Anth142week4updated - Anthropology 142 Peoples and Cultures...

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Anthropology 142 - Peoples and Cultures of India Week 3/4 Answers to Study Questions (Distributed 4/30/06) 1) What two concepts of does the term "caste" include in popular usage? In other words, what two hierarchical terms are actually being referred to, and sometimes confused? Describe/define each. Which one of these are Indians generally referring to when they speak of 'caste'? Which one are most Westerners referring to? Which one is more salient in practical terms for Indians? Varna refers to large divisions or huge groups (as Fuller explains) such as the 4 varnas: Brahmans = priests, scholars 2) Kshatriyas = warriors, kings; 3) Vaishyas = merchants; and 4) Shudras = farmers, laborers; Varna is more theoretical in nature and has changed with urbanization. Leather workers are now landless laborers. Jarta refers to thousands of locally and regionally based occupational sub-group systems based linked in occupation and community rituals. When people talk about castes, they’re really talking about jati not varna with jati commanding strongest loyalties and personal identity. There is an economic interrelatedness—especially on the village level; Indians generally refer to Jarta when they speak of 'caste' Most Westerners refer to Varna when speaking of caste. In practical terms for Indians, Jarta is more salient. 2) In traditional Hindu society, why are Dalits considered 'untouchable?' Upon what concept is hierarchy in the Indian caste system based? Describe thee categories of things to which this hierarchy applies and give an example for each. Name one practice that belies the logical consistency of this scheme. Dalits (also known as scheduled caste members) are considered ‘untouchable’ as they are considered unclean or impure due to their class and their type of work. Examples are street sweepers; those who carry away dead animals; leather working; and laundry workers. Some are considered the lowest of the low. They are considered so impure; other castes should not have contact with them and are not allowed to enter the houses or kitchens of these other caste members. 3) What is the 'jajmani system'? Jajman- patron. System is feudal system. The jajmani system is a rural area system of social interdependence. Relationships are all tied together based upon occupation and food rank. Specific services by the lower caste Jati are performed and they are provided with either food or money. It is a barter or feudal system. Wealthy landowners own the fields and have several workers such as a potter, barber, and field workers. After harvest, seasonal payments of grain and sometimes money are given to the fieldworkers for their work. 1
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The jajmani system has changed over the years yet the relationships are hereditary being passed down from generation to generation. Purity and pollution are key. Food is ranked for ritual impurity; features have a ritual significance and all Jatis are ranked on a scale. 4) Which varna is ranked highest in India? Name two characteristics of this category in
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Taber during the Spring '06 term at UCSB.

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Anth142week4updated - Anthropology 142 Peoples and Cultures...

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