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Importance of Brahmanism in society

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siganeswarie

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The caste system in India is viewed as a "closed system." Only new members are brought into the new caste by birth. Most groups are seen from the inside, as others cannot be a part and see the dynamics of it. Each caste group usually has two types of social groups inside of it. One, which forms incestuous, with nonmarriageable kinship group of relatives of both sides, and the other which is composed of individuals whom can marry each other (Khare 13).
It is known in India, that leadership positions in society are monopolized by a few dominant castes. The Brahmans or Brahmins (there are variations of the spelling) are the dominating, high caste in India. However there are varying "degrees" of Brahmans. Kanya-Kubja, Tamil, Tanjore, and and others of numerous villages are names of Brahmans. Separation of these Brahmans from others is one of several indications of social status. Picture Here Possession of material goods, social power or influence, and social skills, classify grouping (Khare 115). In modern India economic competition and education are predominate. Khare states, "among the Kanya-Kubja Brahmans the most significant indicator of class is their modern occupational status" (67).
A typical village is divided among individuals within the caste. For example it is first divided into Brahmins, Non-Brahmins, and AdiBrahmins. Second, into landowners, and agricultural laborers. Third, is into the lower hierarchy of the blacksmiths and into the lowest caste of the untouchables (Beteille 58). Thus, Brahmins were the landowners as well as the social elite. In today's time there are several Brahmins who do not own land and a small and increasing number of Non-Brahmins who do. The distribution of power has shifted from the Brahmins to the Non-Brahmins. As Beteille states, "this means that class and power positions are no longer tied to caste in the same way as they were in the past" (59). There is much evidence to show that Brahmins held material power at every level, at every period of Indian history. In most areas there are Brahmin dynasties, holding the dominate caste ideal.
Rules of Eating

Rules are guided by and determined by the Brahmin caste. For example, "one can rank the high castes in order on the basis of whether the Brahmin will accept water, fried food, or boiled food from them; and one can rank the low castes in descending order on the basis of whether their contact pollutes water" (Dumont 80). It's as though the Brahmins set the dietary eating habits for others. A Brahmin eats alone or in a small "pure" square. He must bathe, and his torso is bare. Usually an image of a deity is brought to the kitchen for offerings before eating can be started. If a Brahmin sees an impure woman, child, or person of a lower caste, food is then considered not edible (139). "Food, accordingly, continues to be the mainstay of daily orthodoxy and rituals" (Khare 103).
 
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