Indian caste system bleg

by on August 26, 2017 at 7:19 pm in Books, History, Religion | Permalink

What should I read to better understand the Indian caste system?  I thank you all in advance for your assistance.

1 Steve Sailer August 26, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Is there anything on caste that focuses on analytically explaining the main patterns?

I always get lost in the endless minutia of most conventional accounts.

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2 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 8:09 am

Alex

These are largely left-wing radical perspectives. We do need to understand the system from within. No system sans merit can last over 2 millennia.

Some comments on caste –

a) Firstly important to distinguish Varna and Jaati. Varna is synonymous with four large social classes (the priests/scholars, the warriors, the merchants / agriculturists, the laborers / service providers. These are not occupation based castes, but a much broader division of society. This is the system that dates back to atleast 1500 BCE. But marriages between these classes was not uncommon at all! Inter-varna marriages were fairly common right up to the end of 1st millennium AD.

Jaati on the other hand refers to “caste” as it is understood today. These are more strictly endogamous, more numerous, and smaller groups, often specific to regions, many of which may lack a “varna” identity. It is during the British Raj that a very conscious attempt was made to slot these Jaatis into the four Varna boxes. Not that such efforts weren’t done in the past, but the effort intensified with the coming of British indology and the popularisation of highly simplistic versions of “Aryan race” theories.

While Varna has some support in scriptures, Jaati is entirely secular, and mainly a consequence of Indian heterogeneity.

b) Reasons for the rise of Varnas
– Racial heterogeneity
– Concern with conservation of religious traditions and personal habits. (India is arguably the only society on earth where there is a definite continuity of philosophy and civilization for the past 3000 years. While the modern Greek is hardly related to Plato or Aristotle in temperament or philosophy, modern Indians can actually relate to the philosophers who penned the Gita around 400BCE.)
– Distaste for violence and confrontation and revolution (India is a remarkably low-crime society, and also a remarkably happy society given its per-capita levels. Also ethnic cleansing is almost unheard of in Indian history. It’s a society that has seen far far less violence than most other Eurasian societies)
– Lastly the Indian obsession with righteousness and distaste for equality. The Indian mind sees a tradeoff between these two. All men are not equal. People deserve different things in proportion to their ability and nature. Equality is a mirage one cannot reach and the urge for it stems from base qualities like jealousy and lust. If X earns 10 times Y, he probably deserves to. And trying to reduce this gap is evil, unjust, and downright immoral.

c) Reasons for the rise of Jaatis
– Social security
– Coping with a weak state (Jaati provides many of the services that the Indian state is inefficient at providing).
– Development of specialized guilds / skill sets within families in the absence of a formal education system

Sure…everything I mentioned is questionable and worthy of being challenged. But there needs to be an appreciation of the conservative view. An assessment of either Varna or Jaati cannot purely come from reading confrontational, radical literature.

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3 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 8:13 am

Sorry…replied to wrong comment

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4 Sir Dingly Dang August 27, 2017 at 11:55 am

* No system sans merit can last over 2 millennia.
Like slavery perhaps?

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5 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Sure. It’s because of slavery that African Americans are the most prosperous people of African descent in the whole wide world!

Who do you think is richer today? The slaves who stayed back in US or the ones who were deported back to freedom in Sierra Leone and Liberia in early 19th century ?

Nothing in this world is an unmitigated evil. Sure, slavery had to go. And society reached a consensus on that (atleast 50% of people reached that consensus). I appreciate that.

I don’t think there is a consensus in Indian society that caste has to go. Sure …the law has to treat everyone the same. No doubt about that. But the law has no right to regulate private lives and private preferences

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6 vin August 28, 2017 at 10:12 pm

shrikanthk, your post is bullshit.. A pathetic attempt to justify one of the most evil system!

You are clearly one of the beneficiaries of this caste system.

7 shrikanthk August 29, 2017 at 6:54 am

“one of the most evil system”

Correction : systems…

It would be good to use proper grammar

8 gandhi August 27, 2017 at 4:42 pm

“No system sans merit can last over 2 millennia”.

Is that the one reason you could find to base your whole intellectual tower on the ivory cloud no?

Lets call it what it is. Bullshit. and you label people who hold other perspectives as “radical” and you produce bullshit at such a prolific pace that I am not even going to try to keep up with you. It takes an order of magnitude more effort to refute bullshit than to produce it. So not gonna try it.

But I just want people to know that this is bullshit. It didn’t have to exist, it didn’t exist in any other major civ. It might have one or two accidental benefits (Just like killing 10 million men, women and children of Iraq led to getting rid of Saddam). But the caste system was the ultimate bad deal made by a once great civ. It didn’t have to exit, and any careful reading of non-confrontational literature and harvard prose is just smelling your own intellectual farts and trying to interpret the fart sounds as pleasant music.

Caste system is what led to decay in India. Indians are a bunch of in-breds. No, I am not using it as a derogatory term, it is a simple fact, that’s what caste system does, it makes you breed among maybe not your siblings, but very very close. Many Indians have a ton of genetic problems due to this. And the genetic pool of India is on average weaker than most other populations due to this.

Caste system also led to an inbreeding of idea space. After 2000 years of inbreeding a great majestic civ became rubble and its idea space went into an evolutionary corner and is trying hard to die. Except OP here doesn’t want to let it. He wants to propagate the idea for another 1000 years and wipe out the people and lose any remaining genetic and idea space vitality.

PS: If the username didn’t tip you off, I just wanted to clarify, I am Indian, and I carry a licence to call other indians as in-breds. Do try it at home kids! 🙂

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9 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 4:46 pm

You have absolutely no idea what “inbreeding” is.

Cousin marriage is uncommon in India, atleast in North India. Southern India has a cousin marriage problem. But that has nothign to do with caste.

And yes, most of humanity was engaged in marrying twice or thrice removed cousins until the past 100 years or so. Even in the West.

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10 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 5:02 pm

“it didn’t exist in any other major civ”

Sure. It didn’t. Because other civilizations resorted to ethnic cleansing to handle ethnic, cultural and religious heterogeneity. India, having a distaste for violence, chose to tolerate diversity. Hence the caste system.

Caste system is a consequence of Indian non violence. The alternative would’ve been large scale ethnic cleansing to make India homogeneous.

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11 Careless August 27, 2017 at 7:02 pm

(Just like killing 10 million men, women and children of Iraq led to getting rid of Saddam)

lol

You think almost half the population of Iraq died in the few days before Saddam had to go hiding in his holes? We have a new record for stupidest MR post.

Still, not as bad as the governor of Virginia.

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12 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Haha yes. Thanks for catching that. I’d rather write fact-free opinions than mouth lies like these.

This is where liberalism leads us – a toleration of every shade of stupidity – lest you be labeled racist, sexist, elitist.

13 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 8:52 am

In terms of the general pattern you are looking for, I feel there are three axes –

a) Racial : India is a very very very heterogeneous society. And the origins of the caste system lie in this racial division. It was a non violent way of handling racial heterogeneity.

b) Religious : India as a society places a great deal of weight on conservation of habits and traditions. Rightly or wrongly is a matter of value judgment. “Purity” of habits is something very close to Hindus, far far more than purity of blood. For eg – A vegetarian man would like his son to be a vegetarian. A teetotaller mother would like her daughter to be a teetotaller. How do you ensure this? By marrying someone who shares one’s habits, which vary from one community to other.

c) Philosophical : India as a society is a largely non violent one. We have seen nothng like the 30 years war or Spanish inquisition in our history. It is also a remarkably low crime society. Revolution is a strict no-no. It is better to come to terms with one’s place in life than to besmirch one’s reputation by stealing or lynching a superior. Also Ethnic cleansing is almost unheard of in Indian history. Which is why the Dalits still constitute 15-20% of Indian population. “Inferior” cultures and cultural habits were tolerated and not eradicated by brute force.

d) Social : Jaati is a force of social order and social security. It is both the cause of weakening the tyranny of the state and a consequence of a weak state. Power is local in India. And jaati ensures India remains democratic and does not succumb to violent dictators.

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14 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 9:22 am

Another remark I forgot to make regarding Axes b)

Many of the castes which we think of as “castes” are in fact religious sects. For eg – I belong to a caste called “Iyengars”. There is another brahmin caste in Tamil Nadu (my state of origin) called “Iyers”. These two groups have traditionally not inter-married despite both being brahmins.

Reason – Theological difference. Pure and Simple. There is absolutely no ethnic, or occupational or even social difference between these two groups. Yet they are different purely on account of theological differences.

So the endogamy here is not very dissimilar to a Presbytarian not wanting to marry a Catholic. Or a Mormon not wanting to plight his troth with an Anglican. No different at all.

Yet we think of Iyengars and Iyers as castes. Which they are not. They are two separate religious sects. Pure and simple

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15 Danny1 August 27, 2017 at 10:41 am

All this is mere apologism.

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16 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 10:44 am

Nope.

I am rationalizing it. Not apologetic at all.

Caste is anathema to modern westerners thanks to classical liberal theory that begins with Thomas Hobbes, who conceptualized the “state of nature” and a view of society that looks at atomized individuals.

Traditionally societies have not glorified individualism as much as we do, but have been more agreeable to analyzing society as a group of distinctive collective groups, with their specific geniuses and foibles.

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17 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 10:48 am

Again, rationalizing caste doesn’t imply one supports an unchanging caste system or supports the excesses associated with it.

Caste reform has been a theme in Indian public discourse for atleast 2500 years. There is room for reform and trimming the excesses. That goes without saying.

But that needn’t mean an outright condemnation of a different world view and a slavish glorification of a western conception of life that views society as a collection of independent atomized individuals who are all out to kill each other in a “state of nature”.

18 Danny1 August 27, 2017 at 11:02 am

The Caste System is rational to you?

Doubt people whose men were killed, female family members were raped and houses burned to the ground for having the audacity to chose a profession other than that permitted by their caste, or Gau-mata Forbid, marry outside their caste, would be too happy with their “traditional society”. I also wonder what specific genius you think it is to be born in a stratified social class?

You don’t have to be some Western Liberal to know the Caste System is a total disgrace, and those rationalizing it should be laughed off.

19 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 11:14 am

This shows you have a very limited and partial view of Indian life.

Castes have seldom been exclusively determined by occupation. Many brahmins have been agriculturists, Many kshatriyas have been scholars. Many Shudras have been emperors. And our history is replete with these groups marrying each other. Rising in status. Falling in status.

Ofcourse there are excesses in the system. Indian society’s treatment of the casteless has been horrible to put it mildly. But yet a point to remember that not all Dalits were destitute in all parts of the country. And Dalits have been engaged in professions other than menial jobs for a few centuries now. Dalits by the way were never slaves. Slavery has no real history to speak of in India.

20 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 11:19 am

Also “rationalization” is not the same as defence.

I think Varna and caste are both on their way down and I don’t think that’s an undesirable thing on the whole.

Yet, one’s personal political predilections should not come in the way of a calm meditation on an institution that has shaped 20% of humanity for 3000 years.

21 Danny1 August 27, 2017 at 11:39 am

Again, that’s just sophistry replete with logical fallacies. A few exceptions to the rule doesn’t change millennia of segregation and subjugation. Aggregate statistics are all damning:You are by far the most intellectually disingenuous and dishonest commentator I’ve encountered here.

I have not said occupation determines caste, I said caste ‘confines’ you into a profession.

https://scroll.in/article/807948/just-5-of-marriages-in-india-are-inter-caste-says-report

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/FLn6TiQPArdQZUN9LE2ZsM/The-impact-of-caste-on-economic-mobility-in-India.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgDGmYdhZvU

False equivalency – Endogamy is different than murdering the couple to save your caste’s “honour” and discriminate against other castes by not selling your house to them or allowing them to rent in your housing society. What you’ve mentioned about Christianity are denominations, not hierarchies.

Even if a system shaped 100% of humanity for 5000 years doesn’t mean it’s defensible. Slavery, and polygamy were common before, but thankfully those have been mostly eliminated. (Although India still has a lot of modern-day Slavery https://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2016/06/02/india-has-the-most-people-living-in-modern-slavery/ )

It’s understandable that you’re trying to assuage your own Hindu pride and but please keep your own cognitive dissonance in check, but don’t assume that you can get away with fooling other readers of this blog using silly casuistry.

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22 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 11:59 am

“Endogamy is different than murdering the couple to save your caste’s “honour” and discriminate against other castes by not selling your house to them or allowing them to rent in your housing society.”

Where did I justify honor killing? You are taking up indefensible extreme cases to make generic remarks on a 4000 year old institution.

Every system has its excesses. Modern liberalism has given us opioid addiction, but I dont equate liberalism with opioid addiction!

Sure. Some may have preferences in their house renting habits. But several others don’t care much about caste in matters of business. To each his own.

23 Caligo August 27, 2017 at 1:21 pm

@shrikanthk You have provided no sources or references, just poorly argued statements, and phrases like “most Indians”, “the Indian mind”.

Where is the data, and what on Earth is the “Indian mind”? Are you a telepath?

Just because some tradition has existed for a long time by many people doesn’t make it less barbaric.

You’ve also dos ingeniously tried to invoke the nature-nurture debate. Can you provide the data foe the distribution of IQ across castes?

Danny1 has submitted clear data.

24 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 1:41 pm

What data has he provided? Except for anecdotal evidence on honor killings and other excesses, which no civilized person defends! This is clearly a strawman attack.

Some numbers –

Check out English literacy rates among different castes of North India in 1921. The highest by far are the Kayasths, a caste low in the hierarchy and regarded as a part of the “fourth” varna by most Hindus. A classic example of mobility of this caste during the past 300 years. The Brahmins were way behind the Kayasths in English literacy as early as 1921 – a period we typically associated with the most widespread prevalence of caste system.

Check out the political history of India. Take the Nandas, Mauryas, and then Guptas, Cholas, Pandyas, Kakatiyas….all examples of very very large and dominant Shudra empires! And how about the Mughals and Sultanates – those guys were casteless and yet that didn’t prevent them from ruling large parts of India.

25 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 1:44 pm

And why bring up IQ? I never made any statement on caste wise IQ.

I just made a remark on Nature vs Nurture. And I stick to that. Without taking sides.

26 Doug Schoemer August 26, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Fiction and 20+ years old, but “A Fine Balance” by Mistry is very revealing. I also assume you’ve already read it.

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27 harpersnotes August 26, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Perhaps Done Brown’s book? Hierarchy, History, and Human Nature: The Social Origins of Historical Consciousness

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28 Thiago Ribeiro August 26, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Sociologists have only interpreted the caste system, in various ways; the point is to change it.

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29 Sujatha Gidla August 26, 2017 at 11:18 pm

No. No sociologist could explain caste. Only Marxism can. And the point is, indeed, to change it.

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30 Thiago Ribeiro August 26, 2017 at 11:39 pm

The history of all hitherto Indian societies is the history of caste struggles.

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31 Jaldhar H. Vyas August 27, 2017 at 3:51 am

Sociology is a quack discipline that has pretensions of being scientific and occasionally rises to that level. Marxism is a quack discipline that has pretensions of being scientific but has never risen to that level. In fact it has caused disaster everywhere it has been tried out. (But that’s never “real Marxism” as the true believers will hasten to tell you.) If I can presume to give you advice, stick with the sociology.

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32 Vijay August 26, 2017 at 7:37 pm
33 Anon August 26, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Dumont: Homo Hierarchicus
MN Srinivas: Sanskritization
Singer on Great and Little traditions

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34 Alex Tabarrok August 26, 2017 at 7:49 pm

Ambedkar, The Annihilation of Caste, get the critical edition with the important introduction by Arundhati Roy. Important to understand contemporary events.

Try to find something by Jyotirao Phule, it’s quite difficult to get anything in English but there are some Dalit websites with material. Influenced by Tom Paine, he’s a remarkable character.

Deepak Lal, The Hindu Equilibrium–crazy in many ways but asking the right questions with the right tools.

William Dalrympyle, Nine Lives, not on caste per se but a great read on varieties of Hindu religious experience today. Good for context.

There is some good material also in Rama Ramachandra’s India after Gahdhi and Dalrympyle’s The Age of Kali on the rise of caste leaders like Mayawati and Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Where India Goes, by Coffee and Spears on open defecation and interactions with caste. Very good. I will review soon.

Ajay Verghese, The Colonial Origins of Ethnic Violence in India–there are a lot of bad books about colonialism and caste this one is quite nuanced and actually provides some testable theories and evidence. Some good references.

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35 Ian August 26, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Ha, I was wondering if you asked Alex directly or not…

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36 Ray Lopez August 27, 2017 at 3:47 am

This entire AlexT list is suspect, as it’s written by Indians. Sorry, but if I am to learn about Greek history, by way of example (and I’m a Greek) the last place I would look would be to a Greek speaking historian, who will likely paint some rosy picture about Greece vs the rest of the world (i.e., barbarians). Same about lawyer writing about law (Posner comes to mind, what garbage; Alan Dershowitz is another).

To answer TC’s question, I think, from a brief look at Amazon, there’s no good book on the caste system. The closest one I could find is this one: “Classifying the Universe: The Ancient Indian Varna System and the Origins of Caste” – January 20, 1994 – which is somewhat off-point, since it simply looks at classical Hindu Vedic literature, rather than the period from 0-1000 AD which modern historians say solidified the caste system in India.

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37 Suraj August 28, 2017 at 2:45 am

Ray,

Alex’s list is actually quite good. I would say anything in particular by Ambedkar, who was a leading Dalit scholar is good.

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38 Suraj August 28, 2017 at 2:47 am

Agree entirely that the Indian commentators like Shrikanth are looking at it with rose colored glasses, discount whatever they are saying.

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39 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 8:10 am

Alex

These are largely left-wing radical perspectives. We do need to understand the system from within. No system sans merit can last over 2 millennia.

Some comments on caste –

a) Firstly important to distinguish Varna and Jaati. Varna is synonymous with four large social classes (the priests/scholars, the warriors, the merchants / agriculturists, the laborers / service providers. These are not occupation based castes, but a much broader division of society. This is the system that dates back to atleast 1500 BCE. But marriages between these classes was not uncommon at all! Inter-varna marriages were fairly common right up to the end of 1st millennium AD.

Jaati on the other hand refers to “caste” as it is understood today. These are more strictly endogamous, more numerous, and smaller groups, often specific to regions, many of which may lack a “varna” identity. It is during the British Raj that a very conscious attempt was made to slot these Jaatis into the four Varna boxes. Not that such efforts weren’t done in the past, but the effort intensified with the coming of British indology and the popularisation of highly simplistic versions of “Aryan race” theories.

While Varna has some support in scriptures, Jaati is entirely secular, and mainly a consequence of Indian heterogeneity.

b) Reasons for the rise of Varnas – Racial heterogeneity – Concern with conservation of religious traditions and personal habits. (India is arguably the only society on earth where there is a definite continuity of philosophy and civilization for the past 3000 years. While the modern Greek is hardly related to Plato or Aristotle in temperament or philosophy, modern Indians can actually relate to the philosophers who penned the Gita around 400BCE.) – Distaste for violence and confrontation and revolution (India is a remarkably low-crime society, and also a remarkably happy society given its per-capita levels. Also ethnic cleansing is almost unheard of in Indian history. It’s a society that has seen far far less violence than most other Eurasian societies) – Lastly the Indian obsession with righteousness and distaste for equality. The Indian mind sees a tradeoff between these two. All men are not equal. People deserve different things in proportion to their ability and nature. Equality is a mirage one cannot reach and the urge for it stems from base qualities like jealousy and lust. If X earns 10 times Y, he probably deserves to. And trying to reduce this gap is evil, unjust, and downright immoral.

c) Reasons for the rise of Jaatis – Social security – Coping with a weak state (Jaati provides many of the services that the Indian state is inefficient at providing). – Development of specialized guilds / skill sets within families in the absence of a formal education system

Sure…everything I mentioned is questionable and worthy of being challenged. But there needs to be an appreciation of the conservative view. An assessment of either Varna or Jaati cannot purely come from reading confrontational, radical literature.

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40 Ray Lopez August 27, 2017 at 10:36 am

+1 to shrikanthk, for the Varna/Jaati distinction. -1 for no mention of a book. -1 for saying Greeks are not like ancient Greeks in temperament (most Greeks would disagree, though I agree with shrikanthk), +1 for mentioning stability as a positive side effect of castes.

Bonus trivia: the Byzantine empire also had castes, for occupations, and it lasted for nearly 1000 years. The Ottomans adopted these occupational castes, as did the medieval empires of Europe, and it also promoted stability at the cost of innovation and competition.

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41 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 10:52 am

A good book by a “westerner” –

The Wonder that was India – AL Basham. It includes a very detailed and accurate treatment of caste and varna.

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42 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 10:54 am

Another aspect of the Indian mind I didn’t mention – which partly motivates caste and varna.

Nature is underrated. Nurture is overrated.

A running theme in Indian discourse. Most Indians strongly subscribe to this statement.

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43 step21 August 26, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Not really reading, but a documentary following girls from the lowest caste who are given education at a special boarding school adresses some of this (and related social issues) It is called “Daughters of Destiny”

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44 Biblap August 26, 2017 at 7:56 pm

I am Dalit, I can help you understand the system.

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45 another reader August 27, 2017 at 2:01 am

Biblap, is it true some Dalit’s convert to Buddhism to simply opt out of the caste system?

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46 Jaldhar H. Vyas August 27, 2017 at 4:56 am

I’m sure Biblap can give a good answer to you but if I can just interject, this is an example where just taking peoples answers at face value won’t necessarily give the whole story. Dr. Ambedkars dream was indeed that Buddhism would provide Dalits an unmistakably Indian culture and tradition they could be proud of yet freed of the taint of caste. And this is the reason new Buddhists often state for their conversions. The problem is that the idea that today’s untouchables are the descendents of Indian Buddhists persecuted for being heretics is pure fantasy. Historical Indian Buddhism (which is best represented today in Tibet. In India it was moribund for centuries before Muslim invasions gave it the coup de grace in the 1300’s.) has about as much relation to Ambedkarite Neo-Buddhism as traditional African Islam has to the Nation of Islam and other Black nationalist groups. Instead this looks like an age-old strategy for social mobility, what M.N. Srinivas called “Sanskritization” The idea is that while an up and coming group can upgrade their social level by taking on the customs of the “Great tradition” such as using Sanskrit, eating vegetarian food, etc. and denying their previous history and customs. A few weeks ago I mentioned the Patels of Gujarat who have followed this strategy from humble origins two centuries ago to social dominance today. From this point of view, far from opting out of the caste system, the neo-Buddhists are right there in the middle of it. The only novelty is their choice of great tradition.

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47 Jaldhar H. Vyas August 27, 2017 at 4:21 am

Well I’m a traditionalist Brahmana and I can also help understand the system. The essence of (small-l) liberalism is to take as many viewpoints as possible but that sometimes congeals into the notion that the “oppressed” are somehow more “authentic” or have some greater moral authority or insight simply by virtue of being victims. For instance Murali below writes, “Myself a brahmin[sic] doesn’t get it.” Why? True, he might get a different “it” than you but it still is one.

Another conceptual axis that often gets overlooked is the difference in caste systems between agriculturalists and pastoralists. The classic feudal hierarchy that usually comes to the fore in these discussions does not apply to the many Indians who have historically been semi-nomadic herders but they also have concepts of endogamy, pollution, and similar concepts that come under the rubric of caste.

And what about caste outside India? All the major Gujarati castes have associations here in New Jersey but their experiences would be markedly different from those lived by Indians.

tl;dr to Tyler. Think “Caste systems” not “Caste system.”

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48 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 8:39 am

+1

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49 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 11:10 am

There is a need for an intellectual discourse on the Right in India which does not necessarily adhere to western nostrums like “natural right” and Hobbesian “state of nature”. But instead bases its ideas on a more confident understanding of “Indian exceptionalism”.

Deleterious ideas like “all men are created equal” stem from the Hobbesian disease of viewing society as a collection of individuals as opposed to collectives. Burke was the last major western thinker who rejected these assumptions of “classical liberalism” which have now infiltrated modern western conservatism.

Society is not a group of unrelated individuals fighting for existence. But a contract between the past, present and future generations. Man is a political animal as that great conservative Aristotle once said. And political ideas as well as religious ideas are inherited from our ancestors. This thought has great support in Hindu philosophy, which outrightly rejects liberal notions of “Tabula Rasa” (Blank Slate). If man is indeed influenced by his genetic history, which impacts both his genes as well as his childhood milieu, then by logical conclusion, one has to reject notions of a blank slate and equality at birth (which even conservatives mouth unthinkingly today).

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50 Ironman August 26, 2017 at 8:00 pm

I’m going to suggest something a bit different – Sujatha Gidla’s recollections of growing up as an untouchable in India: Ants Among Elephants.

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51 Sujatha Gidla August 26, 2017 at 11:19 pm

Thanks, Ironman.

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52 Gaddeswarup August 26, 2017 at 8:33 pm
53 Steve Sailer August 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm

How much are accounts of caste in India biased by the fact that they are usually written by upper caste individuals?

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54 Gaddeswarup August 26, 2017 at 9:58 pm

The account by Namit Arora which I mentioned above seems to look at the question from this point of view. Of course there are accounts by non-upper castes from Phule, Ambedkar, D.R. Nagaraj to recent books mentioned by Namit Arora and a very recent one by Gidla Sujatha.

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55 Ricardo August 27, 2017 at 12:15 am

Hmm, Steve Sailer acknowledges that members of groups who experience discrimination might have unique and interesting insights on their society that might escape the notice of higher status or privileged groups. I wonder if this idea of can be applied anywhere else aside from India?

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56 anonymous reply to Ricardo August 27, 2017 at 12:41 am

Ricardo – Sailer’s shtick is sticking up for people who do not have the kind of access to condescending media that snarky people who resemble you often have. I wonder if this could be applied in such a way that you would understand? Or do you just not like Steve Sailer?

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57 prior_test3 August 27, 2017 at 3:11 am

‘Sailer’s shtick is sticking up for people who do not have the kind of access to condescending media that snarky people who resemble you often have’

Like unz or taki or vdare? Oh wait, people like him don’t have access. Probably because they would not want to, but still.

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58 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 8:21 am

In fact the accounts of caste read by westerners are usually written by deracinated casteless individuals, who have no appreciation of Indian tradition or even anything more than a nodding familiarity with the source texts. These are mainly “Enlightenment” individuals who have bought into Continental ideas of natural right and Saxon ideas of “state of nature” (as articulated by Hobbes and Locke), where the norm is to have an atomized view of individuals.

In contrast the Indian mind is sceptical of individualism and instead views society as a collection of disparate groups, each with its peculiarities, geniuses and foibles.

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59 ohwilleke August 26, 2017 at 9:19 pm

I’ve written quite a few blog posts addressing the subject over the years, most sourced to scholarly journal articles.

See http://dispatchesfromturtleisland.blogspot.com/search?q=caste&max-results=20&by-date=true and http://washparkprophet.blogspot.com/search?q=caste&updated-max=2012-10-10T22:37:00-07:00&max-results=20&start=8&by-date=true

Some of the posts that come up in the searches are only tangentially related, but some get into to the economics, history, genetics and anthropology of the situation.

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60 Murali August 26, 2017 at 9:21 pm

Biplab is the best answer. Myself a brahmin doesn’t get it. As Steven mentions, Many books are written by upper caste we don’t get it.

Ideally you should live it. Caste isn’t an intellectual experience. Like swimming and cycling its lived experience.

If that’s not practical you might stay away from English writing or works. You have to move towards Indian language writing.

Here’s my list all creations of lower caste
Anhilation of caste -Ambedkar
Vedam puthithu – Tamil movie by Bharathi Raja
Sairat + Marathi movie by Nagaraj Manjule. Any movie by Nagaraj Manjule
Periyar – Tamil movie

Even as I write this, I feel these will fall short. It is better to talk to lower caste to get a under the skin. There’s much to soak in beyond economic analysis.

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61 Razib Khan August 26, 2017 at 10:12 pm

i think ‘castes of mind’ by dirks still useful. just ignore the emphasis on social construction by british, as we know genetically jati looks to be about 2,000 years old….

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62 John Hughes August 26, 2017 at 10:39 pm
63 Kapil Ranade August 26, 2017 at 10:52 pm

Hindu Society – An Interpretation by Dr Irawati Karve; published in 1961 one of the earliest attempts to interpret caste using field data.
Essays on untouchable castes by the anthropologist Bernard Cohn

if you have the time, some films may be insightful – Sadgati, directed by Satyajit Ray based on a story by Munshi Premchand for instance

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64 CD August 27, 2017 at 11:59 am

Bernard Cohn is excellent: highly readable and interested in how caste has actually worked on the ground. See “The Pasts of an Indian Village” and “The Census, Social Structure, and Objectification in South Asia” in his _An Anthropologist among the Historians_ (OUP 1998).

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65 John Hughes August 26, 2017 at 10:53 pm

As a follow-up to my previous entry, see this review:

http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/222503

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66 skeptic August 26, 2017 at 10:55 pm

Koenraad Elst, Decolonising the Hindu Mind

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67 Chris Stucchio August 26, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Probably one of the most useful things to read to understand how things actually work nowadays has been Chetan Bhagat. Mostly he writes crappy romance novels, but he does illustrate a very real point. Here’s one essay by him on how english and western culture is forming a new caste system.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/The-underage-optimist/let-there-be-english-but-abolish-caste-system-around-the-language/

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68 efim polenov August 27, 2017 at 12:49 am

Tyler, I am happy that you are interested in this subject. People either care about other people or they don’t; the subset of people who are curious about the caste system in India tends more (as a subset) to the “caring” side than (as a less pleasant subset) to the “not caring” side. I would suggest watching a few “kitchen sink realism” movies for an easily apprehensible emotional understanding of caste systems; of course you will have to extrapolate from the Home Counties and Yorkshire to the India of our day, but that is not too much of a challenge for you, I am absolutely certain.

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69 AM August 27, 2017 at 12:57 am

In order to understand caste system I think you should read –

(1) Manusmriti ( This is supposed to be the origin of caste system. )
(2) Annihilation of Caste by Ambedkar
(3) Books written by – Kancha Ilaiah – he is considered the modern / contemporary critic of caste system
(4) Narendra Jadhav (he is an economist, who worked for India’s central bank – RBI) – (a) Our Father and Us, (b) Untouchables: My Family’s Triumphant Journey Out of the Caste System in Modern India

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70 blah August 27, 2017 at 2:22 am

Man, from where do you get bullshit like “this is supposed to be the origin”? No one knows when manusmriti was written, who wrote it or in which part of India, whether there was ever a point of time when it was embedded into the law code or cited for jurisprudence in a non-qualitative way…

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71 AM August 27, 2017 at 4:17 am

Point taken. That is why I used the word “supposed to be”.

After all Ambedkar burnt a copy of it on 25 December 1927. It is called The Manusmriti Dahan Diwas (Manusmriti Burning Day).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manusmriti_Dahan_Din

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72 blah August 27, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Of course I know Manusmriti burning etc. but all that is far from stating that the book is the origin of the system.

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73 Suraj August 28, 2017 at 2:58 am

Seconded

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74 Dots August 27, 2017 at 2:01 am

Let the rupee circulate these potatoes so cheap. Gotta remonetize

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75 Heathen August 27, 2017 at 2:10 am

See the work of Balagangadhara’s research group. The thousands of existing groups in India have been understood via system which doesnt exist on the ground.

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76 blah August 27, 2017 at 3:03 am

I don’t have a specific suggestion, but here are some pointers/questions to keep in mind:

1. Look out for the varna vs jati distinction: I haven’t yet been able to make up my mind on whether or not the varna vs jati distinction is important. Westerners mostly pretend that it doesn’t exist, traditionalists emphasize the existence of the distinction but neither articulate the distinction precisely nor try to describe what inferences one should draw from it.

2. The role of the British: The theoretical framework of caste as well as inhuman levels of discrimination both predate the British. No doubt. But it is also true that the British rule affected disadvantaged castes disproportionately: on one hand, the job losses due to industrial revolution mainly affected the shudra classes (such as the weavers), whereas the brahmins became economically advantaged by embedding themselves into the British bureaucracy. Many brahmins who used to be dirt poor suddenly became well-off.

3. You may be interested in analyzing caste among Indian Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. There are churches where “dalit christians” drink water from a separate glass. The “Godman” Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh arrested recently following a rape conviction was a leader of a group of “dalit sikhs” called Dera Sacha Sauda, who were alienated from mainstream sikhism. The riots by supporters that followed the rape conviction led to police firing, killing about 30 dalit sikhs, and it has been pointed out that the media were encouraging police reprisals because they subconsciously valued the lives of dalit sikhs less (in contrast, violent Muslim protests in India usually does not lead to police firing actually bullets, at worst pellet gun firing).

4. Ambedkar’s view of reservations – quota system for the so called lower castes – was far narrower in scope than today’s. He intended the reservations to be restricted to a smaller class of disadvantaged people, mainly the so called scheduled castes and tribes.

In contrast, the scope of reservations has been extended to several influential and powerful castes, who using their numerical strength (see, e.g., Jat reservation agitation). This has led to a trend wherein electorally influential groups with muscle power acquire “Other Backward Caste (OBC)” status for themselves to benefit from quotas, while many smaller and weaker groups of people who are better deserving of quotas do not get to be considered backward.

5. Very few caste clashes happen between brahmin groups and dalits; they mostly happen between dalits and influential “other backward caste (OBC)” people. At least part of the reason is that these clashes happen mostly in villages dominated by OBC groups (who in the “varna” system would be considered shudras) while Brahmins have in large numbers migrated to cities for educational and other opportunities.

6. In cities, lots of intercaste marriages do happen these days – families which never ever saw an intercaste marriage until 10-15 years ago do have lots of them now. However, there are claims that these do not much involve dalits; which could be largely due to assortative mating.

7. Watch out for subtle and non-quantifiable biases: Indian notions of physical beauty, which subconsciously impacts success in interviews etc., are statistically more correlated – though far from perfectly – with upper caste features. These are also statistically more correlated with Muslim physical features, which also explains the larger Muslim presence in Bollywood.

8. Traditionally upper caste forms of art and music are what have been mainstreamed. For instance, Hindustani classical music used to be mostly the domains of upper caste Hindus and Muslims. Dalit forms of art have faced a greater threat of extinction. Are there statistically significant social consequences for this – I am not sure.

9. I don’t know how many commenters here will agree, but I think the following is useful to record. While most traditional temples in India admit only Brahmin priests, temples run by many Hindu organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad – whom many liberals consider Hindu chauvinist – actually are caste blind in selecting priests. Even as far as 50+ years ago, Ambedkar praised the RSS for its absence of caste consciousness. Mainstream Hindutva groups work hard towards inter-caste unity while liberals often repose faith in caste distinctions as a safe-guard against what they see as the threat of Hindu fundamentalism. These days, dalits in several states of India support BJP.

While Modi is not a dalit, he is an “OBC” – not an influential “OBC” group, but one which used to be considered very low in the heirarchy.

10. Please spend time understanding the difference between Gandhi’s and Ambedkar’s approach to caste. Initially Gandhi was perhaps not sufficiently opposed to caste, but he gradually came to actively encourage intercaste marriages – most likely under Ambedkar’s influence. He disagreed vehemently with Ambedkar, but ended up being substantially influenced by Ambedkar in the process. While many quote this against Gandhi’s greatness, I believe this actually shows his greatness – greatness lies in understanding one’s limitations and transforming oneself.

Modern societies, in my opinion, can learn a lot from Gandhi’s “positivist” approach – seek to transform society through positive steps like intercaste marriage as opposed to pitting one group against another, foment protests, spill blood etc. Modern Ambedkarite criticism (as opposed to Ambedkar’s himself) of Gandhi perhaps has something to do with Gandhi being of a conciliatory nature as opposed to a rebel.

Whether you agree with me or not – please do spend some time comparing and contrasting the approaches of Gandhi and Ambedkar.

11. Contra-Tabarrok, I recommend that you do not read “IYI”s like Ramachandra Guha who have a very monolithic view of everything devoid of nuance. There is more to say, but already my comment is too long.

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77 Kris August 27, 2017 at 4:13 am

Agree with #9. The Hindutva movement is very anti-Muslim (and to a lesser extent anti-Christian), but it recognizes the injustices of the caste system and seeks to bring all Hindus into one “nationalist” fold. Western progressives seem to (mistakenly) have this opinion that bigotry against one implies bigotry against all. One parallel I see in America is that many Radical Republicans in the mid-19th century were very strongly pro-black but at the same time very anti-immigrant (especially anti-Irish.)

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78 blah August 27, 2017 at 6:09 am

Many Indian progressives also share that impression, perhaps reasoning as follows: “(a) Hindutvavadis claim to respect Indian tradition and don’t spend time critiquing it (b) Caste is (a bad aspect of) Indian tradition (c) So Hindutvavadis have got to be casteists”. For their part, Hindutvavadis prefer to unite Hindus by ignoring caste, rather than explicitly invoking it and denouncing it.

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79 blah August 27, 2017 at 6:11 am

May be I could have added the following to the list: there is an aspect of casteism that is less about heirarchy and more about preserving an endogamous identity; consider this incident from four years ago: Angered by the alleged elopement of a Brahmin boy with a Yadav girl in the Samajwadi Party stronghold Etawah, members of the Yadav caste attacked the Brahmin houses in Santoshpur- Etgaon village.
The Brahmins, who are a minority in the village, were dragged through the streets with blackened faces and were made to wear garlands made of shoes.

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80 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 8:30 am

The varna vs jati distinction is real. Many many castes to this day are not clear of their “Varna” status. And Varnas have been very very fluid over time.

For eg : Are Kayasths Shudras? Or are they Kshatriyas or Brahmanas? While the British slotted them under the Shudra category, the community members tend to think of the group as an interbreed of Kshatriyas and Brahmanas, to feel good about themselves. Kayasths are by some distance the most educated caste group in North India. So the fact that they are Shudras, did not prevent them from doing well!

Similarly where do you place communities like Lingayats? Very powerful. Very much middle class today with low poverty levels among them. While the orthodox brahmana may view them as shudras, Lingayats reject the Vedas and see themselves as a standalone non vedic religious tradition. Ironically they are among the strongest supporters of BJP today in Southern India.

How about Khatris? Again clearly an upper-caste group, lacking a Varna identity.

The Jains should ideally be without a Varna, given that they are outside the traditional vedic fold. But being casteless has not hampered them! They have done great and rank among the most prosperous Indian groups.

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81 blah August 27, 2017 at 9:07 am

I agree there is some kind of a distinction. But I don’t know the precise locus of the distinction (e.g., why does one hear of “varna-sankaraH” and not “jAti-sankaraH”).

Moreover I don’t know if there are practical consequences of distinguishing the two notions as far as understanding the Indian society is concerned. In practice people analyze based on jatis.

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82 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 9:13 am

Varna Sankara is a phrase from the Gita, which westerners have latched on to, to make a point that Varnas have always been strictly endogamous. But a close inspection of the Gita reveals that it is Arjuna who voices concern over the mixing of Varnas in the text and not Krishna. So it hardly has divine sanction.

Plus, our epics and traditions are replete with examples of Varnas mixing. Especially high varna men marrying low varna women (the so-called Anuloma marriages). Think of Santanu and Satyavati, Parasara and Satyavati, Bhima and Hidimbi, Arjuna and Uloopi. What are these marriages, if not Varna Sankara?

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83 blah August 27, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Which reminds me, the quote was “streesu duShTaasu vaarShNeya jaayate varNa-sankaraH” i.e., “women being corrupted leads to Varna sankara”, which suggests that only pratiloma might have been viewed as Varna sankara?

84 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Yes, but Pratiloma marriages have happened aplenty in some geographies. Especially Kerala. Many many namboothiri women have married Nair men over the ages.

85 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Also Arjuna’s concern was in the context of battle.

War leads to large scale loss of male life and premature widowhood for many women. This makes them vulnerable to the attentions of men of a lower, baser sort. That’s the concern.

And it’s fair at one level. But Krishna does not endorse this in a ringing way at all.

86 blah August 27, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Wow. Can you give a reference to Namboothiri women marrying Nair men? is there a case where it happened without them being excommunicated?

87 shrikanthk August 28, 2017 at 8:26 am

Sorry…it seems like I got some detail wrong.

Namboothiri men appear to have had informal sexual relationships with Nair women a great deal (an arrangement called “Sambandham”). THe offspring of such relationships were often brought up as Nairs (not Namboothiris) in a matrilineal set up.

I got mistaken that these were actually Namboothiri women-Nair men arrangements. Was wrong. My bad.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambandam

88 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 9:15 am

Varna as a concept was largely dead except for the Brahmana vs rest distinction (more acute in the South than the north).

It was with the Marathas and British that Varna was revived and attempts were made to slot Jaatis in Varna boxes. A futile exercise in one way, because of all the Varna Sankara of the past 3000 years.

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89 James Choy August 27, 2017 at 4:53 am

Here is my paper on the caste system, forthcoming in the Economic Journal: https://doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12508 (ungated version here: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/jpchoy/caste.pdf) It provides the analytical framework that steve sailer requested. See also the following paper by Chris Bidner and Mukesh Eswaran in the Journal of Development Economics https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdeveco.2014.12.006 (ungated version here: http://www.sfu.ca/~cbidner/files/Bidner_Eswaran_4Dec2014.pdf)

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90 James Choy August 27, 2017 at 6:34 am

Also, here’s Kaivan Munshi’s forthcoming JEL paper on the caste system: http://www.histecon.magd.cam.ac.uk/km/Munshi_JEL2.pdf

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91 Frederik Marain August 27, 2017 at 7:49 am

Short article by Kaivan Munshi, with short reference list at the end of the article:
http://voxdev.org/topic/labour-markets-migration/caste-and-economic-mobility-india
(via pseudoerasmus RT)

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92 Harry August 27, 2017 at 9:02 am

1) The classic book is Louis Dumont Homo Hierarchicus.
2) MS Srinivasan:
—caste in modern India and other essays
—village , caste and other essays.
3) Nirmal Bose Structure of Hindu Society.

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93 Brad August 27, 2017 at 9:28 am

This book was recommended to me by an Indian elections watcher. Might not have the depth you’re looking for, but it’s something.

After two years of living in South Asia, I was somewhat impressed by how easy it is to compare the idea of caste to any other racial segregation system.

https://www.amazon.com/Caste-Oxford-India-Short-Introductions/dp/0198089368/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503840108&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=%22introduction+to+caste%22

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94 Evan Osborne August 27, 2017 at 9:30 am

Some works are:

Louis Dumont, Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implicati ons, trans. Mark Sainsbury, Louis Dumont, and Basia Gulati, 2d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).

James Scoville, ‘‘Labor Market Underpinnings of a Caste Economy: Foiling the Coase Theorem,’’ American Journal of Economics and Sociology 55 (1996): 385 – 94.

M. N. Srinivas, ‘‘Varna and Caste,’’ in Caste in Modern India and Other Essays, ed. M. N. Srinivas (Bombay: Asia Publish- ing House, 1962).

As an economist, when I wrote on caste-based rent-seeking in India some years back and thus discovered these references, I also found useful:

Deepak Lal, The Hindu Equilibrium, vol. 1, Cultural Stability and Economic Stagnation (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988)

And my article, which I think has a perfectly serviceable intro to the basics🙂, is

Osborne, E. W. (2001). Culture, Development, and Government: Reservations in India. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 49 (3), 659-685..

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95 Danny1 August 27, 2017 at 10:34 am
96 Smoule Bernard August 27, 2017 at 10:35 am

A set of blog posts by Prof. R. Vaidyanathan on caste mobility and caste as social capital.

https://rvaidya2000.com/category/themes/caste-clusters/

His YouTube dialogues with Rajiv Malhotra are also worth watching.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=c50rfZlrNXU

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97 Danny1 August 27, 2017 at 10:45 am

2 Excellent Documentaries:
“Untouchability” – one of the most egregious ills plaguing the country.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgDGmYdhZvU&

Al Jazeera Documentary:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2XktzecBYo

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98 Alan August 27, 2017 at 10:53 am

They may not be as in depth as you want, but there are good sections on contemporary caste with reading suggestions in both
Ganguly, Sumit, and Neil Devotta, eds. 2003. Understanding Contemporary India. Boulder, Colo: Lynne Rienner Pub.
Stern, Robert W. 2003. Changing India: Bourgeois Revolution on the Subcontinent. 2 edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

I don’t specialize on India, but I found them both helpful.

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99 Kaushik August 27, 2017 at 12:40 pm

The Remembered Village by M. N. Srinivas. A 1976 ethnography (by an outsider Brahmin sociologist) of a South Indian village that’s quite illuminating on day to day lived experience of caste. Considered a canonical work of modern Indian sociology.

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100 rec1man August 27, 2017 at 9:57 pm

I am Tamil Brahmin Iyer

The main use of caste these days is the Arranged Marriage System

You have to ensure that the family on the other side is not hostile in terms of
1) Religion – hence no abrahamics, especially muslims and christians, who consider your family as hell bound kafir-infidels / pagans-heathens
2) Diet – Upper caste Vegetarian vs Lower Caste Mutton, Fish Chicken eater vs Untouchable Mutton, Fish, Chicken, Beef, Pork eater
3) IQ – Castes that get quota ( about 70% of the Indian population, and 95% in my state of Tamil Nadu ) are avoided
4) Looks – If you go to matrimonial sites like Jeevansathi.com, you can sort by caste, and average looks vary a lot by caste
In short, upper caste women ( with various amounts of Aryan Ancestry ) tend to look much better

Very very slowly the Upper castes are merging, I dont yet see any movement towards inter-marriage with lower castes or untouchables

*In many cases, lower castes dont want to marry upper castes – recently in Delhi, a brahmin man who married an untouchable woman,
was honor-killed by her family

*Dalits also have caste within themselves – upper level Dalit leather workers vs lower level Dalit shit cleaners

*In most states, 49% of seats are reserved ; 15% for Untouchables, 7% for Forest Tribals, 22% for Lower Castes ( OBC – Other Backward Castes )

*99% of anti-dalit riots are done by Low Caste Shudra peasant castes ; Upper Castes simply lack the ‘muscle power’ to oppress anyone

*In Tamil Nadu, officially 69% of seats are reserved and 31% open, but in reality, the anti-brahmin quota is 99% ;
Sundar Pichai or Indira Nooyi or Vishwanathan Anand or Ramanujam cant get a Tamil Nadu Gov Math School teacher job

*Tamil Brahmins ( 2% ) would prefer to marry a brahmin 1000 miles away, who speaks a different language, than marry a
Tamil Dravidian ( 98% ) who lives next door, because culturally we are much closer to brahmins in far away states, due to shared
Sanskritic culture

*Muslims, Christians and Sikhs all practise caste endogamy ;

*IQ does vary by caste, no sign of reservations ending, even after 100 years of reservations

*Here is 2017 National Merit Semifinalist Data, from California ; caste and language can be decoded from the names

Bengali Speakers = 12 Brahmins, 6 Kayasth ( scribe )
Gujurati Speakers = Total 28 = 3 Brahmins, 4 Patels, 14 Jain Merchants, 6 Hindu Merchants, 1 OBC
70% of US Gujuratis are Patels
Hindi Speakers = Total 46 = 14 Brahmins, 2 Kayasth ( scribe ), 1 OBC , 20 Merchants, 9 Rajputs ( nobles )
Kannada Speakers = Total 18 = 14 Brahmins, 4 Dravidians
Malayam Speakers = Total 7 = 1 Brahmin, 6 Nair ( Dravidian Landlord, Genetically identical to Brahmin, since they had matriarchy for 1000 years and
lots of insemination by Brahmins )
Marathi Speakers = Total 22 = 18 Brahmins, 2 Kayasth scribes, 2 OBC
Punjabi Speakers = Total 20 = 17 Khatri Merchants, 3 Jat Sikh ( landlords ), 70% of Punjabis in US are Jat Sikhs
Sindhi Speakers = 6 Merchants
Tamil Speakers = Total 64 = 44 Brahmins, 20 Dravidians
Telugu Speakers = Total 44 = 16 Brahmins, 28 Dravidians

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101 shrikanthk August 27, 2017 at 10:39 pm

I think you are a bit harsh here.

I acknowledge the IQ difference. But I think it is being bridged fast, atleast among the dominant shudra castes. Telugu non brahmin castes have done really well over the past 20-30 years. And I feel they are on their way up.

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102 Maz August 28, 2017 at 7:58 am

It’s interesting in itself that there does not seem to be any standard works on this topic, even though it’s one of those things that almost any discussion about India will veer into. It’s as if there weren’t, say, any authoritative accounts of the history of slavery in the US.

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103 Ashish Kulkarni August 28, 2017 at 7:58 am

The Ballad of Bant Singh, by Nirupama Dutt

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104 rec1man August 28, 2017 at 11:51 am

Instead of reading a book, a better way to understand caste is to talk to Indians of various castes, on how and why the system works
There are no hard and fast rules, just lots of local variations

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105 Feyi Fawehinmi August 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Depending on your preferences, Thomas Sowell’s Preferential Policies (might be out of print) has a lot of useful stuff on the Indian caste system

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106 Philippe Clérié August 29, 2017 at 4:47 am

If you read french then I would highly recommend:

La solution indienne. Essai sur les origines du régime des castes by Jean Baechler.

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107 Satish August 29, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Ants among Elephants(https://www.amazon.com/Ants-Among-Elephants-Untouchable-Family/dp/0865478112) – Not an academic treatise on caste but a biographical tale that illustrates the dalit experience really well.

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