[INDOLOGY] Religious Literature with Political Purposes

Arlo Griffiths arlogriffiths at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 8 09:26:21 UTC 2015

Dear Professor Paturi,

Thanks for this email and separate correction. By "Brahmin jātis" I mean endogamous groups who all claim Brahmin status but do not now (or did not traditionally) intermarry. To stay with your example, if it is true that Vaidikis and Niyogis do not intermarry, then they would in my understanding be separate jātis. In Orissa, among the Vaidikas certainly do not intermarry with non-Vaidika Brahmins, and even among the Vaidikas, I believe that at least in the past Brahmins of the different Vedas tended not to intermarry, so that each Veda forms an endogamous group. I suppose this is what you mean by sub-caste, but it has always seemed to me most useful to retain the term 'caste' for any single endogamous group, to take 'caste' as English translation of 'jāti', and to consider Brahmins as together forming a varṇa (i.e., not a 'caste' but a superordinate category); if this works, then I am not sure we need to use a term like 'sub-caste'. Please let me know if you have any objection.

Would anybody be able to confirm that also for North India, census reports give only very low percentages of the total population as claiming Brahmin status?

Best wishes,

Arlo Griffiths

Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2015 12:03:13 +0530
From: nagarajpaturi at gmail.com
To: indology at list.indology.info
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Religious Literature with Political Purposes

>And if indeed we pool all Brahmins jātis together, I had thought that this pool ends up representing substantial percentages of population in given regions.
Dear Prof. Arlo Griffiths, Can you elaborate more on what you mean by all Brahmin jatis? Among Telugu speaking Brahmins, there is the distinction between Vaidikis (Brahmins who did not move into administrative occupation) and Niyogis (Brahmins who moved into administrative occupation). Similar such distinctions appear to exist in other parts of India too.  Are you keeping such sub-caste categories in mind?  At least in south India, there are a big number of villages where there is no Brahmin of any variety.  The small percentages of Brahmins shown for statistical purposes are all from census where a person belonging to any sub-variety of Brahmin to have claimed during census enumerations to be non-Brahmin.  You probably have some other kind of data in mind when you say Brahmin jatis. Can you please elaborate?  
Prof.Nagaraj PaturiHyderabad-500044

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