Please forward this error screen to 158. This argues that the Jains needed protection when they arrived in the area and recruited sympathetic local people to provide it. These people were then distinguished from others in the local population by their occupation as protectors, with the caste system in kerala pdf all being classed as out-caste. An alternative theory, also explained by Pullapilly, states that the system was introduced by Nambudiri Brahmins themselves.
Although Brahmin influences had existed in the area since at least the 1st-century AD, there was a large influx of these people from around the 8th-century when they acted as priests, counsellors and ministers to invading Aryan princes. At the time of their arrival the non-aboriginal local population had been converted to Buddhism by missionaries who had come from the north of India and from Ceylon. The Brahmins used their symbiotic relationship with the invading forces to assert their beliefs and position. Buddhist temples and monasteries were either destroyed or taken over for use in Hindu practices, thus undermining the ability of the Buddhists to propagate their beliefs. The Brahmins treated almost all of those who acceded to their priestly status as Shudra, permitting only a small number to be recognised as Kshatriya, these being some of the local rulers who co-operated with them. By the 11th-century, this combination of association with kings and invaders, and with the destruction or take-over of Buddhist temples, made the Brahmins by far the largest land-owning group in the region and they remained so until very recent times.
Their dominating influence was to be found in all matters: religion, politics, society, economics and culture. The Nambudiris had control of 64 villages and asserted that they had powers given to them by the gods, so much so that they considered even other Brahmin groups to be outside the caste hierarchy. Both writers consider this to be the traditional Nambudiri myth of origin. The Nambudiri Brahmins were at the top of the ritual caste hierarchy, outranking even the kings. Anyone who was not a Nambudiri was treated by them as an untouchable. The Nambudiris had varying rules regarding the degrees of ritual pollution while interacting with people of different castes. In return, most castes practised the principles of untouchability in their relationship with the other regional castes.
In the colonial period, many lower castes were converted to Christians by the European Missionaries, but the new converts were not allowed to join the Syrian Christian community and they continued to be considered as untouchables even by the Syrian Christians. Anand Amaladass says that “The Syrian Christians had inserted themselves within the Indian caste society for centuries and were regarded by the Hindus as a caste occupying a high place within their caste hierarchy. Syrian Christians followed the same rules of caste and pollution as that of Hindus and they were considered as pollution neutralisers. Rajendra Prasad, an Indian historian, said that the Syrian Christians took ritual baths after physical contact with lower castes .
A Chovan must remain twelve steps away from a Nair, and a Pulayan sixty-six steps off, and a Parayan some distance farther still. Pulayans and Parayars, who are the lowest of all, can approach but not touch, much less may they eat with each other. Nonetheless, higher ranked communities did have some social responsibility for those perceived to be their inferiors: for example, they could demand forced labour but had to provide food for such labourers, and they had a responsibilities in times of famine to provide their tenants both with food and with the seeds to grow it. There were also responsibilities to protect such people from the dangers of attack and other threats to their livelihood, and so it has been described by Barendse as “an intricate dialectic of rights and duties”. British colonial pacification removed the threat of the peasant harvests being ravaged by armies or robbers and their huts being burned to the ground. By this time there were over 500 groups represented in an elaborate structure of relationships and the concept of ritual pollution extended not merely to untouchability but even further, to un-approachability and even un-seeability.
Kshatriyas were rare and the Vaishyas were not present at all. The roles left empty by the absence of these two ritual ranks were taken to some extent by a few Nairs and by Syrian Christians, respectively. The process of amelioration of caste distinctions by various social reform movements were overtaken by the events of 1947. Article 15 of that document outlawed discrimination on the grounds of caste and race. The demise of orthodoxy, right beliefs, has not meant the demise of orthopraxy, right practice.
Lower castes, especially members of scheduled castes, remain badly treated by those of higher castes. But the gap between beliefs and practices is the source of tension and change. The lower castes no longer accept their position in the social hierarchy, and no longer assume that their lower economic status and the lack of respect from members of the higher castes are a “given” in their social existence. Caste is not disappearing, nor is “casteism” – the political use of caste — for what is emerging in India is a social and political system which institutionalizes and transforms but does not abolish caste. These classifications determine what – if any – assistance a caste community receives in any given area.
Successive governments have brought in legislation and programmes to protect the rights of Dalit communities. The safeguards enshrined in the Constitution stipulate that governments should take special care to advance the educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, that untouchability is unacceptable and that all Dalit communities should have unrestricted entry in Hindu temples and other religious institutions. There are political safeguards in the form of reserved seats in State legislatures and in Parliament But prejudices die hard. Kerala do not include Dalits any longer in their list of communities that still represent “distinct pockets of deprivation”.
The list includes only the traditional coastal fishing communities, the S. Around 2003, the Government of Kerala recognised 53 Scheduled Castes, 35 Scheduled Tribes and 80 Other Backwards Classes. 68 Scheduled Castes, who comprised 9. Hindu, with a negligible number of Sikhs and Buddhists.