Im officially an idiot I thought the reception started at 5 and the lecture at 5.30 (I ended up there at 5.40) but I still managed to hit a few points.
Im running 10mins late; like all brown lectures it’s happening in a rather obscure part of the college (mind my gripe I’m getting old).
(1.) the slide is interesting so I’ve taken a pic of it. I’ll post it later on as 3G network is weak here.
(2.) she’s quite a chap called Pense, who argued in 1949(?) in a book that the histories of Leles, Gokhales and other Marathi brahmins mirror the National history of their own.
(3.) she’s showing what looks like a Gokhale family album. It’s showing the pictures and histories of the various members of the family. It’s showing the education and lineage of 5 generations (engineer – post office – engineer – builder). It’s interesting that we see the shift in the Male outfits circa 1940s; the men start wearing shirts and suits.
(4.) “we might see Brahmins as the ultimate form of traditional elite like the samurai or junkers.” This is in fact of some Brahmins who cling on to traditional occupation.
(5.) for those willing to accept the transition; their important social capital enables them to take advantage to proceed further in society
(6.) “Brahmin double” – which disarms criticism from castes below by identifying with it. TamBrams have done that by identifying with classical Tamil
(7.) Marathi Brahmins could not do the same because Marathi non brahmin caste leaders had a strong grip/link to Marathi language leadership.
(8.) she ended on a page from www.lelekul.org
now on to questions (I got the time wrong I thought the reception preceded the lecture).
moderator asked a question
(9.) In the pre-print age writing is a fundamental material pursuit since the idea of writing “family histories” is a very labour intensive process
(10.) Maratha Brahmins had to travel much more than any other Brahmin community (TamBrams).
(11.) There are much deeper class cleavages within the Maratha Brahmin community because they are much more mobile. Deccan upland much poor and not many Mughal-type courts to provide patronage.
(12.) Early Brahmins members of the RSS were lower middle class (small town backward types founded in Nagpur). They were forced back into priestly duties after losing patronage.
(13.) her hypothesis as to why Maratha Brahmins were responsible for Hindutva is because of these class divisions.
(14.) question on poor Brahmins and state formation. Role of upper caste poor for recruitment on state structures in colonial Maharashtra. She answered with an example about Brahmin cooks (always make a living being a Brahmin cook).
(15.) Brahmins were kept out of jobs in Independent India (Maharashtra). Colonial government saw all Maratha Brahmins as seditious trouble makers hence reluctant to recruit them into police.
(16.). Question by Indian Cambridge lady academic. West & south india are the hubs of anti-Brahmins. Answer Brahmin families who don’t make the transition to new type of expertise gravitate towards Hindutva. Less successful Brahmins are the engine ..
(17.) another question / are family genealogies exclusive to Maratha. The questionnaire looks at caste in Bengal and how does gender fit into the dynamic. Answer it’s interesting how prominent Brahmin women were in family histories. They are very much a part of the pictures and central to the family albums / genealogies
Family and caste. Family connections and self-presentations were crucial for large (and nuclearish) family groups to navigate modernity. There is an assumption that there is something modern and mobile about these family genealogies.
(18.) editor of the Modern asian studied asking a question. White American Chap. (Slapstick will love this question)
why weren’t Tamil Brahmins as involved as Kashmiri Pandits in the Independence Movement?
answer her focus on TamBrams because Marathi Brahmins and TBs has to navigate with non-Brahmin groups. KP’s much less socially contested than Brahmins south of the Vindhyas.
Marathis Brahmins imbibe a lot of the Mughalo-Persian and they engage in lots of competition with Kayasths.
KP’s don’t have “major scribal rivals” not do they have major upswelling from castes below. The identification of the caste identity with the national identity is absolutely there and much less problematic.