SV: SV: SV: Kinship systems

RM. Krishnan poo at GIASMD01.VSNL.NET.IN
Wed Oct 18 15:17:53 UTC 2000

At 10:17 AM 10/18/00 +0100, you wrote:

>Just because hisorical documents don't exist for a particular geoup does not
>give you license to call them whatever you fancy. A good example is again
>India. Written documents exist in India only for the last 2500 years, ( Of
>course forgetting for a moment Indus writings, which no one has deciphered
>with any degree of confidence so far) but the caste or group consciouness
>predate this period.

Can you please give evidence/reference to show that caste or group
consciousness predate this period? I thought it was all tribal
consciousness in 500 BC. I didn't know that caste existed by then.

>Much of vedic and post vedic literature was carried on
>orally as well as social groupings was carried on by memory which predates
>written documents
>This is no license to fabricate ethnic identities for others. The
>untenability of "Dravidian" ethnic identity  can be seen in your or
>Dr.Ganesan's ignorance of everyday Gondi speech. Two days back I asked
>Dr.Ganesan to translate into Gondi an everryday conversation if he has
>visited Gonds. But he has not yet come back which is most probably due to
>his inability to do it. I am not casting aspersions on anyone's scholastic
>abilitiers, but claining ethnic identity of Tamils and Gonds when even a
>language scholor of Tamil background does not know Gondi or cannot even
>distinguish Gonds from others.
>As was pointed out L.Fosse, ethnos comes from the Greek word which meant a
>community who have similar customs, outlook, institutions, etc. Above all
>they can communicate with each other on a daily basis and have a more
>meaningful dialogue. Ancient greeks considered themselves one ethnic
>community in which Romans or Persians were excluded. A Greek from Syracuse
>could take a boat and travel to any of the Greek cities in Greece itself or
>Asia Minor or Southern Italy or Black Sea ports including Crimea. He could
>talk and be understood without a problem people at any social level about
>the latest Olympic games or latest Delphic Oracle or the latest play from
>Thucydides. This was the sense in which they meant ethnos. All this is
>unlike you or Dr.Ganesan who claim ethnic identity with Gonds but will be
>struggling what to say if faced with real Gonds. If you live with Gonds , do
>you seriously believe they can discuss with you Thirukural or the latest
>group of singers in Madras Music Festivel. When you can't even understand
>Gondi what talk will you talk with them.
>Or take a modern ethnic group Latino. A latino from Havana - whether of
>Euopean features or Negro or Indian features- can easily travel in any bus
>in Cancun or Quito or Valparaiso or Beunos Aires.- and even travel to Cadiz
>or Barcelona without any problems in communicating with anyone He can talk
>to the fellow passengers on Maradona or dance Salsa or enjoy the pop music
>blaring out in the bus speakers.
>Can you say of this of you or Dr.Ganesan travelling to Gond districts? No.
>All this makes dravidian ethnic identity a farce and a joke. But it has to
>be. You are making what a logician calls categorical error. Dravidian is a
>linguistic category cioned in the 19th century, but you are transposing to
>another category viz human communities. This faulty thinking process has
>stunted the understanding of the people in India. As if to cover up this
>logical error, there is a high decibel usage of 'dravidian' - Gonds are
>Dravidian, Dravidian Kings, Dravidian poet Thiruvalluvar, Dravidians were
>defeated by Aryans  and so on. and so forth.

Why do you want to deny the Dravidian commonness? What is wrong with that?

I think you are reading between the lines and going overboard in your
anxiety to deny the Dravidian identity.  Your condescending tone above
clearly indicates so.

What would you say about Indian identity? Are you not an Indian? If one can
talk about an Indian community because you have few similar customs,
outlook, institutions, etc. with few others, then why  can not one talk
about a Dravidian Identity?

  I can think of few customs which are common to Dravidians.

1. Wide prevalence of cross-cousin marriages
2. Worship of Mother Goddess, especially Kali (=KoRRavai), Iyyanaar like
deities, etc
3. Prevalence of Parisam (instead of dowry) among castes who have not
adopted Brahminized practices.
4. Importance given to maternal uncle rather than father in many family
rites and rituals.
5. Tradition of keeping a few weapons like spear, arivAl, trishul etc as a
family property handed over through generations and bringing them out for
showing on few solemn occasions (after polishing them, oiling them and
garlanding them) to show valor.

There are many more of these practices. In the modern times, of course,
Brahminized practices have intruded so much that identifying older
Dravidian practices may prove to be difficult. ( For example, with the
Maharashtra practice of Ganesh Chadhurthi, now being propagated through-out
the south very much by the Hindutvadhis, I wonder what happens to our own
ThEr and theppam festivals in different places. After some time somebody
may say Ganesh Chadhurthi is Pan -Indian and Tamilians do not have any
religious festival on their own. It has already happened to the Karthikai
festival in Tamil Nadu. Now Deepavali which is a North Indian variation of
Karthikai) has become more important than Karthikai proper in Tamil Nadu.
Karthikai theepam is declining gradually. Why festivals? Even our own
Dravidian religions of Saivam and VaiNavam have been subsumed/ submerged
into the so-called Hindu religion/ SanAthana Dharma) .

Still I am completely at a loss to see your response. Have you not watched
or at least read about tribal practices even now exhibited, despite the
onslaught of pan-Indian ones? There are so many common things prevalent in
the four southern states and also few regions in MP, Orissa, and Bihar
(where other Dravidian tribes are residing even now.)

What are you driving at? You say we are only Indian and not
Dravidian?  Will not a Dutchman or a German feel some commonality among

A German is 'Deutch' proper, has a few Germanic features sharing with
Nordics, Danes, Dutch, Friscian, English and others, with still
broader  European attributes and some scanty Indo-European commonalities.

Likewise, I feel I am a Tamil, have a few common Dravidian features, with
some Indian attributes, and some stray Asian Commonalities.

>The western scholors are colluding in this  error even though they won't
>allow such an error while talking about Westerners. When a western scholor
>talks of Scottish ethnicity, he means only Scottish, not English nor Irish
>not Italian. When someone talks of French ethnicity , nobody mixes them with
>Armenians or Spanish
>Only when you come to India any error can be committed because it sells.
>There are vested political interests which benefit by active collusion in a

Who is in Maya?

With Regards,

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