Those were the days when European Colonial Researchers, who came to India were into head and face measurements of people living and dead, willing and unwilling.
The days of when white racists and supremacists, resentfully discovered that:
- they as mlecchas, they were considered as polluted and polluting.
- Many Indians who were forced to come in contact with them for these measurements would go home
- and perform ablutions in the evening to become clean again. (In my great-grandmothers time, the house would be purified with turmeric water…)
The colonials wrote books which were meant for other colonials and Europeans ‘back home’.
- These contained their elaborate and useful research data.
- These contained their racist, unsympathetic and biased thinking based on Victorian Morality and applied to the “ignorant savage natives” that they thought we were.
- These did not disguise their own feelings of superiority And their resentment of Indian superiority.
- Maybe they hated the Indian caste system, because they were at the rock bottom, as mlecchas or outsiders.. even though they were the ones with the guns who collected taxes!
Macaulay’s English Education Policy (1833),: “We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.” : ensured that, along with the english education Indians received, some of them would also be indoctrinated with same intolerant biases against all systems Indian and a glamour for all things western...
What I present here:
- is a link to a document written in 1909, with data of the head and facial measurements of many South Indian Castes and Tribes who were labelled as Dravidians by the European Colonials. (This classification of ‘Dravidians’ is disputed today. Similarly, this source says : ”Biologically, there are no castes and tribes, there are only communities.” )
- It documents some customs and some interesting stories. For eg it talks about some other castes that were made into brahman castes at the order of a king who wanted to feed a certain number of brahmins on some occasion.
- It is written by Edgar Thurston and K . Rangachari of the Madras Govt. Museum.
- If you can ignore the negativity, the lack of sympathy and the superiority.. it makes very interesting reading about some castes and customs of South India in 1909. And it has photographs.
Source : http://ia341242.us.archive.org : This might download faster, it is a 500+ pages doc : http://ia341242.us.archive.org/1/items/castestribesofso01thuriala/castestribesofso01thuriala.pdf
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula