varna and jati

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 27 00:11:04 UTC 1999

>racial origin. For eg : in Kerala, even the non-brahmins - the so called
>drAvidians - the Menons, Nairs, Nambiars - are quite fair complexioned. And
>I've even seen some Namboodiris not quite so fair! I would safely rule out
>any argument of inter caste marriages, as the Namboodiris are amongst the
>most casteist brahmins in BhArath.

Bad example for the point you are making. The non-Brahmin castes in Kerala
have substantial Brahmin genetic heritage, through Kerala's unique social
setup. Among Nambudiri families, the tradition was that only the eldest son
married a Nambudiri girl, while the younger sons married (or had
'sambandham' with, to use Keralite terminology) women of other castes. The
children of these marriages were considered to belong to the mother's caste.

One would think that in this day and age, people would be more aware of
general scientific thought, and on this list, with anthropology too. It is
surprising, the frequency with which caste and race are confused with each
other. The concept of 'race' based on such a superficial (literally)
phenotypic characteristic like skin color is quite outmoded, except in
discussions of social prejudice in countries like the USA and South Africa.


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