Hinduism: once was: RAJARAM EPISODE

Robert Zydenbos zydenbos at GMX.LI
Sat Oct 7 22:54:49 UTC 2000

Am 6 Oct 2000, um 17:00 schrieb Ven. Tantra:

> Robert Zydenbos wrote:
> <<Do you mean 'jaati' when you use the word 'caste'?>>
> No sir. I have quoted verbatim. My chanced-upon
> informants responded in English. They used the English
> expression “caste-Christian.”

It makes little difference. 'Jaati' means little more than 'a group
of people' / 'community' distinguished by whatever characteristics.
If their neighbours refer to them as a 'jaati' (which is commonly
translated in English as 'caste', following the Portuguese 'casta'), they
learn to identify themselves in those surroundings as a 'jaati' / 'caste'
and will say so. But as the illustrations in my previous message show, this
identification as a 'jaati' / 'caste' as hardly a basis for determining
whether a person belongs to a religious or social community termed 'Hindu' (or
even 'Indian'). It is a label in very flexible use in South Asian society, and
its use in itself does not necessarily indicate inclusion of the other
person / group of persons in the group of the speaker in any sense.

Prof. Dr. Robert J. Zydenbos
Institut f�r Indologie und Iranistik
Universit�t M�nchen
E-mail zydenbos at gmx.de

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