Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife (Part 7, page 2 of 7)


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Part 7

The people called Hadi, Doma (Domba), Chandala and Badhatau (sic) are not reckoned amongst any caste or guild. They are occupied with dirty work, like the cleansing of the villages and other services. They are considered as one sole class, and distinguished only by their occupations. In fact, they are considered like illegitimate children; for according to general opinion they descend from a Sudra father and a Brahmani mother as the children of fornication; therefore they are degraded outcastes.

The Hindus give to every single man of the four castes characteristic names, according to their occupations and modes of life. E.G. the Brahmana is in general called by this name as long as he does his work staying at home. When he is busy with the service of one fire, he is called ishtin; if he serves three fires, he is called agnihotrin; if he besides offers an offering to the fire, he is called dikshita. And as it is with the Brahmana, so is it also with the other castes.

Of the classes beneath the castes, the Hadi are the best spoken of, because they keep themselves free from everything unclean. Next follows the Doma, who play on the lute and sing. The still lower classes practice as a trade killing and the inflicting of judicial punishments. The worst of all are the Badhatau, who not only devour the flesh of dead animals, but even of dogs and other beasts.

Each of the four castes, when eating together, must form a group for themselves, one group not being allowed to comprise two men of different castes. If, further, in the group of the Brahmana there are two men who live at enmity with each other, and the seat of the one is by the side of the other, they make a barrier between the two seats by placing a board between them, or by spreading a piece of dress, or in some other way; and if there is only a line drawn between them, they are considered as separated. Since it is forbidden to eat the remains of a meal, every single man must have his own food for himself; for if any one of the party who are eating should take of the food from one and the same plate, that which remains in the plate becomes, after the first eater has taken part, to him who wants to take as the second, the remains of the meal, and such is forbidden.”

The social duties of non-Brahmans as pictured by Alberuni are -

“The Kshatriya reads the Veda and learns it, but does not teach it. He offers to the fire and acts according to the rules of the Puranas. In places where, as we have mentioned, a tablecloth is prepared for eating, he makes it angular. He rules the people and defends them, for he is created for this task. He girds himself with a single cord of the threefold yagnopavita, and a single other cord of cotton. This takes place after he has finished the twelfth year of his life.

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