varna and jati

Mani Varadarajan mani at SHASTA.STANFORD.EDU
Sat May 22 04:29:06 UTC 1999

> Varna (`colour') is `race' or `caste', meaning skin colour.
> Jati is `professional guild'.

I respectfully disagree. While 'varNa' does mean 'social caste',
and literally also means color, it does *not* mean skin color,
nor does it mean race. Or at least, it doesn't unequivocally mean
so.  Translating (or even footnoting) as such would be misleading.

jAti means 'genus'. In the vernaculars in India, jAti invariably
means 'caste' or 'community'. It most definitely does not mean
'professional guild' in the general sense.


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