2019 Brown Pundits Reader survey

“I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me.”

-Terrence

One of the strange things is the comments on this weblog make it seem like many more of the readers are South Asian than is really case (or care about the India-Pakistan conflict). I wish more of you would speak. I’m brown, but I speak on Chinese history. It’s my history too. In a cosmopolitan post-national world the global chattering class should consider Terrence’s insights and be less bashful.


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109 Replies to “2019 Brown Pundits Reader survey”

  1. I filled out the survey…most people here already know my background (MD – IM Resident, UP Brahmin, generally sympathetic to Hindu nationalism). I put “center-right” for political ideology, I think my political views are more labyrinthine than that, but in broad strokes I am on the “center-right” in both American and Indian contexts.

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    1. Yeah, I’ve been in the states all my life.

      Regarding the arranged marriage thing, that’s a bit more complicated and personal, but I had some experiences in college that persuaded me that I was more likely to successfully find a compatible mate through arranged marriage than conventional American dating. Right now, the process is going well. 🙂

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        1. Yeah, the podcast would be fun, I would like to stay pseudonymous though. I’ll contact you over Twitter.

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  2. I responded to the survey, but I wouldn’t call myself a reader of this blog — I follow Razib’s RSS feed. Take it for what it’s worth.

    I’d be happier if US culture had more support for arranged marriage. :p

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  3. Filled out the form — I imagine that on a blog like this however there’s going to be a number of readers that claim more than one mother tongue (default option is only for one)? I’m thinking primarily mixed race/ nationality folks, but also in the Desi context, people with parents from different language communities, or people who immigrated up to or before the age of two and so are natively bilingual. Also, surprised that the third most spoken Indian language does not appear as a default option.

    On a personal level, I started reading on this blog to try and expose myself to more Pakistani/ Bangladeshi/ Muslim/ non Hindu Desi voices, so if you folks are lurking out there, it’d be cool if you chimed in more.

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    1. Dear Lord! Indeed no Marathi in the list. I sincerely and humbly request the administrators to add the missing important languages like Marathi if possible. I can be an easy resident Google/Wikipedia and list out the names of the 22 official languages of the India for your reference too (I have never forgotten the entire list ever since I first learned it in school lol). Perhaps it’s wise to include all of them or most of them. Here it is: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri. In addition there is English which is one of the official languages of the union. Some other important languages in terms of numbers are Tulu and Gondi.

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      1. Santosh ji, I’ll add Kumaoni, Garhwali and Jaunsari(Central Pahari languages) too to that list, this blog is also being read by Central Himalayan folks after all:)

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        1. Haha yeah! But I am kinda afraid that Dr. Razib Khan might get angry and not like it very much if we petition for all the Indian languages to be included in the list lol (I am generally so extraordinarily afraid of Dr. Razib Khan because he is God simply!). He has already provided the Other category and obviously a lot of the 22 are already there in the current default list and probably some in that list like Sanskrit are not even required very much. Anyway, I apologise for my earlier comment again if that was unnecessary lol. (Well I also have a lot of other cringeworthy comments to apologise for and I think this is a good place to do that because the post is pinned! So sorry to all for the cringe caused by my posts before lol!)

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          1. Santosh mate, bindaas. No need to be so continually concerned that your comments are cringe worthy — there are plenty of other commenters that comfortably outdo you in that department (including myself at times!) Keep calm and comment on…

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          2. Santosh ji, I’ve always rather thought that both the BP moderators(Zach and Razib ji, and Razib ji even more so) are pretty chilled out and much less anxious about what is being posted as compared to some other blogs, as long as the comment stays relevant to the topic though(haha the irony, i’m myself talking of things which are not pertinent to the survey), which is understandable and necessary on a blog like BP. And i’m not aware of a single occassion when anyone of the two had a problem with what you wrote over here(or is that escaping my memory?), so, just like SP puts it, comment on🙂
            (Though i’d be lying if i said that, unlike you, I’m not timorous of engaging with Dr.Razib haha, i’m very circumspect while commenting on his posts(this might as well be the first time that I’m commenting on a post of his), maybe because i know very little of the topics that are talked about or maybe due to my weak command of English to engage extensively, and then most of the BP commentators are so knowledgable that I’m left intimidated by their erudition)

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          3. Yes yes Dheeraj garu, Dr. Razib Khan is nothing but the most noble and venerable. I was just referring to his dislike of stupid comments and that’s the reason I try to avoid commenting on his posts because I am very limited in my knowledge with regard to many topics being talked about in this blog (like you have noted to be true in your case too) and in addition, my thinking is also kinda confused and muddled in general (am assessing this to be the case out of my personal experience). And he’s so learned and has done such a lot of skillful and intelligent hard work over the years that it’s very unfair to people like me lol!

            And many others are so extraordinarily learned and capable too as you mentioned too – the mighty SP above being one example – and if I were them I would proceed to do some kind of a self-diSTi-tIskOvaTaM (burA (burI?) nazar (evil eye) removal) ceremony for myself (but apparently we don’t have that habit running in our family and my grandmother apparently never did that for me during childhood; she actually has a superstition *against* nazar-removal ceremonies haha) lol because of all the jealousy that the Santosh is building up for me. (But am just joking. I have nothing but goodwill towards and infinite respect for all of the giants who so graciously and out of infinite kindness comment here and engage with us lesser folks.)

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        2. Santosh,

          Yes yes Dheeraj garu, Dr. Razib Khan is nothing but the most noble and venerable. I was just referring to his dislike of stupid comments and that’s the reason I try to avoid commenting on his posts because I am very limited in my knowledge

          Glad that you have that deference to the ultimate arbiters.

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          1. Haha if you are kinda implying that my statement kinda attests to my boot-licking nature, then I really like that interpretation! But unfortunately I have nothing to gain by being a sycophant to Dr. Razib Khan of all the people because I’m not like any geneticist or anything like that or want some housing to lease in California or things like that and they probably won’t even make me an admin of Brown Pundits or stuff lol (not that I’m interested of course; I am absolutely not interested haha)! It’s just that I really admire not just Dr. Khan but a lot of people; my personality tends to be like that – whatever the feature is called – naivete perhaps.

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          2. And here I was patting my back and feeling so proud of myself thinking I had gotten it all right! I accept defeat (quite grudgingly!). But am super-curious what the correct answer is so I have to make a formal request to you to let me know! But if you think – quite reasonably – that it is too dumb and otherwise quite awkward – and here comes my new dreaded adjective – cringeworthy, to spell it out for me, then that’s fine too lol!

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  4. And could I ask Razib ji that why the questionnaire doesnt enquire the ages/age-groups of the readers?

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    1. Wow, out of my typical India-centric natural bias, I totally missed the lack of Sinhala, one of the official languages of the entire Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, in the options’ list above! But this is the last; I will not comment further on the super-monotonous language business.

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      1. Saurav,

        bahubali 3, I really dont what that is.

        What I see, is that when get drunk and my eyes
        get half closed I look like that Indus Priest.

        Drunk now too, and too much.

        cheers

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    1. There seem to be more Jewish readers than Muslim ones till this point, which I find interesting.
      Never seen one comment, though 🤔

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    2. 1) Surprised at how many people have graduate degrees

      2) Two-thirds of the crowd is agnostic/atheist!

      3) Almost 1/4 of the crowd is broadly sympathetic to Hindu nationalism (or is an outright Hindu nationalist)…which is a much better showing than it gets among most educated, Westernized audiences. Of course, more people are skeptical or opposed…which is expected for a highly educated (and mostly agnostic/atheist) audience. And a bigger number still are either neutral or apathetic.

      4) So many Brahmins…

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  5. Santosh ji, I’ve always rather thought that both the BP moderators(Zach and Razib ji, and Razib ji even more so) are pretty chilled out and much less anxious about what is being posted as compared to some other blogs

    i don’t read a lot of the comments.

    that being said, i do laugh when people like kabir start loudly complaining that something is offensive to him (usually related to religion or politics). kabir’s existence is offensive to me.

    but i still let him comment. (usually, now and then i expurgate whole comments from him, and to be fair, others) my goal is just not to let the comments here turn into the bullying idiocy that is twitter now….

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    1. btw it’s not just kabir. in the early days of this weblog i remember noticing how indian readers were generally more sensitive about a lot of topics and would ask for sensitivity (some hindus would even ask that i be less aggressively anti-islamic as criticism of religion in this way was making them uncomfortable).

      i think since then western culture has moved to be much more like indian culture in regards to elevating offense and prioritizing sensitivity. it’s strange.

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        1. there are three classes of ppl:
          so stupid they know they are stupid
          so smart they know they are stupid
          and smart enuf to think they are not stupid but stupid enough not to know they are stupid

          🙂

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          1. I wish Razib would class himself in his own categorizing

            a) so stupid they know they are stupid
            b) so smart they know they are stupid
            c) and smart enuf to think they are not stupid
            but stupid enough not to know they are stupid

            Kabir, is too nice. He is trying to defend the lets say the indefensible. Kabir I am on your side young man. Fuck the arguments and rationalization.

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        2. My experience with Kabir is that he outright misrepresents people and argues with strawmen. His views aren’t really that outre, he’s a fairly standard liberal Muslim, but the way he prosecutes his views is what makes him annoying.

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          1. he’s a moron who tries to language-police people. that’s obnoxious.

            he’s the perfect stereotype of a sub-intelligent liberal arts student who can read but can never creatively interact with the mantras being promoted by their professors.

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        3. So unfair to Razib, he became too chill since the third one arrived… 🙂

          Have you been around when Zach (before Zavide or Xeres the Magi occurred) was scrubbing all of insanity of his friends?
          Some of it was beyond common troll or hypocrite or irrationality of any of the existing comments. But then, all of it was entertaining anyways 🙂

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      1. US politics has been looking increasingly like Indian politics ever since Trump came on the scene. Incidentally, so has the US mainstream media.

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      2. “hindus would even ask that i be less aggressively anti-islamic”
        Razib, it isn’t about offense I think.

        Most but not all eastern faith practitioners believe in some variation of Sarva Dharma or that all religions and paths are true. Therefore Islam and Mohammed pbuh must be true too. Having said this most people know little to nothing about faiths other than their own.

        It is okay to critique muslims. But attacking “Islam” or “Mohammed pbuh” is scary for most. The same is true of all spiritual masters and faiths.

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  6. It is okay to critique muslims. But attacking “Islam” or “Mohammed pbuh” is scary for most. The same is true of all spiritual masters and faiths.

    interesting view! lots of ppl think attacking islam is OK. it’s an idea. muslims are people. not as OK.

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  7. Just finished this babhru-paNDitair adhyetranuvIkSaNa. I wish Kashmiri were listed as a mother tongue too, but I am not going to complain 🙂

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      1. @Razib

        Yes, they do, languages do not die so easily. And there are revivalist movements in Kashmiri too (among Pandits in the US) and even good stand-up comics.

        However, there is also a section of Pandits who grew up in N India (Punjab, Himachal, Delhi etc) who have almost lost L1 capability in it. Not beyond replacement level, but still alarming.

        I should also mention that for all the fashionable Azadi talk that goes on in the Kashmir Valley, the first-language attitude of majority Kashmiri Muslims to Kashmiri language is actually quite poor too. One can get by in the Valley for years on end without having to speak a word of Kashmiri, which is how many Pakistani militant immigrants from Punjab eke out their living 🙂

        PS: Kashmiri-language chauvinism does not (yet) have critical mass – like Tamil or Bangla movements. Ironically if it does become a factor in local politics, it will benefit India….

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        1. bengal language nationalism has easy causes: push from racist west pakistanis, and pull from a preexistent self-conscious bengali literary culture. tamils have some of the similar due to perceived marginalization by the north culturally and their own ancient traditions.

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          1. Yet political marginalisation of Kashmiris by the much larger India does not lead to ethno-linguistic chauvinism at all, but almost completely religious (Islamist) nationalism. Quite unlike, say, Kurds where the focus is much more on linguistic identity.

            I suspect Pakistan (or Proto-Pakistan ideology, via preachers etc from the cow belt) had a similar pre-existing hold on the local population that long predates current political dynamics. It is an interesting topic to study.

            In some respects, therefore, Pakistan’s Kashmir obsession makes moral sense. Though what ought to be is rarely what is 🙂

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          2. “Yet political marginalisation of Kashmiris by the much larger India does not lead to ethno-linguistic chauvinism at all, but almost completely religious (Islamist) nationalism. ”

            I have a theory (of course exception exists) that if marginalization is done by the same “religious” group it will first take the shape of ethno-linguistic nationalism (Punjabi muslims vs Bengali muslims , N-Indian Hindus vs S-India, Turkey vs Kurds ) but if it’s done by different religious group then it will be religious nationalism (Hindu India vs muslim Kashmiri, Hindu India vs Sikh punjabis)

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          3. Yes – religion is the first divide in a South Asia.

            Bengal did vote for Partition in 1947. It was only after religious division did the language question emerge.

            If we had adopted Persian, would there have been a problem?

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          4. Lol , had it been persian , i think even the punjabi would have revolted against Pakistan

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    1. Wow adhyetranuvIkSaNa is such a big word. In Telugu we have a curious mixed-English-Sanskrit-sounding sarvEkSaNa for ‘survey’ (am assuming the word you have provided is also for ‘survey’. Please correct me if wrong). Does an internal etymology exist for this sarvEkSaNa word in Sanskrit, dear Slapstik, or is it one of those rare cases of contamination of English-like with Sanskrit-like in Telugu?

      Edit: Haha I was/am quite lazy to look up the etymology of adhyetranuvIkSaNa. It seems it should refer to ‘reader survey’ going by the post title and not just ‘survey’?

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    2. Indeed, Spoken Sanskrit dictionary tells me that adhyetR means ‘reader’ and anuvIkSaNa probably refers to ‘survey’ so adhyetranuvIkSaNa is then a compound meaning ‘reader-survey’.

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      1. @Santosh

        Yes, adhyetR is reader ( -tR suffix is typically like English -er). Funnily enough, adhyetR in Sanskrit sounds rather American with the rolled-R.

        I used anuvIkSaNa primarily because it conveys a sense of thoroughness (anu- prefix carries a sense of serially or point-by-point going through something), which is what Razib’s survey was like; as opposed to generic surveys of land or property etc where sarvekSaNa is better.

        The retroflex /R/ dissolves in the saMdhi when followed by a vowel. Hence does not occur in the compound.

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  8. it is strange that you have clubbed blacks and sub-saharan africans in a single category. (by blacks i presume you mean african americans).

    ethnically they are very different people. (how many blacks speak any african language?) even racially they are different. blacks have a significant european ancestry in them.

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    1. you’re point is valid in the details, but it’s “not strange” at all.

      i put south asian as my race/ethnicity, but ethnically i have huge differences with many of the people who post here, and everything in common with the white people who i grew up with. i know the question i’m asking, you don’t.

      also, don’t presume to lecture me about genetics.

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      1. also, don’t presume to lecture me about genetics.

        Ahh, the attitude! Love it!

        This is the reason I haunt this blog. What is a pundit who doesn’t have bit of an attitude on him.

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  9. Also, I suspect labels like “Sudra but “Forward Caste” (e.g. Reddy)” will make many folks just skip this category. You may get misleading picture. “Agrarian forward castes” may have been a better term.

    Agrarian castes like Reddys, Jats, Marathas etc will not unreservedly call themselves Sudras. (These things still matter in India). They will jump upwards to Kshatriya category. This of course does not stop them for clamoring for job reservations citing poor socio-economical status.

    If you get higher score in Kshtriya category, you should know where the numbers are coming from.

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  10. Lol do people even use terms like Shudra/Kshatriya. Mostly people use caste grouping names now like OBC,dalit etc .

    This ties on with the fact that diaspora community has a very “Vedic view” of how Hinduism is practiced in day to day. No one talks in regular parlance “Sanatana Dharma” or Shudra/ Kshatriya. There exists a Hinduism of the “Text” and one of the practice. It similar to difference b/w “folk” Islam and “High”Islam.

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    1. “This ties on with the fact that diaspora community has a very “Vedic view” of how Hinduism is practiced in day to day.”

      🙂
      Exactly. I made this point earlier too. But I was told I was bullshitting, and that born and bred americans who happen to have brown skin know my religion better than me. That’s how we end up with gems like “santa dharma”.

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    2. Now my inclination to detail personal experiences in commentary as opposed to talking about abstract concepts attests to my low intelligence according to what Hindu scholars say but so be it and I had to do this lol. The Shudra-type Sanskritic names thingy reminds me of the time once during my very young childhood I used to be kinda very Brahminical and read Ramayana, Mahabharata and other stuff from the books gifted to me by my teachers. And some of them used to be quite curious about my caste and all that and one teacher asked me what my caste is to which I very earnestly replied Shudra (I had somehow figured out that our family might belong to the Shudra category sometime before that point). She was so flabbergasted and did not know what to say at all lol.

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        1. Lol I didn’t really understand your comment. I was thinking of both caste which has native names in regional languages and categories like Shudra, etc. as immutable and given by birth in my previous post and my family apparently historically came under the category of Shudra though they I have never heard them use that word so far lol (my father who has a low social class upbringing and does not know much Sanskrit at all is the only one who occasionally uses it and in a very ignorant and extraordinarily funny manner at that because he always confuses the Sanskrit words shUdra and kSudra together and folk-linguistically thinks that the shUdras are called that because they are considered Rakshasa-like demonic or something lol (kSudrapUjalu in Telugu means ‘low/mean/demonic rituals’)). During my childhood when I was encountering these terms Brahmin, Vaishya, Shudra, etc. in the Ramayana and Mahabharata I was reading, I used to harass my family to tell me what category among the Brahmin, Kshatriya, etc. we fell into and probably one of the more Sanskritically aware people in my family must have told me that we came under the category of Shudras. They must also have told the actual caste name but I am sure I never registered it at that time till much later because I was too mesmerised by the Sanskritic systems in Ramayana and Mahabharata, I guess lol. Even when the said teacher above was so flabbergasted with my saying Shudra, she proceeded to further ask me something like yes-but-what-within-Shudras and then I really had no proper answer for her because I did not know my caste name at that point lol.

          But definitely we are not currently carrying out my family’s remote ancestral profession anymore which is farming. I don’t even know what Sanskritic category we could currently fall into and the Telugu caste is simply just a label that indicates genetic and occupational history and in the modern world is significant only in terms of marriage and genetics (because most people in India marry within caste) and not at all about occupation lol.

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          1. @Santosh, I see exactly where you are coming from. A child in all his naivete may blurt out they he is a Shudra, but an adult will be much more circumspect in self-describing himself as Shudra.

            Since this is an anonymous survey, they may still get some honest answers. However I will bet my laptop that if you ask some Reddys in their face if they were Shudras, 10 out of 10 them will deny it.

            The only people who proudly own less than prestigious identities are Dalits, but even they reject the tags given to them by upper castes (like Harijan), and use self-coined terms like Dalits and Bahujans.

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          2. I don’t think the term shudra is really historically justifiable in south india. It was not part of Aryavarta where this version of the caste system was born. The south Indian and Sri Lankan caste systems are dominated by farmers (no doubt an ancestral south Indian/Indus elite group).

            The Brahmins are a minuscule population in the south and although ritually at the top of the caste system are not the most dominant (with the exception of medieval Kerala)

            We are projecting the Northern caste system on to the south. I guess it’s a simplification to make things easier, but these elite castes in the south regard themselves as ‘good’ castes and not low.

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          3. Wow I was a bit good in my performance here yesterday but today I have written so very poorly and left a much more room for confusion than normal it seems lol. What I wanted to say with my anecdote was that I personally tend to find that people don’t know much about the Sanskritic categories (except for Brahmins probably) and the system is kinda irrelevant to their lives also and consequently they don’t care about it very much. The teacher was shocked because she could not fathom where I got the names of the Sanskritic category Shudra in the first place, not because I was somehow rare in non-caste-proud-ly and humbly accepting that term for myself but because I was probably the very rare person who used the term at all. And my father also jokingly and in a somewhat anti-Brahminical way says those things from his folk-linguistic conflation of shUdra and kSudra (it appears like he lightheartedly accuses the evil Brahmins for calling him and his caste “kSudra”, ‘socerer’ (in his imagination) when they are anything but evil sorcerers lol); he does not really have any sense of inferiority or superiority arising in his mind because of the term Shudra. Of course he has nothing but pride for his caste which is the thing that is the most relevant to him. I suspect only Telugu Brahmins (but then probably the Telugu Vaishyas (who are otherwise commonly called Komati) and the Godavari Rajus are also included in this) might have the concept of Shudras as a functional category running in their minds when thinking about the other people of Andhra and Telangana.

            But I also suspect that the phenomenon which Scorpion Eater describes also exists: especially in the more modern time periods with increasing Sanskritisation first begun in the Independence movement and slightly earlier (Westernisation in India is accompanied by Sanskritisation also for many groups). I do occasionally come to read articles by various-caste zealot people in Andhra and Telangana trying to class themselves as Kshatriya (and the important thing here is that they do that by painstakingly trying to prove the usual standard biological descent from an ancient Kshatriya dynasty or something and not involving abstract arguments based on any Kshatriya-like occupations they may have held in the past like working as soldiers, etc.) or whatever. But more than this also, many of the zealots in Telugu regions (mainly coastal Andhra) are actually quite content with some form of northern origin for themselves – they don’t care if it is Buddhist or Jain also. But as I said, common people don’t find it important to care about Sanskritic categories at all, especially Shudras.

            But finally, at least one important counter-example runs to the phenomenon in the last paragraph in history. I read that the Kakatiyas generally thought of themselves proudly as Shudras (when they thought about the thing in the Sanskritic terms which would not have consumed their mind a lot of the time probably), I have also once read on Hindutva (or south Indian Hindutva) twitter an emotionally endearing metaphorical poem or something written by some Kakatiya kings or someone on one of their inscriptions where they described themselves as the proud siblings of Ganga on the basis that both themselves and Ganga have their births from the feet of the Lord.

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    3. Saurav, I find some aspects of the discussion on BP bizarre.

      There are 1.34 billion Indians and India can be described as a UN. I don’t feel qualified to make statements about “India”, whatever that means. I get describing Kashi, Rishikesh, Agra, Jaipur, Ajmer, Gaya, Bodh Gaya, different districts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, AP (I don’t like the partition), Kerala etc.

      I like you I hear OBC (some young Indians tell me they now call it BC), SCs, STs, FCs etc. I don’t much remember hearing the word “Dalit” in the 1980s, 1990s or early 2000s in India. [Academic discourse being different.] People use to use OBC, SC, ST servant, riksha vala, press vala (who iron clothes), tailor vala etc. instead.

      In the last five years I have heard the world “Dalit” being used much more. Why is this?

      “This ties on with the fact that diaspora community has a very “Vedic view” of how Hinduism is practiced in day to day.”

      Respectfully I would not use the word “Vedic”. I think that the upper middle class in India and the diaspora in general appear more interested in spirituality or religion or consciousness.

      India has very large spiritual communities, albeit a small percentage of the population. Tens of millions of Indians are completely engrossed in these communities.

      How would you describe the large number of religious pilgrims in Ajmer or Shirdi?

      The word “Sanathana Dharma” is widely known. But it has 10 Darshanas and hundreds of religions and therefore mostly meaningless, just as the word “Hindu” is meaningless. Someone is connected to specific communities or religions, often many different religions (or Panths, Sampradayas, Paramparas).

      What do you mean by a Hinduism of the “Text”? There are millions of texts. And I find few Hindus to be text oriented.

      To the degree people have studied and read texts, they mostly live in India.

      “folk” Islam and “High”Islam.

      I don’t understand what these terms mean either. For example when I talk to an Indian or Iraqi twelver I ask them which Marjas inspire or move them. And what song, poems and quotations, music and art moves them. Every individual is very different and unique.

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  11. In South India though caste(jati) system is/was followed extensively, they never had varna system. There are Brahmins, Pachamas (untouchables), upper caste who mostly did the functions of Kshatriyas and Vyshyas (reddy, kamma, maratha, kapu, naidu, nair, komati etc) , middle castes and lower castes(potter, cobbler, washermen etc) . A few castes like Weavermen, goldsmiths place themselves differently and not particularly with upper castes or brahmins. In South we really follow the caste (jati) system and not the varna system. For example in Telugu/Kannada/Maratha regions upper castes have always dominated brahmins, though brahmins were respected their influence was limited to temple walls. It might be because of historical presence of budhism and jainism.

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  12. In South India though caste(jati) system is/was followed extensively, they never had varna system. There are Brahmins, Pachamas (untouchables), upper caste who mostly did the functions of Kshatriyas and Vyshyas (reddy, kamma, maratha, kapu, naidu, nair, komati etc) , middle castes and lower castes(potter, cobbler, washermen etc) . A few castes like Weavermen, goldsmiths place themselves differently and not particularly with upper castes or brahmins. In South we really follow the caste (jati) system and not the varna system. For example in Telugu/Kannada/Maratha regions upper castes have always dominated brahmins, though brahmins were respected their influence was limited to temple walls. It might be because of historical presence of budhism and jainism.

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    1. Jati is the dravidian-aasi contact (ASI)
      Varna is the Aryan-Dravidian contact (ANI/ASI)

      The Aryans seemed to have had a tripartite division of society (Iran allegedly had caste until the Arabs smashed it to pieces) but somehow in India and in contact with the remnants/ruins of Indus Valley civ, it just became a civilisational feature

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      1. O Shahenshah, I will plead that we do not speak about IVC more than we know. Retrofitting caste system on IVC is bit premature. We really know next to nothing about IVC. We don’t know what they looked like. .We don’t know what language they spoke. We don’t know what mysterious symbols they wrote on all those seals. We don’t know what religion they followed. We don’t know if they had kings and commoners. With so many unknowns, it is kind of unfair to blame them for caste system.

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          1. Hahaha…
            Vrischika-bhOjaka
            babhru-paNDitair adhyetranuvIkSaNa

            May be time to switch to nIlalohita, or even the full one, nIlalohita sandhyA

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      2. Xerxes, I don’t follow your hypothesis.

        Jati is ancestry

        Varna is a description of a person’s quality:
        —Brahmin is Satwa predominant [24 hour meditation]
        —Kshatriya is Satwa and Rajas predominant
        —Vaishya is Rajas and Tamas predeominant
        —Shudra is Tamas predominant (the vast majority of the world’s population)

        For 1 1/2 thousand years (some say more) SAARC (and Turin/Persia/Xinjiang/Tibet/South East Asia) has had a Jati vad challenge to use Kushal Mehra’s phrasing.

        Jati and Varna are entirely different concepts. People can have a different Varna from their parents. Entire Jatis flip between Varnas . . . and politics play

        3+
      3. Xerxes, I don’t follow your hypothesis.

        Jati is ancestry (and that too does not account for adoption)

        Varna is a description of a person’s quality:
        —Brahmin is Satwa predominant [24 hour meditation]
        —Kshatriya is Satwa and Rajas predominant
        —Vaishya is Rajas and Tamas predeominant
        —Shudra is Tamas predominant (the vast majority of the world’s population)

        For 1 1/2 thousand years (some say more) SAARC (and Turin/Persia/Xinjiang/Tibet/South East Asia) has had a Jati vad challenge to use Kushal Mehra’s phrasing.

        Jati and Varna are entirely different concepts. People can have a different Varna from their parents. Entire Jatis flip between Varnas . . . and politics plays a role in this.

        0
        1. People rarely mention Varna or Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra in day to day conversation in the parts of India I have visited.

          Sometimes people say SCs, STs, OBCs (or plane BCs), FCs.

          Jati is also sometimes mentioned.

          These phrases are used far, far more often than Varna identifiers.

          It is hard to correlate Jati from Varna.

          0
  13. “Iran allegedly had caste until the Arabs smashed it to pieces”

    Well the arabs did conquer Sindh, i see no pieces lying around

    2+
    1. From a genetics perspective, there doesn’t seem to be a caste-like structure for Sindhis that is observed in most other areas of South-Asia.

      1+
        1. Razib,

          I remember saying this visa-vis the Lahore samples but I was wrong. They aren’t Mohajirs they’re low-caste Punjabis.

          Mostly Christians and Muslims who have unique names for their tribes that don’t register as traditional low-caste designations, but that’s what they are.

          The Lahore samples aren’t representative however (disproportionately lower castes sampled).

          1+
          1. how did you find that out?

            that seems to make sense to me…some of them are shifted REALLY far AASI for what i would think of punjab.

            0
          2. Read through the 1931 British census on Punjab, as well as an earlier British work, “A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province”. Asked my dad as well, who confirmed these groups exist and are native Punjabis. The Muhajir explanation felt dumb as soon as I said it, as relatively few non-Punjabi immigrants from India went to Lahore.

            I surmised the sample was unrepresentative based on two things. First, large urban cities are a magnet for poor-underclasses generally (especially Christians in Pakistan). Second, based on the frequencies of Muslim-Punjabi tribes identified in the 1931 census, ANI 1 Punjabis should make up around 42% of the population at minimum, with ANI 2 having at least 20% themselves.

            I’m working on trying to identify all the Pak-Punjabi tribes, which is tough as the lower-castes aren’t mad up of large well-known groups, but a bunch of lesser-known ones. Based on what I know now thought, the ANI4’s are well over-represented in the Lahore sample.

            0
      1. It is possible that some regions of the IVC did not have a caste system in prehistory. We have to remember that the IVC had cultural variation in all its constituent regions – Dholavira, Rakhigarhi, Harappa, Mohenjo Daro etc. It was not homogeneous. Although they had a standardised script for trade, central administration and common rituals.

        0
  14. DNA evidence is pretty obvious, so we do know certain things. I’m flabbergasted that people still think we are completely in the dark regarding the language(s) spoken, caste, dalits etc in the IVC.

    0
    1. Generally if something is common to the very fabric of society of both north and south, it probably has an Indus origin like caste and curry

      2+
        1. I have just realized that Karan is an (undercover) OIT guy (girl), I was wandering why he(she) was ignoring my comment with the meaning of the name ‘Karan’. For e.g. (A)Lesandar Karan-ovic aka Alexander the Great. No probs.

          0
          1. PS. The name ‘Alexandar’ has a Serbian origin. The original name is actually ‘Lesandar’ (les=forest or sometimes – hill/mountain; dar=gift). Greeks, who did not have and could not have this name before Alexander the Great, added A (so as in many other cases) to make (A)lexander.

            For example, the name of Serbian tribe Poljani (eng. Polish) who later become a nation – Poljska (eng. Poland) means ‘People from the fields’. They have alternative name – Les(i) (like Americans – Yanks or Germans – Schwaben) what means ‘People from the forests’. About the origin of the name ‘Karan’ I wrote before.

            0
      1. Generally if something is common to the very fabric of society of both north and south, it probably has an Indus origin like caste and curry

        Interesting. I will call it a hypothesis. Not proven one way or other.

        1+
      2. Generally if something is common to the very fabric of society of both north and south, it probably has an Indus origin like caste and curry

        So are potatoes, onions, and chilliies, which were introduced into India by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

        (Not arguing against caste and curry having origins in the IVC, but the antiquity of those things requires more proof.)

        0
        1. Onions were cultivated in India 5000 years ago. Chillies, tomatoes and potatoes were introduced by the Portuguese.

          You are right regarding food, but something like caste which is intrinsic to the core structure of society can not be borrowed so easily.

          Especially in Tamil Nadu which was never conquered by Northern empires. So the idea of a caste system from the north being imposed on the people there is ludicrous. Caste clearly is a pan Indian phenomena with roots in the IVC. And genetics support this.

          1+
  15. @Karan
    “Generally if something is common to the very fabric of society of both north and south, it probably has an Indus origin like caste and curry ”

    Too much of a generalization to say because something is common in both regions. There are other more likely explainations than origins in IVC, especially since steppe descended immigrants did spread through the whole region (i.e. brahmins spreading their version of societal organization through religion).

    1+
  16. I wasn’t sure what my ancestors were when they came to India, kshatriya or brahmins, and I put – shudra. Hope it is complaint with survey methodology.

    1+
  17. LOL @Violet

    vRshcika-bhojaka and sindhu-vastUni are my favourite characters on babhru-p these days… 😀

    0
  18. hello,

    am I the only one who can’t read the new posts, the ones after this one? According to the home page, this survey is the last post.

    0

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