Kinship systems

V.C.Vijayaraghavan vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK
Sun Oct 15 21:30:33 UTC 2000

----- Original Message -----
From: "N. Ganesan" <naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM>
Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2000 2:24 PM
Subject: Re: Kinship systems

> "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.

There is no single 'Afghani's tribe or ethnicity or language. There are
Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tadjhiks, Balochs  and various other tribal and
ethnic groups deposited there by the tides of history, each having their own
language, not all of them E.Iranian. Moreover if you ask a Pashtun, he will
simply say he is a Pashtun, Beyond that no other classification will make
sense to him.  Flipping through a dozen Afghan sites, not a single one makes
the claim that a lost tribe of Israel is resident in that Afghanistan. Can
you point to a single site maintained by any ethnic group in Afghanistan
which makes a serious claim about Israel connection?. But in any case we
know the self-definition of different tribals/ethnicities in afghanistan:
Pashto, Hazara, etc and nothing is based on any Isreali connection.

> 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.

So for any ethnic term to "work", it must find  a reference in Sanskrit
literature and not something by which a people refer to themselves?
Sanskrit lierature also refers to Kiratas, Nishadas, Nagas and many other
groups.  No group can be placed geographically o linguistically with any
precision. How "commonly" one encounters the term "dravida"? You are
mentioning it as if such a term is strewn across the entire corpus of
sanskrit literature in abundance.

Why should Indian ethnography be so sanskrit-centric, that too
inappropriately? Before you can ethnic division of Gonds  as "dravidian",
let us do a simple thought experiment.

You are travelling in a bus, through the districts predominantly occupied by
Gonds (you can tell us which districts are they)  One man in a strange
clothing and sits a next to you and tells in Gond language "Sir, I am going
to sleep now. I have woked for the last three days with hardly any rest and
I am very tired now.  I must get down in 4 bus stops. Please wake me up when
the 4th bus stop appraches". What would be his clothing which will
unmistakably place him as a Gond and please provide the trasliteration into
Gond what he asked.

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