SV: SV: SV: Kinship systems

V.C.Vijayaraghavan vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK
Sat Oct 14 20:30:48 UTC 2000

----- Original Message -----
From: "Swaminathan Madhuresan" <smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM>
Sent: Friday, October 13, 2000 3:34 PM
Subject: Re: SV: SV: SV: Kinship systems

> --- "V.C.Vijayaraghavan" <vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK> wrote:
> > In any case Idangai/valngai has the merit of
> > being self-referrents and hence better candidates for ethnicity - and
> > something imposed by "outsiders" to the system.
> I do not know how the Tamil classification, not found in any other
> language groups, of "Idangai/valngai" will be "better candidates for
> ethnicity". In India or elsewnhere in the world, it is not used in
> Does anyone advocate this?

Dear Sir

You still confuse the nature of ethnic identity to the extent on can talk of
it. Ethnic identity of a group of people is not something fabricated by
someone thousands of away (or even in situ) in a foreign language and who
has no allegiance to their culture or tradition or aspirations or history.

It comes through a peoples struggle for existence, in the heat and passion
of political debates , in the toiling masses of fields and factories, in the
sublimity  of religious emotions , in the families and homes , in the need
to make a livelihood by everyone, in their attachment to their land ,
landscape and culture .

Above all , their group identity (or ethnic identity) is expressed by
themselves in their own language after generations of trial and errors.

Scholars can only study ethnic identities (if they  so choose). Scholars
cannot  fabricate one for some people to whose society, culture and
traditions, they have no allegiance whatsoever - which will come only by
being an 'insider'

BTW, I am not saying that idangai/valangai 'is' the ethnic identity of
medieval south Indians. All I am saying you can look at ethnic identities
only in their own terms and in their own words as expressed in literature or
other historical documents.

> By the way, there is nothing wrong in something good coming from
> outside and using it. For example, human flight machines - though
> "brihad-vimAna-shastrams" tell us that planes were invented in
> India.

We are not talking of material culture -real or imagined- but how a certain
people defined themselves in their own language. If idangai/valangai is not
good enough for you and only some Sanskrit word is good enough, that is not
the issue. But you must respect dead people by calling them as they called

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