It is only in the institutes of Manu, where we find the system of castes propounded in its complete development, that Brahma has his definite place assigned to him in the cosmogony.
Thus a confederation was formed of which the Brahman peshwa or head was at Poona, governing the adjacent territories, while the members, belonging to the lower castes, were scattered throughout the continent of India.
There are, however, in certain respects at certain periods, evidences of such changes as might be due to the intrusion of small conquering castes, which adopted the superior civilization of the conquered people and became assimilated to the latter.
There are six main divisions of the people: the Dravidian tribes, who formerly held the country; Hindi-speaking immigrants from the north and north-west into Saugor, Damoh, the Nerbudda valley and the open country of Mandla and Seoni; Rajasthani-speaking immigrants from Central India into Nimar, Betul and parts of Hoshangabad, Narsinghpur and Chhindwara; Marathi-speaking immigrants from Bombay into Berar, the Mahratta districts and the southern tahsil of Betul; the Telugu castes in the Sironcha and Chanda tahsil of Chanda and the south of Bastar; and the Hindu immigrants into Chhattisgarh, who are supposed to have arrived many centuries ago when the Haihaya dynasty of Ratanpur rose into power.
As in the rest of Indo-China, there is no hereditary nobility, but there exist castes founded on blood relationship - the members of the royal family within the fifth degree (the Brah-Vansa) those beyond the fifth degree (BrahVan), and the Bakou, who, as descendants of the ancient Brahmans, exercise certain official functions at the court.
These castes, as well as the mandarins, who form a class by themselves, are exempt from tax or forced service.
The number of half-castes is remarkably small, at the census of 1904 the number of " mixed and others," which The following is the official estimate of the population on the 31st of December 1908: Europeans 91,443, natives 998,264 (including 7386 " mixed and others "), Asiatics 116,679; total 1,206,386.
The half-castes sprung from alliances with the wild tribes of Caucasic stock present every variety between that type and the Mongolian.
The higher castes murmured, and many of them left him, for he taught that the Brahmanical threads must be broken; but the lower orders rejoiced and flocked in numbers to his standard.
- Castes were unknown in both Babylonia and Assyria, but the priesthood of Babylonia found its counterpart in the military aristocracy of Assyria.
Below these two classes, which may be looked on as the priestly and the military castes, there is, especially in the settled districts, a large population of artisans and labourers, besides negro slaves and their descendants, slave or free.
The population, which numbers about 3000, is sharply divided into five castes, of which the three highest are pure Maldivians, the lower two the same as in the Laccadives.
An apparent increase of 7000 in the Maori and half-castes between 1891 and 1906 is, perhaps, partly due to more accurate computation.
It seems probable that the number of Maori and half-castes taken together is about the same as it was thirty years ago, though the infusion of white blood is larger.
The first class includes half-castes (who are numerous, for the Dutch are in closer relationship with the natives than is the case with most colonizing peoples), and also Armenians, Japanese, &c. The total number of this class in 1900 was 75, 8 33; 72,019 of these were called Dutch, but 61,022 of them were born in Netherlands India; there were also 1382 Germans, 441 British and 350 Belgians.
The percentage of Spanish blood is greater than in the other Central American republics; but there is also a large population of half-castes (ladinos or mestizos) due to intermarriage with native Indians.
Spaniards in speech and mode of life), comprise a large majority of half-castes (mestizos) and civilized Indians and a smaller proportion of whites.
Further, according to tradition, he instituted the three classes or castes of the eupatrids (nobles), geomori (husba.ndmen), and demiurgi (artisans).
Note also the British Indian legislation imposed upon the various castes and creeds each with their peculiar rites and customs.
The division of labour among the two castes of female becomes therefore most complete in the most highly organized society.
In Bengal the vast majority of the Mahommedans manifestly belong to the same race as the lowest castes of Hindus.
Amongst the Hindu higher castes there are serious obstacles in the way of conversion, of which family influence and the caste system are the greatest.
In Bengal many of the upper castes of Sudras have devoted themselves to general trade; but there again the Jain Marwaris from Rajputana occupy the front rank.
He describes the classification of the people, dividing them, however, into seven castes instead of four, namely, philosophers, husbandmen, shepherds, artisans, soldiers, inspectors and the counsellors of the king.
The kingly government is portrayed almost as described in Manu, with its hereditary castes of councillors and soldiers.
Bengalis, whether Brahmans or of other castes, frequently go bareheaded.
A Brahman's dhoti, as also that of some other castes, reaches to a little below the knee; a Rajput's to his ankles.
Thurston, Castes and Tribes of Southern India.
Intermarriage with British, Dutch, and French with Caribs and Creoles has further complicated the ethnology of the country, producing "Indians" with fair hair and blue eyes, and half-castes with European features and Indian or negroid coloration, or with European coloration and Indian or negroid features.
All who speak Spanish are classed as Ladinos; the half-castes generally are termed Mestizos; and the name of Sambos or Zambos is confined to the descendants of Indian and negro parents; these are also incorrectly called Caribs.
2 It is a significant fact that, whilst in the worship of Siva and Vishnu, at which no animal sacrifices are offered, the officiating priests are almost invariably Brahmans, this is practically never the case at the popular performance of those "gloomy and weird rites for the propitiation of angry deities, or the driving away of evil spirits, when the pujaris (or ministrants) are drawn from all other castes, even from the Pariahs, the out-caste section of Indian society."
The result was the system of four castes (varna, i.e."
The distinctive badge of a member of the three upper castes was the sacred triple cord or thread (sutra) - made of cotton, hemp or wool, according to the respective caste - with which he was invested at the upanayana ceremony, or initiation into the use of the sacred savitri, or prayer to the sun (also called gayatri), constituting his second birth.
In spite, however, of the artificial restrictions placed on the intermarrying of the castes, the mingling of the two races seems to have proceeded at a tolerably rapid rate.
Certain it is that mixed castes are found referred to at a comparatively early period; and at the time of Buddha - some five or six centuries before the Christian era - the social organization would seem to have presented an appearance not so very unlike that of modern times.
It was not only by the formation of ever new endogamous castes and sub-castes that the system gained in extent and intricacy, but even more so by the constant subdivision of the castes into numerous exogamous groups or septs, themselves often involving gradations of social status important enough to seriously affect the possibility of intermarriage, already hampered by various other restrictions.
Whilst community of occupation was an important factor in the original formation of non-tribal castes, the practical exigencies of life have led to considerable laxity in this respect - not least so in the case of Brahmans who have often had to take to callings which would seem altogether incompatible with the proper spiritual functions of their caste.
For these reasons, every Hindu household - whether Brahman, Kshatriya or Sudra - that can afford to keep a paid cook generally entertains the services of a Brahman for the performance of its cuisine - the result being that in the larger towns the very name of Brahman has suffered a strange degradation of late, so as to mean only a cook "(Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya, Hindu Castes and Sects).
Thus, amongst agricultural castes, those engaged in vegetable-growing or market-gardening are inferior to the genuine peasant or yeoman, such as the Jat and Rajput; whilst of these the Jat who practises widow-marriage ranks below the Rajput who prides himself on his tradition of ceremonial orthodoxy - though racially there seems little, if any, difference between the two; and the Rajput, again, is looked down upon by the Babhan of Behar because he does not, like himself, scruple to handle the plough, instead of invariably employing low-caste men for this manual labour.
The scale of social precedence as recognized by native public opinion is concisely reviewed (ib.) as revealing itself" in the facts that particular castes are supposed to be modern representatives of one or other of the original castes of the theoretical Hindu system; that Brahmans will take water from certain castes; that Brahmans of high standing will serve particular castes; that certain castes, though not served by the best Brahmans, have nevertheless got Brahmans of their own whose rank varies according to circumstances; that certain castes are not served by Brahmans at all but have priests of their own; that the status of certain castes has been raised by their taking to infant-marriage or abandoning the remarriage of widows; that the status of others has been modified by their pursuing some occupations in a special or peculiar way; that some can claim the services of the village barber, the village palanquin-bearer, the village midwife, &c., while others cannot; that some castes may not enter the courtyards of certain temples; that some castes are subject to special taboos, such as that they must not use the village well, or may draw water only with their own vessels, that they must live outside the village or in a separate quarter, that they must leave the road on the approach of a highcaste man and must call out to give warning of their approach."
Then come the castes whom popular opinion accepts as the modern representatives of the Kshatriyas; and these are followed by the mercantile groups supposed to be akin to the Vaisyas.
The term is used in Bombay, Madras and Bengal to denote a considerable number of castes of moderate respectability, the higher of whom are considered ` clean ' Sudras, while the precise status of the lower is a question which lends itself to endless controversy."In northern and north-western India, on the other hand," the grade next below the twice-born rank is occupied by a number of castes from whose hands Brahmans and members of the higher castes will take water and certain kinds of sweetmeats.
Below these again is rather an indeterminate group from whom water is taken by some of the higher castes, not by others.
There are castes whose touch defiles the twice-born, but who do not commit the crowning enormity of eating beef.
In western and southern India the idea that the social state of a caste depends on whether Brahmans will take water and sweetmeats from its members is unknown, for the higher castes will as a rule take water only from persons of their own caste and sub-caste.
There are, however, not a few classes of Brahmans who, for various reasons, have become degraded from their high station, and formed separate castes with whom respectable Brahmans refuse to intermarry and consort.
Chief amongst these are the Brahmans who minister for" unclean "Sudras and lower castes, including the makers and dealers in spirituous liquors; as well as those who officiate at the great public shrines or places of pilgrimage where they might be liable to accept forbidden gifts, and, as a matter of fact, often amass considerable wealth; and those who officiate as paid priests at cremations and funeral rites, when the wearing apparel and bedding of the deceased are not unfrequently claimed by them as their perquisites.
As regards the other two" twice-born "castes, several modern groups do indeed claim to be their direct descendants, and in vindication of their title make it a point to perform the upanayana ceremony and to wear the sacred thread.
But though the Brahmans, too, will often acquiesce in the reasonableness of such claims, it is probably only as a matter of policy that they do so, whilst in reality they regard the other two higher castes as having long since disappeared and been merged by miscegenation in the Sudra mass.
As regards the numerous groups included under the term of Sudras, the distinction between" clean "and" unclean "Sudras is of especial importance for the upper classes, inasmuch as only the former - of whom nine distinct castes are usually recognized - are as a rule considered fit for employment in household service.