Caste System in India and its Analysis
CASTE SYSTEM IN INDIA
NOTE: This topic is a part of TSPSC Group-1 Paper 3, group-2 Paper 2 and group-3 Paper 2.
Caste is a social stratification, which lies at the very root of social structure of most social groups in India.
Caste structure is a pattern of social behaviour in which groups and individuals are guided by prescribed set of norms,values and sanctions.
Sociologists generally referred Caste or ‘jati’ as a hereditary traditional asscociation with an occupation and a
particular position in the local heirarchy of castes.
The caste system is generally interlinked with the ”Verna system.” According to it the society is divided into
four models as Brahmana (Preist ans Scholar),Kshatriya (Ruler and Soldier),Vaishya (Merchant) and
Sudhra (Peasant,labourer and Servant.) The sudhras were locally called as ‘The Untouchables.’ The trem varna means colour and was originally used to
refer to the distinction between Arya and Dasa in the ancient India.
The main features of the caste system includes:
Food and Social intercourse restrictions
Custom, dress and speech distinction
religious disablitities and privileges enjoyed by the upper sections.
In literary terms, diversity means differences. However in social context the meaning is more specific; it means collective differences among people, that is, those differences which mark off one group of people from another. These differences may be of any sort: biological, religious, linguistic etc. On the basis of biological differences, for example, we have racial diversity. On the basis of religious differences, similarly, we have religious diversity. The point to note is that diversity refers to collective differences.
The term diversity is opposite of uniformity. Uniformity means similarity of some sort that characterizes a people. ‘Uni’ refers to one; ‘form’ refers to the common ways. So when there is something common to all the people, we say they show uniformity. When students of a school, members of the police or the army wear the same type of dress, we say they are in ‘uniform’. Like diversity, thus, uniformity is also a collective concept. When a group of people share a similar characteristic, be it language or religion or anything else, it shows uniformity in that respect. But when we have groups of people hailing from different races, religions and cultures, they represent diversity. Thus, diversity means variety.
However, diversity needs to be differentiated from fragmentation. Diversity means existence of differences in a whole. It does not mean separate parts. Fragmentation does not mean differences, it means different parts and in that situation each part would be a whole in itself. For all practical purposes it means variety of groups and cultures. We have such a variety in abundance in India. We have here a variety of races, of religions, of languages, of castes and of cultures. For the same reason India is known for its socio-cultural diversity.
Unity means integration. It is a social psychological condition. It connotes a sense of one-ness, a sense of we-ness. It stands for the bonds, which hold the members of a society together. There is a difference between unity and uniformity. Uniformity presupposes similarity, unity does not. Unity is of two types, first which may be born out of uniformity, and second which may arise despite differences. French sociologist has termed these two types as mechanical and organic solidarity respectively.
Mechanical solidarity is generally found in less advanced societies and characterized by being based on resemblance, segmentation (clan or territorial type), ruling with repressive sanctions and prevalence of penal law, highly religious and transcendental and attaching supreme value to the society and interests of the society as a whole. On the other organic solidarity is generally found in more advanced societies and is based on division of labour, characterized by the fusion of markets and growth of cities, rules with restitutive sanctions and prevalence of cooperative law, is increasingly secular, human oriented and attaches supreme value to the individual dignity, equality of opportunity and social justice.
In context of a society, pluralism can be seen in various aspects. It could be religious pluralism, cultural pluralism, linguistic pluralism or ethic pluralism or could be a combination of more than one kind. Pluralism recognizes diverse groups and seeks to provide a mechanism in which no one group dominates the state and in which interests of all groups are reasonably taken care of. Thus pluralism can be said to be a diffusion of power among many special-interest groups, prevents any one group from gaining control of the government and using it to oppress the people. Our pluralist society has many groups such as women, men, racial, ethnic groups as well as broad categories as the rich, middle class and poor. In such a scenario domination of political power by one group could lead to neglect of the others resulting in social tensions which may he harmful to society as well as the state.
Autocratic regimes did not have much scope for political pluralism though good rulers tried to maintain a balance among various social groups. In a democratic form of Government, political power depends on the number of votes. In such a case, biggest group could usurp political power and use it to much disadvantage against minority groups. Such a situation exists in countries where domination is based on religion. In such countries, minorities have been suffering from various disabilities. Pluralism, due to being inclusive, is capable of avoiding such situations. When pluralism prevails in a society, no group dominates. Rather as each group pursues its own interests, other groups that are pursuing theirs, balances it. To attain their goals, groups must negotiate with one another and make compromises. This minimizes conflict. These groups have political muscle to flex at the polls; politicians try to design policies that please as many groups as they can. This makes the political system responsive to the people and no one-group rules.
Thus unity and diversity are the two states of the society and pluralism is the mechanism through which unity amidst diversity is achieved.
Unity amidst Diversity
Inspite of diversities, Indian community shares certain bonds of unity. The first bond of unity of India is found in its geo-political integration. India is known for its geographical unity marked by the Himalayas in the north and the oceans on the other sides. Politically India is now a sovereign state. The same constitution and same parliament govern every part of it. We share the same political culture marked by the norms of democracy and secularism. The geo-political unity of India was always visualized by our seers and rulers. The expressions of this consciousness of the geo-political unity of India are found in Rig-Veda, in Sanskrit literature, in the edicts of Asoka, in Buddhist monuments and in various other sources. The ideal of geo-political unity of India is also reflected in the concepts of Bharatvarsha (the old indigenous classic name for India), Chakravarti (emperor), and Ekchhatradhipatya (under one rule).
Another source of unity of India lies in what is known as temple culture, which is reflected in the network of shrines and sacred places. From Badrinath and Kedarnath in the north to Rameshwaram in the south, Jagannath Puri in the east to Dwaraka in the west the religious shrines and holy rivers are spread throughout the length and breadth of the country. Closely related to them is the age-old culture of pilgrimage, which has always moved people to various parts of the country and fostered in them a sense of geo-cultural unity. As well as being an expression of religious sentiment, pilgrimage is also an expression of love for the motherland, a sort of mode of worship of the country. It has acted as an antithesis to the regional diversity and has played a significant part in promoting interaction and cultural affinity among the people living in different parts of India.
Indian culture, has a remarkable quality of accommodation and tolerance. There is ample evidence of it. The first evidence of it lies in the elastic character of Hinduism, the majority religion of India. It is common knowledge that Hinduism is not a homogeneous religion, that is, a religion having one God, one Book and one Temple. Indeed, it can be best described as a federation of faiths. Polytheistic (having multiple deities) in character, it goes to the extent of accommodating village level deities and tribal faiths. For the same reason, sociologists have distinguished two broad forms of Hinduism: sanskritic and popular. Sanskritic is that which is found in the texts (religious books like Vedas, etc.) and popular is that which is found in the actual life situation of the vast masses. Robert Redfield has called these two forms as great tradition of Ramayana and Mahabharata and the little tradition of worship of the village deity. And everything passes for Hinduism. What it shows is that Hinduism has been an open religion, a receptive and absorbing religion, an encompassing religion. It is known for its quality of openness and accommodation. Another evidence of it lies in its apathy to conversion. Hinduism is not a proselytising religion. That is, it does not seek converts. Nor has it ordinarily resisted other religions to seek converts from within its fold. This quality of accommodation and tolerance has paved the way to the coexistence of several faiths in India.
Indian society was organized in such a way that various social groups were independent of each other. One manifestation of it is found in the form of Jajmani system, i.e., a system of functional interdependence of castes. The term “jajman” refers generally to the patron or recipient of specialised services. The relations were traditionally between a food producing family and the families that supported them with goods and services. These came to be called the jajmani relations. Jajmani relations were conspicuous in village life, as they entailed ritual matters, social support as well as economic exchange. The whole of a local social order was involved (the people and their values) in such jajmani links. A patron had jajmani relations with members of a high caste (like a Brahmin priest whose services he needed for rituals). He also required the services of specialists from the lower jati to perform those necessary tasks like washing of dirty clothes, cutting of hair, cleaning the rooms and toilets, delivery of the child etc. Those associated in these interdependent relations were expected to be and were broadly supportive of each other with qualities of ready help that generally close kinsmen were expected to show.
Sociologist M.N.Srinivas has called this ‘vertical unity of castes’. The jajmani relations usually involved multiple kinds of payment and obligations as well as multiple functions. No caste was self-sufficient. If anything, it depended for many things on other castes. In a sense, each caste was a functional group in that it rendered a specified service to other caste groups. Jajmani system is that mechanism which has formalised and regulated this functional interdependence. Furthermore, castes cut across the boundaries of religious communities. We have earlier mentioned that notions of caste are found in all the religious communities in India. In its actual practice, thus, the institution of jajmani provides for inter linkages between people of different religious groups. Thus a Hindu may be dependent for the washing of his clothes on a Muslim washerman. Similarly, a Muslim may be dependent for the stitching of his clothes on a Hindu tailor, and vice-versa.
Efforts have been made from time to time by sensitive and sensible leaders of both the communities to synthesise Hindu and Muslim traditions so as to bring the two major communities closer to each other. Akbar, for example, founded a new religion, Din-e-Ilahi, combining best of both the religions. Some bhakti saints like Kabir, Eknath and Guru Nanak, as well as some sufi saints made important contributions in forging unity among to communities. At the time of independence struggle, Mahatama Gandhi laid extreme emphasis on Hindu Muslim unity which was instrumental in India becoming a secular state and moving on the path of progress.
All these factors have helped in developing a composite culture in the country which provided a model for the preservation and growth of plurality of cultures within the framework of an integrated nation. The above account of the unity of India should not be taken to mean that we have always had a smooth sailing in matters of national unity, with no incidents of caste, communal or linguistic riots. Nor should it be taken to mean that the divisive and secessionist tendencies have been altogether absent. These tendencies were at full force at time of independence when the partition took place. There have been occasional riots, at times serious riots like those after Babri Masjid demolition and in Gujarat in 2002. Incidents of oppression and violence against members of scheduled castes take place form time to time and regionalism has expressed itself in extreme in separatist movements in the North East and in a little less extreme form in the violence against north Indians in Mumbai. The redeeming feature, however, is that the bonds of unity have always emerged stronger than the forces of disintegration.
India is a large country with different geopolitical conditions in different parts of the country. This has brought differences in social evolution of the groups living in different parts of the country. Apart from the geo-political diversity, interactions with foreigners due to invasions, trade and missionary activities have also led to foreign influences and social groups coming to India. All these have impacted the Indian society in one way or the other. A large number of foreign invader communities like the Greeks, Kushans, Sakas and Hunas settled in India and were in due course assimilated in Hinduism, while retained some of their characterstics and hence formed different social groups. Muslims maintained their separate religious identity but adapted themselves to Indian conditions creating yet another category of social groups. Presently, Indian society is highly diverse. Almost every major religion is represented in India. Institution of caste has added one more dimension to the diversity and every geographical region has developed its own language and culture. Some of the traits of diversity are as under:
Caste is the most important social concept in the Indian society. It has continued since thousands of years and has not confined itself to Hinduism and has percolated itself to other more egalitarian religions like Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. We can find castes among the Muslim, Christian, Sikh as well as other communities. Muslims are divided into classes of Ashraf and Ajlaf. Ashraf are in turn divided into Shaikh, Saiyed, Mughal, Pathan while Ajlaf consist of various other castes like teli (oil pressure), dhobi (washerman), darjee (tailor), etc. among the Muslim. Similarly, caste consciousness among the Christian in India is not unknown. Since a vast majority of Christians in India are converted from Hindu fold, the converts have carried the caste system into Christianity. Among the Sikh again we can hear of a number of castes including Jat Sikh and Majahabi Sikh. Caste system is a closed system. Entry in a caste is only through birth in the system while exit is impossible. The system is discriminatory as it allows certain privileges to the high castes while the lower castes face disabilities. It is maintained by enforcing the notions of pollution and purity which are enforced through elaborate rules governing touch, dining and marriage.
Caste as a regional reality can be seen in the different patterns of caste-ranking, customs and behaviors, marriage rules and caste dominance found in various parts of India. Caste structure and kinship; caste structure and occupation; and caste structure and power are three important aspects which are discussed as under:
1. Caste Structure and Kinship
Caste structure is intimately related to the kinship system amongst the Hindus in India. The sole reason for this relationship lies in the endogamous nature of caste system. Caste is basically a closed system of stratification, since members are recruited on the criteria of ascribed status. Kinship is a method or a system by which individuals as members of society relate themselves with other individuals of that society. There are two types of kinship bonds. One is consanguine and the other is affine. Consanguine ties are ties of blood such as, between mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter, etc. Affinal ties are ties through marriage, such as, between husband and wife, man and his wife’s brother, etc.
Kinship in India is largely an analysis of the internal structure of the caste and its sub caste the gotra. Kinship system found in various parts of India differs from each other in many respects. However, generally speaking, we can distinguish between the kinship system in the Northern region, the Central region and the Southern region. North India is in itself a very large region, having innumerable types of kinship systems. This region includes the region between the Himalayas in the North and the Vindhyas in the South. In this region a person marries outside the village since all the members of one’s caste in a village are considered to be brothers and sisters, or uncles and aunts. Marriage with a person inside the village is forbidden. In fact, an exogamous circle of a few villages around a man’s village is drawn. Hypergamy is practised in this region according to which a man takes a wife from a clan which is lower in status to his own clan. That is, a girl goes in marriage from a lower status group to a higher status group. The effect of this hypergamy and village exogamy is that it spatially widens the range of ties. Several villages become linked to each other through affinal and matrilateral links. The clans, lineages, and kutumbs are all part of the internal structure of the caste at the same time being part of the kinship organization. These groups are all the time increasing and branching off with time. The organization of family in the northern region is mainly patriarchal and patrilocal. The lineage is traced through the male, i.e. patrilineal system is followed in this region. It is patriarchal because authority lies with the male head of the family and it is patrilocal because after marriage the bride is brought to reside in the house of the bridegroom’s father.
Generally, in most of the castes in the north such as the Jats, an agricultural caste of South Punjab, Delhi and Haryana the “four-clan” rule of marriage is followed. According to this rule, i) a man cannot marry in the clan to which his father (and he himself) belongs; ii) to which his mother belongs; iii) to which his father’s mother belongs; and iv) to which his mother’s mother belongs . In this region a person avoids marriage with kins which are related to him or her five generations on the mother’s side and seven generations on the father’s side ideally. However, in reality these rules can be broken in some cases. In the northern region, therefore, marriage with cousins, removed even by two or three degrees is viewed as an incestuous union. In most parts of this region, as mentioned earlier, village exogamy is practised by most of the castes, especially the Brahman, Kshatriya and Vaishya castes. This rule is known in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab, as the rule of Sassan. In Central India which includes Rajputana, the Vindhyas, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Orissa we find the general practice of caste endogamy. Hypergamy is most characteristic of the Rajputs of this region and village exogamy is also found in this region. However, in this region especially in Gujarat and Maharashtra amongst some caste communities we find cross-cousin marriages being practised. Here there is a tendency for a man to marry his mother’s brother’s daughter. But marriage with the father’s sister’s daughter is taboo. The preference for a single type of cross-cousin marriage seems to move away from the taboo of marrying cousins of any class in the northern region. Thus, in many ways this preference suggests a closer contact with the practices of the southern region.
The Southern region comprises the states of Telangana,Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala where the Dravidian languages are spoken. This region is distinct from the northern and central regions of India in the sense that here we find basically preferential rules of marriage. Here a man knows whom he has to marry while in most areas in the north a man knows whom he cannot marry. Most of the parts of the Southern region except some, like the Malabar, follow the patrilineal family system. Here also we find exogamous social groups called gotras. The difference between the exogamous clans in the north is that a caste in a village is held to be of one patrician and therefore, no marriage is allowed within a village. Sometimes even a group of villages are supposed to be settled by one patrilineage and marriage between them is prohibited.
In the South, there is no identification of a gotra with one village or territory. More than one inter-marrying clans may live in one village territory and practice inter-marriage for generations. Thus, the social groups, which are formed due to this kind of marriage pattern in the South shows a centripetal tendency (of moving towards a centre) as against the centrifugal (of moving away from the centre) centre) tendency of social groups found in north Indian villages. In the South, a caste is divided into a number of gotras. The first marriage creates obligations about giving and receiving daughters. Hence, within exogamous clans, small endogamous circles are found to meet inter-family obligations and a number of reciprocal alliances are found in South Indian villages. Apart from castes, which are patrilineal in the southern region, we also find some castes, such as the Nayars of Malabar district who follow matrilineal system of kinship. A typical Nayar household is made up of a woman, her sisters and brothers, her daughters and sons and her daughter’s daughters and sons. Amongst the Nayars, property passes from the mother to the daughter. But the authority even in this system lies with the brother, who manages the property and takes care of his sister’s children. Husbands only visit their wives in this system. The relationship between the caste structure and the kinship system is so intertwined that we cannot understand one without understanding the details of the other.
2. Caste Structure and Occupation
The hereditary association of caste with an occupation used to be a very striking feature of the caste system. A caste is considered to be high if its characteristic way of life is high and pure and it is considered to be low if its way of life is low and polluting. By the term ‘way of life’ we mean whether its traditional occupation is ritually pure or polluting. In the association of caste structure with a hereditary occupation the “jajmani system” forms the framework. The jajmani system is a system of economic, social and ritual ties between different caste groups in the villages. Under this system some castes are patrons and others are service castes. The service castes offer their services to the landowning upper and intermediate castes and in turn are paid both in cash and kind. The patron castes differ from one region to another depending on the socio-economic and political status of the castes. For example, the Rajput, Bhumihar and Jat are the patron castes in the North and Kamma, Reddi and Lingayat in the South. The service castes comprise Brahman (Priest), Barber, Carpenter, Blacksmith, Water-carrier, Leather-worker, etc. Thus, to understand regional variations we have to know something about the ownership of land, the land tenure status and adherence to the jajmani system. These economic organizations depend a lot on the caste structure and regional topography and vice versa.
There is congruence between high caste status and land ownership. At the top of occupational hierarchy stands a group of families, which control and own most land rights in the village/region. They also belong to the caste occupying the highest rank. Next in the hierarchy would be estate managers, landowners of relatively smaller size who are drawn from the castes who occupy a position next to the highest ranking castes. Smaller tenants and subtenants occupy the middle ranking caste groups. Finally, laborers are drawn from the lowest ranking caste. The tendency of land ownership by the high castes serves to maintain and re-impose the existing caste hierarchy. However, with the changing times, impact of colonial rule and the consequent introduction of western education, this general association of higher caste with higher class (in terms of ownership of land, wealth and power) has been disturbed. However, in spite of these changes the ritual criteria of caste ranking remain important. Although even in the ancient times it was not all-important, as secular criteria of wealth and power of which land ownership is an important aspect did determine the status of a caste. The early nineteenth century account of Abbe Dubois, a famous French philosopher, who travelled extensively in South India, exemplifies this aspect very clearly when Dubois stated, “thus the caste to which the ruler of a country belongs, however low it may be considered elsewhere, ranks amongst the highest in the ruler’s own dominions, and every member of it derives some reflection of dignity from its chief”. When we observe the regional patterns, we find that in the plains of Uttar Pradesh, two or more cultivating castes coexist. There is also the presence of a large number of scheduled caste groups, which have a numerical preponderance in the population. They generally constitute the labor force in this region. Caste groups are many and are heterogeneous in nature. There is a lack of uniformity in ranking and therefore, the caste structure is not well defined as is found in the southern regions.
Traditional Bengal had five categories of Brahmans—Saptasati, Madhya deshi, Rarhi, Barendra, and Baidik. Of these the last three have had a recognizable and significant identity and an eminent position in the social hierarchy of Bengal. At the other end of the caste ladder l) were the sudras. Sudras were also in turn divided into ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ castes based on their hereditary occupation. In Orissa, the Warrior castes owned most of the land and combined soldiering with farm management. The outcastes, referred to as ‘praja’, were their servants. The other castes, including the Brahmins were in a position of economic dependence and political subordination to them.
Turning our attention to regions that are clearly dominated by the presence of one agricultural caste we find the case of Haryana and Punjab. In these states we find the dominance of a single agricultural caste referred to as the ‘Jats’. As compared to the north, in the district of Tanjore, we find a clear-cut hierarchy existing in the caste system with Brahmans as land-owners. The Hindu social structure is clearly demarcated between the Brahmans, the non-Brahmans and the Adi-Dravidas. The Brahmans are the landowners; the non-Brahmans are the tenants, sub-tenants service giving castes while the Adi-Dravidas generally constitute the category of landless agricultural laborers.
3. Caste Structure and Power
Central to caste system are caste panchayats and leadership. These power structures are highly formalized in certain caste groups and informal in others. The panchayat literally means a group or council of five. In a village it refers to a group that presides over, and resolves conflict, punishes people transgressing customs and launches group enterprises. It must be remembered that the village panchayat is quite different from the legislative use of the term panchayat. The usage, after the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act 1922, refers to a statutory local body, formed through elections, vested with legal powers and charged with certain governmental responsibilities. In certain villages traditional caste panchayats and leaders are still a powerful means of control. The democratic panchayat with legislative powers and traditional panchayat may overlap in certain regions.
Regional caste structures, in part, account for variations in their respective power structure. It is important to know what qualifies caste for regional dominance. According to Srinivas (1966), a caste is said to be dominant when it is numerically the strongest in the village or local area and economically and politically exercises a preponderating influence. The status of a dominant caste appears to rest on such criteria as:
1.the control of land and economic resources;
3.a relatively high ritual status in the caste hierarchy; and
4.Educational status of its members. The above factors combine to place a particular caste group in a position of political dominance.
A near monopoly of management rights in local resources (usually agricultural land) and control of the same gives the group an ability to control the lives of the others. Numerical strength alone may not place a group in a bargaining position. It needs an economic power base to backup its strength. Once economic rights are in possession, however the size of a group does become important. The control of resources by members of a dominant caste leads in turn, to making decisions for others, which constitutes real dominance. Regional variations that account for dominant caste can be explained by i) the degree to which a single large land holding caste controls a set of dependent castes, ii) rigidity of caste ranking, iii) the existence of two or more dominant caste groups in a region. Studies from various parts of India suggest that dominant castes do not exist everywhere. Areas where a landowning group has been able to establish itself in proportionally large numbers, and yet maintain distinctive character (by strictly regulating marriage and descent) that dominance has been possible.
Local power flows mainly from land, which is the main source of wealth. Power is safeguarded if it is confined to a unified and numerically preponderant caste group. Numbers alone do not guarantee power. Caste groups numerically preponderant, but with divided loyalties, creating disunity, may not wield power. It is only when a caste group becomes politically united that it becomes a political force. This is very important because in the new democratic political system where every vote counts the numerical preponderance of a caste group gains an additional meaning. Power may also accrue to a jati, when its members have effective connections with the power of the village panchayats. In regions where religious groups and tribals are intermixed and no single caste possesses enough land, power or numerical strength, in such a condition, there is bound to be dual or multiple domination in a region.
Karve (1953), in her study of the Malabar Coast has pointed out certain distinct features present in a region. The order of dominance among castes parallels the order of caste rank. The exclusive nature of high-ranking castes is further reinforced by ritual notions of purity and pollution. High ranking Brahman castes of this region possess landed wealth, power and control, besides the traditional right to perform rituals; they also have right to religious learning and worship at temples. Subordinate castes are obliged to worship according to their ritual prescriptions and they do not have the right to religious texts like, the Veda, Upanishad, etc. Their economic and political subordination further enhances the dominant position of high-ranking castes.
Organization of ritual and temple services, concentration of land holdings correlates caste rank with secular power and promotes consistency in the total hierarchy of inter-caste relations. In regions where caste and power hierarchy overlap there is a definite concentration of power, wealth and land invested with high ranking caste groups. Correspondingly ritual sanctions reinforced the super ordinate status of upper caste groups and subordinate status of the lower caste groups. Thus, this correlation leads to the minimizing of disputes. Regions, which do not reveal a major correlation between caste and power structures, are characterized by certain features very different from the earlier example. Caste ranking may not be clear-cut and may promote disputes about caste ranking and status within the hierarchy. Caste groups of equal rank may be constantly disputing over their mutual positions in the hierarchy, resulting in dissent and dispute over ranking. Such conflicts get consolidated over a period of time resulting in formalized factions within the caste groups. Factions may promote disputes between them. Lack of clarity in caste ranking results in a diffused power structure, with no single caste group wielding economic, political and ritual clout
In the districts of Punjab, Haryana and parts of U.P., especially in the upper Ganges districts, middle ranking castes such as the Jat, Ahir, Kurmi, etc. wield substantial amount of power and hold positions of dominance. The agricultural castes wield substantial power, and are numerically preponderant in some of these regions. Political and economic interaction among castes in this region, however, forms a somewhat imperfect hierarchy as political and economic power is diffused. Ritual and secular power may not coincide everywhere. The region is marked by a lack of rigid stratification of castes, lack of concentration of political and economic power in a single caste group, resulting in the diffusion of political power.
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Sources: Nios, Ignou, Adityaupsc ,Wikipedia.