The result was the system of four castes (varna, i.e."
Bengalis, whether Brahmans or of other castes, frequently go bareheaded.
Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal (1891); C. E.
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.
These castes, as well as the mandarins, who form a class by themselves, are exempt from tax or forced service.
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.
A Brahman's dhoti, as also that of some other castes, reaches to a little below the knee; a Rajput's to his ankles.
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."
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.
Next come the mercantile castes, mostly belonging to the Jain sect; these are followed by the powerful cultivating tribes, such as the Jats and Gujars, and then come the so-called aboriginal tribes, chief of whom are the Minas, Bhils and Meos.
The garment distinctive of the Hindus of all castes, men and women, all over India, is the dhoti or loin cloth.
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.
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.
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.
One-third are Mahommedans and the remainder Hindus of various castes.
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.
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.
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.
These thirteen provinces or local governments are Ajmer-Merwara, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, British Baluchistan, Bengal, Bombay, Burma, Central Provinces prescribing the conditions and degree of social intercourse permitted between the several castes.
All a man's actions from the cradle to the grave are regulated by it; and the tendency in modern India is for tribes to turn into castes.
In Bengal the vast majority of the Mahommedans manifestly belong to the same race as the lowest castes of Hindus.
They are themselves subdivided into many classes, which in their devotion to hereditary occupations are scarcely to be distinguished from Hindu castes.
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.
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.
Thurston, Castes and Tribes of Southern India.
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 first point to observe is the predominance throughout India of the influence of the traditional system of four original castes.
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.
This sect counts numerous adherents in southern India; the Census Report of 1901 recording nearly a million and a half, including some 70 or 80 different, mostly endogamous, castes.
Their mendicant members, usually known as Vairagis, are, like the general body of the sect, drawn from all castes without distinction.
Thus, the founder's twelve chief disciples include, besides Brahmans, a weaver, a currier, a Rajput, a Jat and a barber - for, they argue, seeing that Bhagavan, the Holy One (Vishnu), became incarnate even in animal form, a Bhakta (believer) may be born even in the lowest of castes.
Murray Mitchell, Hinduism Past and Present (2nd ed., London, 1897); Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya, Hindu Castes and Sects (Calcutta, 1896); A.
With the consent of "a general assembly of the chief representatives of the people" he commuted the burdensome land tax for a fixed money payment; he protected all castes in the celebration of their religious ceremonies; and he forbade any compulsion of natives to carry burdens against their will.
During their centuries of slavery, they were organized into castes, as musicians, metal workers, masons, &c.; but after about 1850 the bonds of caste were gradually relaxed and gipsies began to intermarry with Rumans.
The Konkan is notable for various Christian castes, owing their origin to Portuguese rule; while in the Carnatic, Lingayatism, a Hindu reformation movement of the 12th century, has been embraced by 45% of the population.
Special measures are also adopted for the education of low castes and aboriginal tribes.
As this hymn gives an account of the origin of the castes (which elsewhere are scarcely recognized in the Rig Veda), it is sometimes regarded as a late addition.
Within a caste society there is an irreconcilable antagonism between the interests of the various castes.
The British referred to them as 'the scheduled castes ' .
In the presence of a perceived crisis, the dominant castes see themselves as the representatives of Hinduism.
irreconcilable antagonism between the interests of the various castes.
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."
The former, who form the shoemaker and leather-dealing caste of the Hindu community, had always been held in utter contempt by the other Hindu castes.
Hinduism, which was once the religion of Java, but has been extinct there for four centuries, is still in vogue in the islands of Bali and Lombok, where the cruel custom of widow-burning (suttee) is still practised, and the Hindu system of the four castes, with a fifth or Pariah caste (called Chandala), adhered to.
Apart from the Brahmans, the Mahrattas may be generally designated as Sudras, the humblest of the four great castes into which the Hindu race is theoretically divided.
Every one prateth of four castes.
They occupy, in fact, an intermediate stage of de gradation between the comparatively well-to-do tribes in the tributary states (the stronghold and home of the race), and the Pans, Bauris, Kandras and other semi-aboriginal peoples on the lowlands, who rank as the basest castes of the Hindu community.
All states are now required to have 33% representation of women in local governance with scheduled castes and tribes having proportionate representation.
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.
The word usage examples above have been gathered from various sources to reflect current and historial usage. They do not represent the opinions of YourDictionary.com.