61 Replies to “The practice of untouchability by district”

  1. Very interesting map.

    I feel like this NW / SE pattern is largely true for so many socioeconomic indicators, with some states that flip like Odisha, Gujarat, Punjab.

  2. A line from the paper
    “Interestingly, we also find that 22% of the SCs and 15% of the STs too admit to following this practice. As mentioned
    earlier, there are numerous jatis within each broad varna category, and amongst the SCs, those who constitute the fifth varna or, more precisely, the avarnas (that is, those falling
    outside the fourfold classification). There are a number of sub-castes which are also placed hierarchically with respect to each other. These could be the higher sub-castes practising untouchability against the lower sub-castes, particularly those working as cleaners, sweepers and others engaged in
    similar occupations. ”

    This paper does not pass the smell test for me. Practising untouchability is banned by law in India. If a Brahmin or a high caste person gets implicated in a complaint by a Dalit for untouchability its a jail term and a severe fine. The law is really extremely severe and it places the burden of proof of innocence on the accused.

    Being from the UP myself, I’ve never seen any sane person practice untouchability.

    Nearly every middle class household employs a maid in India. Most maids would be from the Dalit castes. How is a maid supposed to cook, clean etc if she cannot even enter someone’s kitchen?

    I wish these social science types actually conduct some real research than massage their pre-conceived notions with claptrap like this.

    1. @Janmejeya
      I came across that paper long time ago and they tried to quantify untouchability by asking the question – “Will you let an SC touch your utensils in your kitchen”, i remember that the highest % of practioners were Brahmins followed by OBCs, and as you mentioned, quite a handful of SCs reported YES too. Now, this begs the question — Since the question was asked about touching kitchen utensils, how are the SCs who reponded affirmatively eating their own food ? 🤔

  3. Had always thought that Gujarat and Hindistan were distinct regions, but this data and child sex ratios indicates convergence on important social metrics. Also explains why Gujaratis have been far more eager to discard Gujarati and embrace Hindi than the Marathis, Bengalis and Oriyas.

    1. These things are not comparable. People do sex selective abortions because they want boys. The only people they are harming are themselves. Who is there to complain to the police?

      Regarding untouchability, if you ever visit India, I challenge you to call out a Dalit by their caste name in a demeaning way. I assure you, the American consulate will have to extricate you from a very sticky situation.

      Dalits are not completely helpless folk in India. Even in dirt poor Eastern UP and Bihar. Contrary to perception, Dalits have been politically very successful in UP especially as compared to states like Punjab and Tamil Nadu where the middle landed castes have completely dominated politics and been very oppressive to Dalits.

      I am not saying that poor Dalits aren’t exploited and oppressed at all in UP. Examples of such happenings exist. But these are purely examples of oppression of a weaker group (mostly Dalit) by a more powerful group (mostly landed castes like Rajput, landed OBCs etc). These are NOT examples of untouchability. These people did not learn to be oppressive from regular readings of Manusmriti.

      Untouchability, a practice where upper castes did not let Dalits touch them, enter their homes, temples etc is dead in India. Its been dead for quite some time now except in the feverish imaginations of Hinduism hating, left wing academics who don’t want to let go of an easy material for writing social science papers.

      1. +1 to @Janamejaya

        you wrote exactly as i would. so didnt see any need to make my own comments. you certainly have pulse of matter.

        no doubt untouchability and caste based oppression existed historically, and still does to some extent. however, it plays out much more differently than a literal reading of “manusmriti” would suggest. one need to have lived experience of india to understand caste.

        1. it plays out much more differently than a literal reading of “manusmriti” would suggest.

          oh, really? the words of a religious text can’t be used to extrapolate to the experience and phenomenon of the present day? interesting you say that!

          (i totally agree fwiw)

    1. I am not bullshitting.

      I may not be entirely correct since I am not a social scientist who has done research in the field. I can only give you a view from my lived reality.

      However I can bet you anything I want, I am orders of magnitude closer to reality than what that stupid paper you linked above says. Dalits practicing untouchability against other Dalits. Seriously man!! They must have been doped when they wrote this. On one hand these academics say that Dalits were never really Hindu. Their folk practices must be seen separate from ‘Brahminism’. And then they turn around to claim Dalits practicing untouchability amongst themselves.

      I am sure there also must exist a paper which shames Hindu, North Indians for Sati Pratha by claiming the exact percentage of wives that are still being burnt on their husband’s funeral pyres.

      1. yeah, perhaps you are right. i don’t know. but there are a lot of bullshitters on this page so i have to be skeptical. people routinely just make stuff up.

        i know there are a handful of dalits who read this blog (going by surveys). would be curious as to their opinions.

    2. @Razib Khan
      I want to know what exactly you found problematic in Janamejaya’s comment. I also think that what we see in India nowadays is good old oppression, not untouchability. This might seem controversial but do you think that those 4 upper caste men in Hathras would’ve forcefully copulated with a woman whose mere shadow falling on them would be seen as polluting if they were practicing untouchability. I’m not saying that this oppression isn’t terrible or that it shouldn’t be eradicated but only that it’s different from untouchability.

      1. “I want to know what exactly you found problematic in Janamejaya’s comment”

        don’t expect to reply if you unironically use the world ‘problematic’

        what the fuck does that even mean?

        1. @Razib Khan
          “what the fuck does that even mean?”
          I mainly use it as a word for something morally wrong. I know that this isn’t the dictionary definition ( I hadn’t looked it up till now but still knew it) but thought that this is how it is colloquially used

          1. no, you are right, that IS how people use it. so just say “morally wrong.” i refuse to engage with the word “problematic.” say what you mean.

            i don’t think the statement is morally wrong. i’m skeptical because india is a society where people seem to care a lot about caste judging by how they react when i ask them what their jati is etc. it’s how you organize life. but now you say untouchability isn’t a big thing? i hope you are right, but i’m skeptical. this is like men explaining how sexism isn’t a big deal. they could be right. i hope they are right! but when you talk to women you get a totally different view (as a nonwhite person i don’t think racism is a big thing, and i speak from experience. it is A thing. but not a BIG thing)

  4. i am also wondering, how does one really “practice” untouchability? i mean, how can one really practice untouchability in a crowded local train in mumbai, where a dozen strangers are constantly touching you?

    practicing untouchability makes only as much sense as practicing racism. things like racism or casteism/untouchability are attitudes. no doubt negative attitudes towards people of different castes or different races exist, but to actually “practice” them in modern economy is well nigh impossible.

    1. I don’t know how they define it. But it could be more subtle things like having different silverware and utensils for certain segments of society. Scrolling below, that appears to be the case.

      But even if it is more subtle it’s pretty messed up.

  5. The original paper by Omkar Joshi and Amit Thorat. It’s funny. I looked for sample and population parameters in the paper. Couldn’t find any.

    Then I went to NCAER, who funded the study. There is a reference to 5000 odd people interviewed. That’s it….sample is 5000 for pan-India conclusions!! What probability can such a small sample aggregate to the population? I know potato chips marketers who go to 50000 people (pan India) to check new flavours.

  6. Then I went to NCAER, who funded the study. There is a reference to 5000 odd people interviewed. That’s it….sample is 5000 for pan-India conclusions!! What probability can such a small sample aggregate to the population? I know potato chips marketers who go to 50000 people (pan India) to check new flavours.

    that’s not the best N…but your comment sounds stupid. “what probability can such a small population aggregate to the population?” must be indian english cuz i’ve never heard this phrase

    1. @Razib…..I meant what is the probability that the same proportion of Indians hold the stated preference distribution of the N?

      I also have serious academic objections to the way the sample questionnaire is framed. The whole study is based on answers to exactly 2 questions. The second question is, “Would there be a problem if someone who is a SC were to enter your kitchen or share utensils?” This question has no ramp and also denies situational awareness to the responder.Like, under what circumstances? Who exactly? Why? I would be pissed off if a stranger entered my kitchen, without even considering the question of caste.

      1. I would be pissed off if a stranger entered my kitchen, without even considering the question of caste.

        you think some ppl just thought the survey was perhaps asking about break-ins?

        as for the result, not sure about the absolute value, but the pattern in the map is EXACTLY like the pattern in a lot of responses. the cow-belt clusters together, and the south and west bengal and maharashtra are different. so it’s capturing SOMETHING. though as you say what is it capturing? from what i have heard caste is more relevant in UP than WB or the south, but i’m not sure.

        1. The questionnaire was asked as part of the Household set in an NCAER study, which was done in the vernacular!! If you translate the question to any Indian language, it becomes highly inflammatory because of a lack of subject information. Like, is it the house help, or the neighbour? Our verb forms follow the subject (unlike English) and this question doesn’t look well phrased at all.

          I will give you an example on how the academic pattern never translates to reality. Only a few states in India have had Dalits as Chief Ministers. And who have served full term. All these states are in the cowbelt regions or the dark regions. The white regions of the map, especially Tamilnadu and Kerala, have not had a Dalit CM. Now what does that imply?

          1. Our verb forms follow the subject (unlike English) and this question doesn’t look well phrased at all.

            is this true of every indian language? i find it quite plausible that the way question asked skews results. this happens with the world values survey. that being said, the pattern matches many others asked.

            And who have served full term. All these states are in the cowbelt regions or the dark regions. The white regions of the map, especially Tamilnadu and Kerala, have not had a Dalit CM. Now what does that imply?

            this is, to be frank, a stupid point. a much higher proportion of bangladesh’s history has seen a woman leading that nation than india. what does that imply? it doesn’t imply that bangladesh is a more feminist nation, that’s for sure.

          2. Can this simply be explained by Sailerian High +low against the middle? Karnataka has has atleast 1 Dalit cm.
            Also, it may be true that ritual untouchability may not be practiced as prescribed in manusmriti but from the oppressed point of view, it may feel like a newer form of untouchability. How many of us have talked to Dalits about such matters? I have to say that Dalits are no longer hapless lot and leverage the SC/ST act in their favor.

  7. i would be interested to here Alive talk about the methods they employed in the survey – I cant access the link Razib shared; the overall maps do not seem very out of sync with general trends – though i personally doubt the Dark red Parts of the map.

    The biggest surprise the Dark Red region of Assam

    Coming from the Whitest part of India viz Untouchability I have never seen it in practice myself – but i have heard anecdotes from friends who had different utensils for certain communities .
    It is known to exist even in Central MH – east of Pune.

  8. I agree with Ugra
    Its harder to believe 50% prevalence maps till we see the methods of sampling (including size); As Ugra said a sample of 5000 is very low for a country of 1.35 billion.
    Sample size of average exit Poll for Lok Sabha elections are around 100k with range going from 20k to 700k ;
    And we know how bad some of those are;
    Sample size of 5000 appears laughable for such strong conclusions.

  9. thanks found it ; to be fair the authors do say However, since the samples for these groups are small,
    the results are not conclusive, but merely indicative.

    Table 1: Does Any Member of Your Household Practise Untouchability?
    Brahmins NO – 56 YES 44 HOLD this thought

    Table 2: Is It a Problem If an SC Enters the Kitchen or Uses Utensils?
    Brahmins NO 85 YES 15 DOESNT GO WITH ABOVE QUESTION

    It seems intuitive that the answers would be other way around – cant see how 44% brahmins who practice untouchability which only 15% say they have a problem when SC enters their Kitchen

  10. It seems intuitive that the answers would be other way around – cant see how 44% brahmins who practice untouchability which only 15% say they have a problem when SC enters their Kitchen

    the utensil thing is one element of various elements and the union of those sets = practice untocheability. perhaps some ppl interpret it to be really liberally like “would not marry untouchable” or something? idk

    the authors say some really weird things. eg they say untouchability has been around for 10,000 years. that’s just made up 😉

  11. Many households have separate utensils for menial workers and would be outraged at the thought of sharing the table with them, but some of this could also be a class rather than caste thing. I’ve seen this in Bengal so I can imagine what it would be like in redder areas on the map. A Jat friend once told me that their family was considered liberal in their village but even they would not go to the extent of sharing utensils with an ‘Untouchable’. He also added that untouchability doesn’t count when you’re having a romp in the field with an untouchable village maiden.

    1. “He also added that untouchability doesn’t count when you’re having a romp in the field with an untouchable village maiden.”
      @Razib Khan
      Does the data on amount of admixture between different castes support this being a modern phenomenon or an ancient one

  12. indians are different from westerners about this sort of hygiene. it’s not JUST class. i assume it has to do with ritual purity, but i’m sure someone will explain it away. no one in america that i know has issues with utensils being used by strangers. that’s just a weird concern. there are special dishware for special occasions, but that’s not about strangers.

    also, in the USA people share cups with strangers, and in some cases will eat off their friend’s plates with their utensils. the chinese eat out a communal hotpot, and not just families, but with friends,

    in my own family my father’s mother had really weird ideas about hygiene and utensils. the explanation i was given is that her father was of bengali brahmin background and he didn’t give up all of his habits when he converted (and really there was no reason to do so, as they weren’t necessarily against islam)

    1. One of my best friends, a Patel guy, has some interesting rules at his parent’s house about cups. They have separate cups for each individual of the family that no outsiders can use. I wonder if it stems from ritual purity.

      1. yep. i think this is a brown thing. my dad (with the brahmin grandfather) has weird attitudes toward cup use of others. his whole family is like this. my mother explained to me “it’s because they’re hindu.”

        i had a tableeghi uncle who purposely ate off other peoples’ plates and did all sorts of things in large part because he thought it made him a better muslim to not take into account distinctions.

        the indian commenters here can prattle on “well, it’s class you see….” but rich people in other parts of the world are not like this. not using a cup is illustrated in narratives, but, it’s to show that you barely think of the other person as a human. it’s really really bad. not normative.

        1. One of the cuisines I discovered and liked, living in the US, was Ethiopian, where you not only eat off of a common plate but a common piece of bread with everyone around the table.

          My habits changed in America (though they had already started to change in college in India). As a child, I used to follow all the “Brahmin” eating and drinking habits. On the latter: it was a practice in our household (and that of other Tamil Brahmins I knew) not to touch one’s lips to a glass when drinking from it; you always held it an inch away and let the liquid gush into the mouth.

    2. “also, in the USA people share cups with strangers, and in some cases will eat off their friend’s plates with their utensils.

      Are you sure? I unironically think this is disgusting…and I’ve never met White people who do this.

      I also think it’s a nonspecific way to measure “untouchability.”

      1. Also disagree with Razib’s framing…eg, I wouldn’t share a cup with Elon Musk, but he is obviously a superior human compared to myself. It’s simply not what you do, regardless of the race or caste of the person. Superiority or inferiority don’t factor into it.

  13. I guess the the regional variation is captured reasonably in the Paper/Map ;
    Everyone would agree casteism is more rampant in the Cow-Belt (that doesn’t mean its non-trivial elsewhere) ;
    Where most commentators (Scorpion, Janamejaya, Ugra,) who have lived experience DISAGREE is the extent of UNTOUCHABILITY. not the Captured Variation. If I were to guess I would guess lower % by nearly half. Though this is my Armchair guess.
    IMO number of untouchability higher than 50% in such large pockets just doesn’t seem feasible – take it from me who appears to be more critical of Brahmanism on this blog than others. I have often been accused of overstating casteism by my Savarna peers. Yet for me the paper didnt pass the smell test

    Having said that I wouldn’t be surprised if (according to some survey) even 95% Indians strongly support their children marrying in the same caste. Endogamy is very strong thought its weakening.

    wrt Ritual purity – i would urge people interested to read Letters between Hanumant Potdar (prime mover of Gita press) and Gandhiji over Gandhiji’s fight for Temple entry of Dalits. Really fascinating peek into the fight against untouchability.

    1. When it comes to sharing food and utensils at least, it’s easy to conflate caste-based untouchability, ritual purity, OCD/germaphobia. The concept of jhuta is hard to even translate into English but is very much a part of Indian culture. If someone is ok sharing utensils with a well off Dalit but not with a menial Brahmin, is that considered untouchability?
      Strict untouchability is hard to practice today, but those who think this map overstates the extent of it could simply ask themselves, how often have they seen someone sit down for a meal with their domestic servant, at the same table? Even in the Delhi office I used to work in, the office boys and other menial employees would sit down to have lunch only after all other employees had left the table. I doubt anybody ordered them to do that, it was just considered normal.

      1. “Even in the Delhi office I used to work in, the office boys and other menial employees would sit down to have lunch only after all other employees had left the table. I doubt anybody ordered them to do that, it was just considered normal.”

        That’s a messed up workplace, so hierarchical. But maybe it’s a different cultural context I don’t get.

    2. Yes I am skeptical about the numbers…how does this paper operationalize “untouchability”? I will take a look after work.

    3. Ok had a look.

      “The household schedule of the 2011–12 IHDS posed the following question to the primary respondent of each of the enumerated survey households: “Do some members practise untouchabili- ty in your household?” The respondent’s answer was recorded as a “Yes/No” response. In case the response was a “No,” it was followed by the second question: “Would there be a problem if someone who is a Scheduled Caste were to enter your kitchen or share utensils?,” again seeking a “Yes/No” response. Any household that responded in the affirmative to both or either of the two questions was regarded as practising untouchability.”

      I think this is a nonspecific measure of untouchability…most of us would say “yes” to the second question even if we didn’t practice untouchability.

      1. Read a little more about the responses…agree with Gaurav, we should expect the answer to the second question to be higher than the first…are we sure that the respondents interpreted the survey correctly?

        1. “…we should expect the answer to the second question to be higher than the first…”

          The methodology is not very clear. From what I understood, only those who said No to the first question were asked the second question. Suppose out of 200 persons asked, 100 said yes to the first question and the remaining 100 said no to it but out of them 50 said yes to the second question. Then 150 would be considered practising untouchability, 100 for the first question and 50 for the second. At least, that’s my understanding but I could be wrong.

  14. As someone living in India for over 29 years (my life), I deeply deeply doubt the veracity of this report. I would more interested how the academic defines the “practice of untouchability” and measures the same.
    It should be noted that Uttar Pradesh has seen a Dalit elected at least 4 times to the post of Chief Minister (head of government at state). There are countless parties (practically every party tbh) that look for votes from Dalits.
    If the prevalence were 50% (as the map tends to suggest), none of this should have been possible.

  15. “also, in the USA people share cups with strangers, and in some cases will eat off their friend’s plates with their utensils.

    A simpler test, would you share your bottle of water with a friend, who does not drink South Asian style. i.e. without lips touching the bottle.

    In SL we see this in South Indian Dosa/Vegetarian places, stainless steel cups and drunk without lips touching the lip of the cup.

    To be expected that the person who thinks that certain people are of no value to society, would also not like SC people using their utensils.

    Wonder what happens on fist date. No tongues down the throat. I guess the tongue up the coochie is an absolute no no.

    Or is like ” untouchability doesn’t count when you’re having a romp in the field with an untouchable village maiden”

    1. My friends and I never would share water or any drink. Actually I didn’t share drinks with my (White) ex-girlfriend either, then about 5 dates in she asked why I never did that. I was confused that there was an issue. I always assumed that not sharing utensils was normal behavior everybody did. I am literally baffled that Whites can act in such disgusting ways (and yet, they have strict rules against “double-dipping”…)

      Also it doesn’t really have much to do with caste, cause all the Indian immigrants are Brāhmins and Baniyas anyways. I remember when a group of family friends (again, all Brāhmins and Baniyas) went to an upscale Moroccan restaurant in Portland, then we found out to our horror that it had communal dining. Everyone was uneasy and scared.

      Razib attributes this to a sense of superiority among Indians. I do not think this is the case, because the response plays out even when among equals or superiors.

      I think the rough American equivalent is East Coast cutlery culture. Having experienced both, I prefer the Indian way.

      1. yeah superiority is the wrong word

        it’s a cultural norm. your generation is clearly more FOBy than mine, though that’s cuz you have critical mass.

    2. “A simpler test, would you share your bottle of water with a friend, who does not drink South Asian style. i.e. without lips touching the bottle.”

      That’s not a test of untouchability. That’s jhuta, which is not directed towards Dalits alone. Merely entering a kitchen doesn’t make it jhuta. Since the questionnaire specifically mentions “Scheduled Castes”, I think it identifies untouchability quite effectively. Untouchability in its strictest sense is impractical today but I don’t think the tendency towards it are overstated.

  16. “this is, to be frank, a stupid point. a much higher proportion of bangladesh’s history has seen a woman leading that nation than india. what does that imply? it doesn’t imply that bangladesh is a more feminist nation, that’s for sure.”

    There is a huge difference between a woman from a dominant community becoming the ruler of a country (especially in a pseudo-democracy or authoritarian setup) than a man/woman from a historically marginalized community coming to power.

    Women have ruled in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan because they were born to powerful men and powerful families. They did not rise to power themselves. The political setup in these countries made it easy to them to inherit power from their male family members without upsetting any power sharing between elites. Women have ruled in ancient and medieval times for the same reasons. Which woman ever led an invasion of another region and created a new dynasty?

    The latter (man/woman from a historically marginalized community coming to power) is much much harder, very near impossible in most places. Mayawati could come to power in UP after decades of reservations in education institutes and govt. jobs had created a Dalit lower-middle and middle class and ~20 years of political work by Kanshi Ram who founded BSP and organized the Dalit voting bloc. Its a major achievement of Uttar Pradesh, much as people especially in the academia like to shit on it for whatever reason. Holding political power leads to political patronage and is a major factor in uplifting the economic status of entire sections of society. A Dalit Chief Minister can ensure “below poverty line” cards get issued to Dalits saving a whole generation of their children from malnutrition. A Dalit Chief minister can also ensure tenders and political patronage be handed out amongst their family, creating a completely new political elite.

    In UP the next generation of Dalit leaders is already here. Chandrashekhar Azad is one such. So are the numerous Dalit leaders who were poached from BSP by the BJP in 2014.

    In Tamil Nadu and Punjab, the always dominant, land holding middle castes co-opted the Dalit struggle, captured power permanently and have completely marginalized Dalits from any political power.

    I sometimes feel most people in the liberal arts academia are not really concerned about real issues (most Dalits are still in villages living a grim life). Their real concern is shitting on Hinduism, North India, UP, Bihar etc. “Oh look, UP and Bihar are so bad that even the Dalits there, practice untouchability amongst themselves.” There was another academic paper based on “research” some years ago that claimed a higher percentage of Hindus defecated in the open because the Manusmriti advised it or something.

    https://theprint.in/india/governance/hindus-are-less-likely-to-use-a-toilet-than-muslims-in-india/44959/

    Seriously what percentage of Dalits, who are poorer and most likely to not have a toilet at home defecate in the open because of their interpretations of injunctions in Manusmriti.

    If they really were concerned about Dalits, they would have realized a long time ago that Manu-Smriti does not hold much relevance in the relations between caste groups in modern times. Harping on Manu-smriti or “untouchability” is just a way to signal that an academic is toeing the approved line.

  17. I think its a simple case of writing papers to get them published because it fits what the academic peers are going to accept. But what is good about this paper is that one can now go about trying to quantify what exactly constitutes the lived experience of caste discrimination.

    So even if one thinks this is mistaken, we can now go ahead and try to come up with better criteria and questions and essentially probe people and then look to police records for confirmation. The problem with right in India is that, they can add to research and academia instead of screeching like a banshee. There are too many juicy full toss left/liberals have created that they can hit for a six.

    I am trying to go past looking at mistakes if any in work to try to think of how to improve things. Far too much life has been wasted in dunking things. Or so I hope to keep this spirit going into the next week atleast .

  18. The map roughly tracks the Indo-European/Dravidian linguistic divide. Any chance that there are statistics comparing the practice by people with different primary languages within the same region?

    I can think of good reasons why region may dominate over correlated but not identical linguistic affiliation, and good reasons why it could be the other way around.

    1. Many maps tracking social indicators show this kind of pattern, with peninsular India, Bengal, and Northeast India generally performing favorably and the north-northwest less favorably.

      It also generally tracks the BJP / non-BJP voting areas, as well as the traditionally wheat-growing areas vs the traditionally rice-growing areas.

      Some states don’t follow the pattern though, including Gujarat and Odisha, probably others too.

  19. Someone here talked about Gujus being open to Hindi and extrapolating this caste similarity stuff is why.

    I disagree. Gujus are broad minded with. nationalistic thinking. They like Hindi for that reason. Also btw, they can all still speak Gujarati.

    This is for two reasons. Guju society had a lot of relative tolerance with interconnected trade between groups like Bohras in shipping, Parsis in port side trade, and vania shopkeeps, accountants, and shroffs. Second, outside of a few Rajput communities Gujus are undersupplied in soliders for defense. Defense is the key to a nation. Gujarat cannot function on its own without depending on other groups like Marathas etc for support in that sphere. After Modi, army recruitment in Gujarat is up and people are expanding their horizons, but Gujus are, in recent history, dependent on others for their defense. This along with again with compromise symbiotic culture makes them quite nationalistic yet at the same time quite niche oriented and thus quite casteist.

    Gujus will often say some behavior or personality trait is in someone’s “blood.”

  20. I find some of the huge jumps across state borders hard to believe. e.g. in my experience there’s no real cultural difference between North-East Maharashtra and Southern Madhya Pradesh. (They often even speak the same language). Are we sure its not just an artefact of how the data was collected ? (Especially the Maharashtra data seems dubious to me)

  21. The study is flawed. I have never ever come across anyone in J&K, Haryana, Delhi or Punjab, ever refuse to eat at a wedding or banquet because the waiter was from the scheduled castes. Untouchability means you neither touch them nor take food from their hands. Even in trains and buses, passengers take their food or tea and water from whoever is serving it.
    There used to be this Hindu paani Muslim paani thing before independence, but no longer. The only care taken is when Muslims might refuse to eat meat when they are not sure of the halal bit. And a few
    Sikhs too, in J&K, over jhatka.

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