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Caste System in India


Indians are more than thousands of tribes, with so many invading and immigrant tribes. Today the caste system in India is a complex web of social, political, commercial, and interpersonal relationships based on racial (birth), tribal and regional identities, and cultural practices.

Aryans and dravidian theory is over simplistic dividing Indians in to two language families. All languages can not be placed in 2 categories. Race can not be determined using languages spoken.

Genetics and DNA

Almost all Indian groups had inherited varying portions of their ancestry from a population related to western Eurasians. Most Indians alive today are descended from a mixture of two very different populations, Ancestral North Indians (ANI) and Ancestral South Indians (ASI). Some ANI ancestry was present in almost all Indian groups, but the percentage was found to vary. No groups in mainland India were seen with only ASI ancestry, except few tribes like onge of Andaman. There may be no pure populations of either ANI or ASI left, and was still unknown when exactly these populations had mixed. Ethnic groupings such as castes and tribes are a structure imposed on an already mixed population

Varnas or Job classification

All societies have some sort of social class system in which people are classified based on skills, education, culture etc.. The classification was wrongly called as the caste system.
They are not castes or tribes. Four varnas are:
1) Brahmins (priests, teachers, librarians, lawyers/interpretars, scholars);
2) Kshatriyas (kings, warriors, administrators, agriculturists);
3) Vaishyas (merchants, traders, sailors);and
4) Shudras (artisans, builders/engineers, technicians, service providers and tradesmen/general workers).
White, red, yellow and blue collar workers.

The Four Varna system of ancient India was originally based upon the idea of a social order. Evolution in society depends upon the differentiation of roles and professions. Older societies worldwide, including Europe up through the nineteenth century, had similar social orders of priests, aristocracy, merchants etc.. Now White and blue collar workers.

Varnas and Castes

Castes or jatis meaning birth, are complex social groups to fit in to any model. Varna, is a theoretical model and like Aryan and Dravidian theorey, these are very over simplification of reality. The four varnas can not represent complex systems of thousands of castes. The term Castes, means different things to different Indians. You can not map castes to varnas, as one caste may have people in more than one varna. Varna system had not been rigid, during ancient times.

These divisions are more to do with Indian society rather than any religion. So Indian converts to other religion still live with the caste system. Divisions like clans, race exist in all societies in the world, irrespective of religion they follow.

Social orders

The biggest problem for all social orders is determining the place and aptitude of each individual within it. One’s family of birth can be one of the factors for determining the profession. General perception, "it is more likely that a good musician will arise from a family of musicians, where one can be trained from early childhood". There will be many exceptions to this rule, as the child of a great musician may not be good at music at all.
A progressive society should honor the aptitude, abilities and contribution of each individual. Skill, abilities etc should matter more than the background.

Clans based on profession

During three Tamil dynasties (Pandya, Chola and Chera), the people were divided into five different clans based on their profession: 1. Mallars or farmers; 2. Malavars or hill people who gather hill products, and the traders; 3. Nagars in charge of border security; 4. Kadambars people from forests; and 5. Thiraiyars or the seafarers.

Gotras

Like tribes/castes/clans, for lineage Gotras system is also in use. Might have started with saptha Rishis or The seven sages. The word gotra simply means a shared cowshed. Denotes a male descendant or a disciple of a learned rishi. There were thousands of rishis but eight may be the originators of all the gotras: Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaj, Gautama, Atri, Vasishtha, Kashyapa and Agatsya. There are 49 pravaras, (pravara means One worthy of being invited) named after celebrities from a Gotra. Rishis are named after their mothers: Vashishtha was the son of Vasishthi, Gautama of Gotami. However, the saptha Muni's according to Varahamihira are' Marichi, Vasishtha, Angirasa, Athri, Pulasthya, Pulaaha, and Kruthu'. Currently expanded to 36 or more.

South Indian Brahmins

There were different migrations, of many castes/groups, not just brahmins. Lot of origin stories are based on myths or distorted stories.
Parpanar is more a tamil origin, for people working in the fields of religion and education. There is mention of anthnars reading scriptures. Iyer might have come from word Iyam meaning doubt. They answer questions on religion, prayer, astrology, healing, and so on.
There are too many castes like Desikar, Pandaram, Oduvar, Sthanikars, variyars, Saiva/vaishnava Vellalars are invloved in religion/temple related activities. Some are involved in dance and music, like the Nattuvanars and dancers. Some are invloved in temples of tribal gods or local deities. Odhuvar means reader or reciter. Many are strict vegetarians.

Models and Theories

The history of all human kind begins approximately 2,00,000 years ago when the first anatomically-modern humans are thought to have appeared in Africa. Then, around 60,000 years ago, a band of people ventured out of Africa, into the Middle East, branched out into India and Europe, and ultimately settled all over the planet, replacing or mixing with other early human populations. These new settlers changed as they adapted to different conditions, as they migrated and interbred in complex ways. Eventually, they gave rise to the wide variety of humans found today across the earth: dark-skinned, light-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed, and so on.
Very little is known about the Harappan civilisation. The main problem is to get some DNA from ancient Harappans or other bones from Indus burials. Unfortunately, Inferences and models/theories are hastily made from limited observations and incomplete data. Politicians misuse/misinterpret incomplete information, for their political gains.
May be Indians are mixture of South Asian Hunter Gatherers, Neolithic farmers and Pastoral nomadic people from Central Asia
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