at
> Reply-To: indology at
> To: Members of the list <indology at>
> Subject: RE: Color of Skin
>                 COLOR OF SKIN
>                **************
> Prof. P. Claus wrote:
> +varna is related to an abstract color scheme, with white
> +associated with Brahman, red with Ksatriya, or yellow with
> +Vaishya, black with Sudra; and various steriotypical behaviours
> +correlated with this.
> Can anybody please give some references? I want to know how black color
> of skin is associated with things mean from Indian writings.
> Interestingly, I heard from a student at Columbia university that
> why Blacks detested the word, "Nigger"? Nigger, it seems in Latin
>  not only means black, but "evil". He informed me: the humanistic philosopher
> Nietzsche discusses this in his famous book, "Beyond Good
> and Evil". Any relevent passage from Nietzsche's writings will be appreciated.
> Any parallel thoughts from Sanskrit works? Manu? smricandrika?
> chaturvargachintAmaNi? Any subaltern research papers on how Shudras 
> were denigrated in Indian elite writings?
> Thanks,
> N. Ganesan

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