[INDOLOGY] query: 18 ;sre.nii jaatis

Whitney Cox wmcox at uchicago.edu
Sun Oct 6 19:55:57 UTC 2013

Dear all,

In an earlier off-list message to Patrick, I suggested that the hīnajatayaḥ
in question might have been part of the 'left-hand' communities in the far
South, sometimes reckoned as eighteen in number.  In the light of Ashok and
Madhav's interesting comments, I would like to revise that suggestion, and
instead propose that we might see here a reflex of another set of
South-Indian caste-communities referred to in Tamil as the kuṭimakkaḷ,
perhaps best rendered 'people of the village'.  The entry s.v. in the
Madras Tamil Lexicon reads (with my transliteration and bracketed

kuṭimakkaḷ , *n*. < id. +. 1. Sub-castes rendering service in a village,
being 18 in number, viz.,vaṇṇāṉ [washerman], nāvitaṉ [barber], kuyavaṉ
[potter], taṭṭāṉ [goldsmith], kaṉṉāṉ [brazier], kaṟṟaccaṉ [mason],
kollaṉ [blacksmith], taccaṉ [carpenter], eṇṇeyvāṇikaṉ [oil merchant],
uppuvāṇikaṉ [salt merchant], ilaivāṇikaṉ [betel merchant], paḷḷi
[watchman], pūmālaikkāraṉ [garland maker], paṟaiyaṉ [Dalit, pariah],
kōvilkuṭiyāṉ [conch-blower], occaṉ [? another Dalit community], valaiyaṉ
[fisherman], pāṇaṉ [tailor].

Note that this list begins with washermen, just like Devaṇṇabhaṭṭa's.  I
recall reading somewhere--though I may be misremembering--that there is
some suggestion that D. hailed from the Dravidian south, thus possibly
making this list a good potential set of parallels to the Smṛticandrikā.
 Of course, sets of eighteen are very common, and the particular contents
of any such list liable to vary according to time, place, and



On Sun, Oct 6, 2013 at 2:14 PM, Ashok Aklujkar <ashok.aklujkar at gmail.com>wrote:

> I earlier wrote: "The listed business communities could have had
> distinctive turbans or headdresses.< Another possibility is that all of
> them or almost all of them customarily wore some kind of turban or head
> covering (not necessarily a distinctive one for each of them).
> The people mentioned are only *relatively* hiina or 'lower, inferior' They
> are not in the lowest stratum.Having a headdress could have served to
> distinguish them.
> It is very common in the listed communities even today in India  to have a
> cap or turban on the head.
> a.a.
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