Kinship systems

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 15 13:24:28 UTC 2000

"V.C.Vijayaraghavan" <vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK> wrote:
>>Many of the Gond language may have many similarities with Tamil or
>>Kannada, but it does not say about how Gonds view
>>themselves nor does it say anything about Gonds themselves

As the Afghanis regard themselves as a lost tribe of Israel, does
that make them Near-Eastern or Jewish? Their language still
is E. Iranian and thus Indo-Iranian... And, they are Muslim.

I am not sure if "iDaGkai/valaGkai" division based on
how the jobs of certain castes will fit to describe
the peoples who speak a language. Have these terms
(non-existent even in Telugu) been applied to
Punjabis or Assamese in literature?

"In the Tamil country they are identified as
right-hand castes and left-hand castes: the land
holding castes are right and the trading castes
are left. Although Telugu does not have exactly
equivalent labels, the ideological separation
between the caste groups follows the same lines
as in Tamil Nadu. The bhaktas associated with
the stories and legends of BP come prominently
from the left-hand castes-artisans, merchants,
washermen, potters, tanners, and the like; or they
come from such socially marginal groups as burglars,
hunters, prostitutes and pimps." (p. 10,
"Siva's warriors, The Basava purana of Palkuriki

In Indian society, the "left hand" is considered
"dirty, out-of-the norm" etc., Eg., in the tantra
practices. Seeing the list of groups, people
may protest to be called "left-handed".
Atleast to my mind, this "hand" division operates
within a langauge group, but amongst tribes.
But at a higher macro-level,nothing wrong to call
folks as Punjabis, Tamils, and Assamese. Punjabis,
like others can be grouped under religion also.

In the literature on ancient India,
one commonly encounters the terms like Aryans,
Dravidians, and Mundas etc., Here Mundas refer
to folks speaking any Munda language and so on.
In that context, right hand or left hand divisions
don't seem to work.

N. Ganesan

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