Comparisons of Islam and Hindu

Comparisons of Islam and Hindu - Robert Schnautz April 7,...

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Robert Schnautz April 7, 2008 Non-western Studies/ Tamil Reciprocal Interactions between Muslims and Hindus In the Southern tip of India and Sri Lanka there is both a monotheistic and polytheistic religion. Hinduism being the larger, and more popular religion in the area, while there is a small amount of Muslims, or Moors spread out throughout the region. Even though both these religions range in the way they worship and live daily life, they do share some same aspects. Hinduism is not only polytheistic, but also believes in a caste system. The caste system is based on hierarchy and ranks individuals. Unlike our American view of equality for everyone, the caste system places people in certain groups, and within these groups is an occupation as well as certain rights. Jati is the basic building block for the caste system and in English it means species, type, kind or category of thing (McGilvray lecture Feb. 25). Based on your parents is how your jati is determined, and is neither patrilineal nor matrilineal but both, and the only way to get out of your jatis is death, rebirth, expelled from it, or if you dedicate your life to becoming a samyisa, which has no caste (McGilvray lecture Feb. 25). The highest caste being Brahmin and these individuals include scholars and priests. The next highest caste or varna is Kshatriya, and usually includes kings or in the older days warriors. Vaishya is the preceding varna and this is the merchant class, and the lowest varna is the Sudra, and the occupation usually associated with them is laborers. While there are four varnas, there is a class of people that are not included in any of the varnas, and these people are called the “untouchables”, and their
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jobs usually deal with waste removal or dealing with high pollution. Depending on the town or city most members of the Jati live near each other, but rely on other jatis to do their jobs so that life is sustainable. Jatis are also endogamous and try to marry within their own Jati. Even though this system doesn’t work out equally for everyone, it makes the community efficient, because it gives everyone a job and makes the society interdependent on each other. Unlike Hindus, Muslims do not share the same concept of the caste system, but in some ways, their society is shaped hierarchical. The three categories of Muslims in South India and Sri Lanka are Maulanas, Bawas, and Ostas. Maulanas claim patrilineal descent from a close relative or associate of the Prophet Muhammad and get their genealogical connection to the Prophet is recorded in a silsila or generational chain of patrilineal ancestry that some times goes all the way back, through the Prophet or a member of his family, to Adam and Eve (McGilvray Crucible Chapter 9: 292-293). The occupations that most Maulanas take up are paddy cultivation and commerce with no particular interest in
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course ANTH 1100 taught by Professor Stack,eile during the Spring '08 term at Colorado.

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Comparisons of Islam and Hindu - Robert Schnautz April 7,...

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