varna and jati

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 27 16:52:48 UTC 1999

Vidhya writes :

>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

I'm quite aware of this. But the miniscule minority that Namboodiris are,
couldn't have had 'sambandham' with the whole of the non-brahmin population.
And from what I've seen, Keralites, whichever caste they might belong to,
are generally fair in complexion. This is the reason that I attribute
differences in complexion, skin color etc to climatic conditions than any
racial origin.

Another thing to observe is that non-brahmin Keralites seem to have a
distinct culture of their own, quite different from the Tamils - food,
housing, dress, social customs, festivals etc. Considering that the
exponents of the AIT, hold that both people have the same racial,
civilizational origins - apart from the fact that Illango Adigal was the
brother of Cheran Senguttuvan, has there been a serious study analyzing the
similarities, differences between the two peoples? (Actually apart from the
Tamils none of the other "Dravidians" (Keralites, Andhrites, Kannadigas?
Marathas?) seem keen on claiming a Dravidian heritage or links with Tamil.
Even in communist Kerala, Samskrutam flourishes!).

A few months ago there was an article in the magazine India Today, about
some kind of genetic research on different castes in India, being conducted
by the University of Andhra Pradesh in collaboration with some University in
the US. And yesterday there was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle,
which carried further information about the same research - that the upper
castes have a particular "Y chromosome DNA", which can be traced to Europe.

But what this exactly proves is beyond me!

Ganesan writes :

>FYI, Thevars are not among the rich castes; In general,
>their land, Ramnad dist. is perennially dry; On maRavar,
>see CilappatikAram. Thevar vs. Untouchables fights are
>on the rise because today, some sections of Dalits are richer than
>upper castes.

Maybe I'm mistaken about the Thevars. But if it's not them it's somebody
else (Kallar or whoever), but definitely not brahmins. Brahmins in Tamil
Nadu are for the most part only the middle class, predominantly in the
service industry (my grandfather never tired of saying, "a brAhmana should
never go into business"). Some are pretty poor too.

I read about the division of castes amongst the Tamils, in KA Nilakanta
Shastri's History of South India. And if I remember right V Iyer, also
mentioned it, in a post recently.

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