I N T E R - C A S T E R E L A T I O N S
T h e present study is based on field work1 ment as a tourist resort. Manali also happens
carried out in Va-shishta2—a K u l u Village to be a base for all trades with Lahaul, Spiti
nearly two miles and a half away from and Ladakh and the rest of India.
Manali which is regarded as the queen of
Vashishta, the village, in which the present
Kulu Valley.
study was conducted is two miles and a half
K u l u is the main town of the district and away from Manali in its North-East direc-
is also the seat of the district headquarters. tion and is situated on the left bank of the
It is 176 miles far from Pathankot—the river Beas at an altitude of 6,500 feet. It
nearest broad gauge rail head. T h e other may be termed as a semi-hermit village. A
railway station which is the nearest railway newly constructed jeepable road connects the
station is Joginder Nagar in M a n d i district village with Naggar-Kothi road, which runs
of the Himachal Pradesh. T h e approach to along the course of the river Beas. T h e
the district is mainly by motor-road both village is also approachable by the said r o a d ;
from Jogindernagar and Pathankot. One while going up to Kanchanikoot—a distance
can reach K u l u from Chandigarh, the of two miles from Manali, a n d by climbing
Capital of the Punjab, either by road, via nearly half a mile on the right.
Rupar-Bilaspur and M a n d i or by Pathankot-
T h e village is famous for its sulphur
Mandi. Recently, the Indian Air Lines springs. A dip in sulphurated-water of the
Corporation has introduced regular bi-weekly spring is supposed to possess curative
flights between Delhi and Kulu (Bhuntur qualities and as such the two sulphurated-
Airport) via Chandigarh during the season water-reservoirs attract a large number of
from April 1 to J u n e 30 and from Septem-
people every day including many tourists to
ber 1 to November 15.
Manali, the next important station in the
T h e history of the village is shrouded in
district is 24 miles away from Kulu towards myths and legends. T h e inhabitants very
the North and is connected by a motor-road. proudly narrate these and claim an antiquity
It is being developed by the Punjab Govern-
for the village. It is said, that Vashishta,
*The author is a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, Panjab University,
The author is thankful to Dr. S. R. K. Chopra, Head, Department of Anthropology,
Panjab University for his help in completing the paper.
1Field work for the present study was carried out during a brief sojourn in the months
of September and October of 1964.
2The village was declared as a notified area in September, 1962 by the Panjab Government
which brought the village under the extensions of the committee of notified area at Manali.
In his ex-officio capacity, the Deputy Commissioner is the Chairman of the committee.
The committee works just like any other Municipal Committee. In this area the village
Panchayat has been abolished. The members of the committee are nominated by the
Deputy Commissioner.

who was a Brahma Rishi, was appointed Lakshman came to Vashishta Rishi in the
tutor to R a m Chandra. Vishwamitra, who village to request him to grace the occasion
was equally intelligent, felt jealous of this. and bestow his blessings.
He avenged himself by killing all the one
hundred sons of Vashishta Rishi.
While staying with Vashishta, Lakshman
found that the Rishi used to go to Beas
Frustrated on account of this and in search Kund, near Rohtang Pass, for taking bath.
of a peaceful resort, Vashishta Rishi came Realising the difficulty of the Rishi, Lakshman
to the bank of the river Beas for meditation. shot an arrow and there sprang up a hot
O n e day as he was about to commit suicide water spring. But the Rishi refused to bathe
by strangling his neck with his sacred thread
he was thrown off by a powerful current of in the hot water. Lakshman shot another
the river. T h e site of the village is claimed arrow and another spring came up—this
to be the place where the Rishi fell. T h e time a cold-water one.
Rishi spent the rest of his life there at the
To commemorate the memory of Vashishta
present site of the village taking it as Rishi and Lakshman, the village was named
ordained for him by God.
after the Rishi and two temples were built—
In spite of the fact Vashishta Rishi one after the Rishi and the other after
suffered, to a great extent, but he did not Ramchandra as Raghunath.
even think of taking revenge from
Vishwamitra. It is further stated that
The Village Castes.—There are three
Vishwamitra pondered over the result of his castes in the village, viz., Brahmins, Rajputs
doings and visited Vashishta Rishi at his and Dagis. The total population of the
abode in the village, repented and atoned for village consists of 319 individuals. Of this
his acts.
163 are males and 156 females. T h e caste-
T h e people also claim that at the time wise break up of the population is as
of installation ceremony of R a m Chandra, follows:
It is quite clear from the above table that Dagis four.
the Rajputs as a caste are numerically in a
T h e two castes Brahmins and Rajputs are
majority as compared to the other caste the clean castes while Dagis are thought and
groups combined, their total number being treated as unclean. T h e main profession of
259. T h e Dagis come next with 31 closely the Brahmins is of Priests and 'purohits'. All
followed by Brahmins with 29. In terms of the Brahmins do not practise the said occupa-
percentages, t h e Rajputs are 81.19% of the tion, but due to the caste strictures many
total population, the Dagis 9.72% and the "don'ts" always hang over their 'heads; they
Brahmins 9.09%. As is observed from Table are not allowed to take up professions of
1, the village population comprises 66 house-
'unclean' and low castes. Some of them work
holds; Brahmins having six, Rajputs 56 and
as teachers in Government Schools.

T h e Rajputs, who are now the principal which are outside the village, for example
cultivators, were previously known as Kanets Lohars3 and Naths4 have also been included
(the word having been derived from the word for they play an important role in the day-
'kuniti' meaning a bad u n i o n ) . They were to-day life of the castes in the village and
regarded as a low-caste cultivating group, a discussion of the inter-caste relations of the
and Ibbetson while quoting Mr. Lyall goes village castes and their dependence upon
to the extent of calling them as "children of them, without mentioning them, would not
women of the hills by Rajputs who came up give a true picture. This fact of dependence
from the plains" (Ibbetson, 1916: 198). of 'in-village-caste' on 'out-village-castes'
But now the conditions are not the same as falsifies the notion of m a n y protagonists of
portrayed by Ibbetson. Whenever they are 'village self-sufficiency' and 'village-an
asked about their caste, they reply as isolated whole'.
'Rajput' and always hesitate to state that
Inter-Caste Relations.—Though the fac-
they were once known as Kanets. Now these tors of endogamy, hierarchy and occupation
people are recognised as Rajputs by one and keep a caste group distinct and different
all. Side by side with the change of name from one another, yet the fact remains that
has gone a deliberate process of adopting caste is an inter-dependent unit. Leach
the rituals of the Brahmins in the village— while levelling a criticism against Kroeber
a process often referred to as Sanskritization for his definition on caste
(this has been dealt with in detail in another
5 rightly states, " I t
is wrong because it puts the emphasis in the
work under preparation).
wrong place upon endogamy and rank and
Dagis (derived from 'DAG' meaning because it slurs the really crucial fact that
cattle), are a low caste people and are also caste is a system of inter-relationships and
known as Harijans. T h e y are so named that every caste in a caste system has its
because they remove dead cattle. They often special privileges" (Leach, 1960: 10). He
perform subservient jobs to the higher castes further states, "A caste can only be
and work as Khoridards to Rajputs.
recognised in contrast to other castes with
T h e hierarchy of these castes in the village which its members are closely involved in a
is quite clear and no body challenges the network of economic, political and ritual
hierarchical order, for every one in the village relationships It is precisely with these
is well conscious of his status and is satisfied inter-caste relationships that we are con-
with his lot. T h e Brahmins who lie on top cerned when we discuss caste as a social
of the social scale and Rajputs are regarded phenomenon. The caste society as a whole
as 'Dvija' or 'twice born'. T h e Dagis are is in Durkheim's sense, an organic system
treated as low as untouchables and are not with each particular caste and sub-caste
even allowed to enter the houses of Brahmins filling a distinctive functional role" (Leach,
and Rajputs.
1960: 5 ) . T h u s the structural basis of caste,
In the present work, two more castes viz., endogamy, hierarchy and occupation
3Lohars are also treated as 'unclean' caste. Their main profession is to prepare the utensils
and iron implements for agriculture.
4Naths ('unclean')—the split-ear yogi mendicants practise Nath Yoga and wear huge
ear-rings often called 'Mundras' or 'Kundias'. They profess to be priests in Siva temples.
They serve in these temples and till the land attached to them. The temple and the
land attached to it is their source of income.
5"A caste may be defined as an endogamous and hereditary sub-division of an ethnic unit
occupying a position of superior or inferior rank or social esteem in comparison with
other such sub-divisions" (Kroeber, 1931).

govern in a general way the inter-caste rela-
whole of attention. In the very first instance,
tions and these relations are regulated in the attention is focused on how the various
rural social living without erasing the deep castes behave and react towards the Rajputs
lines of caste distinctions and show themselves on particular occasions of birth, marriage and
off at the time of the crises in the individual's death of a Rajput. It may also be added
life in the village, viz., the birth of a child, that on the observance of the 'rites de
marriage and death which form the life cycle passage' of an individual among Brahmins
of an individual, the festivals, the village and Dagis, Rajputs may or may not come.
disputes and the structure and functioning of
If they come they do not perform any
the village Panchayat and at its meetings.
important function, but if they are on good
In village Vashishta the two castes viz., relations they may assist them in their work
Brahmins and Dagis are economically or give some money.
dependent upon Rajputs. Their traditional
Birth of a Child.—On the birth of a
economic relations in the village with other Rajput child, the Brahmins are called to
castes in return to their services to them are note the time of birth. After 5 or 7 days
known what Wiser (1936) called Jajmani he is again called to perform the Nam Karan
system. In the village they are the cynosure ceremony and prepares the Janampatri or
of attention. They depend for some services horoscope. On the thirteenth day of birth
on the Brahmins and for others on the of a child he again comes and performs the
Dagis and for still others on the castes like rites of Shudi Kama (Purification) of the
Lohars and Naths who live outside in other mother of the child in which water is shown
to the Sun and he recites some Sanskrit
Rajputs in the village arc the dominant verses.
caste for not only are they in a numerical
Dollu R a m told me that on the birth of
majority in the village but they are also his son in 1963 Pt. Bala R a m was called for.
economically quite well off and not "He is the 'purohit' of our family; for
dependent (economically) upon other castes performing the ceremonies in connection with
in the village, but the other two castes, no the birth of our son, he was given grains
doubt, they are also to some extent quite (rice, wheat and maize, one seer each) along
well off, are dependent (not wholly) upon with a 'Pattu' (a h a n d woven woollen
them to satisfy their needs or to supplement c l o t h ) " , he explained to me.
their income.
Usually on the birth of a child the
T h e Rajputs in the village attract the 'purohit' is given 'sucha' food,6 the amount
6 On e of the most importan t and hitherto unknown facts tha t my study in Vashishta brought
to light is that food in the village is divided into two categories, (a) Sucha (clean or
uncontaminated) and (b) Jootha (contaminated) (Ahluwalia, 1965: 42-43). Various
other writers have reported the division of food into Kacha and Pucca in their respective
fields of studies (Blunt, 1931; Ghurye, 1957; Mayer, 1960; Lewis, 1958; Hutton, 1963;
Mathur, 1964). T h e food prepared in ghee is said to be Pucca (ripe) and is accepted
by the higher castes from the lower castes, while there are lot of restrictions on the
acceptance of Kacha food by the higher castes. Whereas in the village Jootha food is
never accepted by any caste lower than itself. Sucha food comprises grains, vegetables
(un-cooked) and fruits etc. While Jootha food includes preparations which are cooked
and in which water is mixed. Commensal relations include the preparing of food and
its consumption. Brahmins and Rajputs do not accept Jootha food from the Dagis. Brahmans
on the other hand also do not accept Jootha food from the Rajputs because the castes
follow the principle of accepting no Jootha food from any caste that stands lower than
itself in the social scale. Again as a rule the lower castes have no scruples in accepting
Jootha food from any higher caste. T h e 'golden rule' thus comes out that the higher
caste members do not accept food cooked by the lower ones. T h e movement of food
in the village is well illustrated in Sociogram No. I.

Sociogram No. 1 indicating the movement of food

Sociogram No. 2 showing Pattern of Inter-Caste Relations on the Birth of a
Rajput Child

of which is much more dependent upon the reward depending upon the nature of work
economic position of the giver, but in any performed. It may be seen that on the birth
case, he must not be given less than a day's of a Rajput child, Brahmins in the village
meal for the whole of his family. In case who are from the top tier of the social
a male child is born, in addition to the said hierachy have important and direct roles to
grains, he is also given a 'pattu'. Lohar perform.
(Blacksmith, who is always hereditarily
Chuda Karma.—The Brahmin decides
attached to a Rajput family and whose main the auspicious day for Chuda Karma (the
calling is to make and mend all the iron ceremonial first hair shaving of a child) of
implements of agriculture of his Jajman and a Rajput child. He decides the hour for the
for which he gets a share of the product from ceremony. The ceremony is held when the
the fields), comes on the occasion of the child attains the age of one year or of three
birth of a first male child; he congratulates years. The child is taken to the temple of
the father of the child with a flower and Jogni Mata which is situated outside the
gives him a Darati (a long hook-shaped village on its North-Eastern direction. The
agricultural implement with a long h a n d l e ) . Chela {disciple) of Jogni Mata presently
T h e iron implement is thought to be Chet Ram (Rajput) first of all cuts a tuft
auspicious as it is said that it keeps all the of hair. The Brahmin recites Sanskrit
dangers away from the child. In return for Slokas invoking the gods to bless the child
the above presents the father of the child with a happy long life. The Brahmin is given
gives the Lohar one of his cattle. If he Rs. 1.25 and the Chela 50 paise to 75 paise.
is quite well-to-do, he may give a cow other-
In addition to the above, the Brahmin also
wise a sheep.
gets Sucha food.
A number of Rajput families, 10 to 15 have
Marriage.—Rajputs in the village have
one Lohar attached to them. In order to two types of marriages :
cater to the needs of all the 56 families of
i. 'Vedi' or a big marriage,
Rajputs there are seven Lohars but none of
ii. 'Sada' or a simple marriage.
them resides in the village.
In the 'Vedi' type of marriage all the
Dollu R a m recalled that on the birth of procedures as prescribed in Hindu scriptures
his child (1963), Bhikhu (Lohar) who lives are followed, whereas in the 'Sada' or simple
in Goshal (a nearby village) came and after marriages, the procedure is summarised and
receiving from him a flower and a Darati only essential rites and rituals are performed.
he gave a sheep in return.
In the 'Vedi' or big marriages, 'Jag' or
Dagis in the village do not perform any (free feast) is also held. All the persons in
specific function on the birth of a Rajput the village are invited.
child, but if they come to the Rajput family,
T h e Brahmin plays an important role at
where a child is born, they are benevolently the marriage of a Rajput. First of all he
given grain.
advises about the suitability of the spouses;
Sociogram No. 2 shows at a glance which whether the persons are fit to be married
castes in the village and outside the village and do not come within the prohibited
too, are affected and in what way, by the degress of relationships amounting to
birth of a child in a Rajput family. In each incestuous marriage. After having gone
case the relation reflects mutuality, each through the suitability of the marriage he
caste performing its role and getting the advises the proper time for the marriage

ceremony. He informs all the relatives of (Kanyakubja) gave two rupees; Dasaundi
his Jajman about the marriage and extends R a m (Saruswat) gave fifty paise, and
them an invitation on behalf of his Jajman. Dombu R a m (Kanyakubja) gave one thali
and one glass; Sharwan K u m a r S h a r m a
In case of a girl's marriage he performs (Pushkarna) gave one dupata and twenty-
the 'Lagan' ceremony; while in case of boy's five paise. On the occasion of the marriage
marriage he accompanies the party and aids of a Brahmin boy, a Rajput gives him eight
the Brahmin from the bride's side to perform kilos of rice and one rupee for Tikka. On the
the religious ceremonies. On this occasion the marriage of a Brahmin girl, Rajputs give
Dagis who work as Khoridars to the Rajputs, money and other things (depending upon
collect wool for fire and clean the utensils. their economic status), which are not
T h e Brahmin Purohit or his assignee works obligatory on their part. However, as
as Boti. He cooks the food and serves it to already mentioned, if any Brahmin has given
the Rajputs in the Jag.
anything on the marriage of a Rajput, the
T h e Brahmin is given Rs. 5 to 10, a 'Pattu', same is returned in any case, in one shape
5 seers of rice a n d wheat in addition to what or the other.
he eats at the Jag.
Death.—On the death of a Rajput, besides
T h e Khoridar is also given for his services the Brahmins and the Dagis, Naths (who
some food, both Sucha and Jootha and some do not live in the village) perform some of
money at the will of the Rajput depending the very important functions. A Nath is
upon his economic status.
called for by the Khoridar. He reads some
Sociogram No. 3 shows the participation mantras and performs the death ceremony.
of the Brahmins and the Dagis on the Khoridar collects wood for the pyre and
marriage of a Rajput.
afterwards he supplies ten seers of wood
It may also be added here, that the daily for ten days. In winter this wood is
Rajputs on all the occasions and particularly burnt in the centre of the room in which
on the occasion of a marriage of Rajput girl the people gather to mourn the death. T h e
note each and every thing t h a t is given to wood is used to combat the biting cold.
the girl by the relatives or by the members
T h e Brahmin ('purohit') visits the house
of other castes. Rajputs invariably do not of the Rajput in which death has occurred
accept anything from the Dagis, as a gift for 13 days and prepares pinda of rice or
to the girl. Previously they did not use to barley. No other man except the Nath, the
accept anything from the Brahmins except Khoridar and some of the relatives of the
for their services, for they say that they deceased take food from that house. On the
always receive the Dan. But how the thirteenth day a Brahmin performs the
Brahmins do give something or the other Kirya Karma. All the relatives both agnatic
on the marriage of a Rajput and the Rajputs and cognatic, bring 1/4 kilo of rice on the
also reciprocate. While going through the list said day and the Kirya Karma ceremony is
of persons who gave money or other things performed. The rice thus collected is given
on the marriage of Sebti Devi daughter of to the Nath along with one paisa.
Lot R a m (Rajput) which took place in
April, 1962, it was noticed that almost all
During the first year the N a t h visits the
the Brahmin families in the village gave house every month ('Mahiki') from the date
something or the other. Jeet R a m Pujari on which death occurs. This is done perhaps
(Saruswat) gave one rupee; Bala R a m to remind the relatives of the dead about

No. 3 showing Pattern of Inter-Caste Relations on the Marriage

Sociogram No.. 4 showing Pattern of Inter-Caste Relations of the Death of a Rajput

his or her death. He is given full one day's back Tikku and Chetu (Rajputs) celebrated
meal for the whole of his family or two Kilos 'Chavarkh' for their father. He attended the
of rice. He accepts both Sucha and Jootha 'Chavarkh'. He told me that he along with
food. He is given food in his own utensils others ate rice. Dagis were not allowed to
which he brings with him.
sit in one line with the Rajputs. He further
told me t h a t the rice were prepared by
After one year of death, Varsha (first Mohan Lal (Brahmin). Asked about the
death anniversary) is celebrated, in which 'Seja' given to Mohan Lal, he said that he
also N a t h plays the major role and takes all did not care to see.
the dan. During the second and third year
after death, N a t h comes only once in a year
'Khoridar' (Dagis) on the death of a
as compared to the first year in which he Rajput is given food for the first ten days
comes once every month. He is given one for which he supplies wood. On 'Jag' all
day's meal for the whole of his family on the Dagis come and take the food.
such days.
T h e death rites of the Brahmins are
After four years of death, Chavarkh (4th performed by the Maha Brahmins or Acharj
death anniversary) is celebrated. Now the who live in Jagat Sukh (a village). On the
N a t h has no function to perform. Here death of a Brahmin in the village, all the
comes to light the Brahmin. A big Jag is castes join the funeral procession. T h e
performed, where again Brahmin serves as Rajputs and the Dagis have no specific
'Boti' and he is given the 'Seja' comprising functions allotted to them on such an
the following articles :—
1. T w o 'Pateelas' (pots) full of rice or
Similarly on the death of a Dagi in the
'dal' (only ' S u c h a ' ) .
village, Brahmins and Rajputs join the
funeral procession but do not play any
2. O n e 'Karchhi' (ladle).
significant role.
3 . O n e T h a l i ' ( p l a t e ) .
4. One 'Glass' ( t u m b l e r ) .
T h e pattern of inter-caste relations on the
5. O n e 'Parat' (big p l a t e ) , full of wheat death of a Rajput is shown in Sociogram
( ' S u c h a ' ) .
No. 4.
6. O n e 'Darati'
T h e foregoing account shows how the
7. O n e Umbrella.
various castes spring into action on the
8. O n e cot with bed.
occasion of birth, 'Chuda Karma ceremony,
9. O n e coat.
marriage and death of a R a j p u t in the
10. O n e shirt.
village. As already mentioned t h e inter-caste
11. O n e cap.
relations in the village are governed mainly
12. O n e pyjama.
by the caste rules and strictures and every
13. One bucket full of water.
body is conscious enough of his or her status.
No body does any act transgressing the caste
R a t t a n Chand (Rajput) told me that rules or the prescribed rules in order to
even the 'Jag' might not be performed but create any tension among the three castes.
the above mentioned things must be given
to the Brahmin in the presence of some
Dagis are quite conscious of their status.
invited relatives to witness the 'Seja' Dagis and women of all castes in the village
(or things to be given to the B r a h m i n ) . are treated as unclean. Dagis are not
Rulda R a m (Rajput) told me t h a t few days allowed to enter the two temples, they may

1 9 4
however, enter the premises of the temples. other case of any inter-caste marriage in the
T h e r e are two water-reservoirs attached to village.
Vashishta temple. O n e reservoir is meant
Another field from which inter-caste
for the male members of the 'clean' castes relations can be gathered is the village's
and the other for women. In the reservoir traditional Panchayat which has no 'locus
meant for women, Dagis are allowed to take standi' in the eyes of law. (It has already
bath and that too only at night. R a t t a n been stated that the village was declared a
Chand (Rajput) recalled that few years notified area in the year 1962 and as such
back an Arya Samajist brought two weavers Panchayat constituted under the Panchayat
from outside the village and wanted them Raj Act was dissolved). The villagers have
to bathe in the reservoir meant for the male now their traditional Panchayat in operation.
members of the 'clean' castes. In spite of all All the families in the village are given a
the warnings with which he was served (for chance (by routine) to send its representative
the weavers were 'unclean' caste), he did to the Panchayat Committee. Dagis have
not stop and he along with his weaver already their terms. Presently there are four
friends was severely beaten by the Rajputs. Rajputs who are members of the Panchayat
Since then none has tried to violate the and one Chowkidar who is also Rajput. The
purity of the reservoir.
members of the Panchayat hold office for
one year only. T h e Chowkidar a n d none
In the village, it may also be stated, there else is paid; he is paid Rs. 5/- for his term.
never in the past has arisen any inter-caste
dispute, for Brahmins and Dagis form a very
T h e function of the Panchayat is to settle
small number of the total population of the disputes and organise fairs and festivals in the
village and as also they are to some extent village. T h e Chowkidar informs all the
economically dependent upon the Rajputs, villagers about the meetings of the
who form the bulk of the total population Panchayat. He also announces the 'Khul'
of Vashishta. T h e dominant position of the (open) for the 'Bund' and 'Faat'.7 A
Rajputs is the major factor in keeping the perusal of the records of the Panchayat shows
other castes at a particular distance. that cases of dispute which generally come
Disputes can only arise when there is any to the Panchayat are not between different
transgression or infringement on the rights castes, but are always between the individuals
of any caste. T h e r e is only one case of inter-
of the same caste or for cutting t h e grass
caste marriage, that of Jeet R a m (Brahmin— from 'Faat' before the declaration of the
who married thrice—two times with Rajput 'Khul'. During the year 1963-64, nearly
w o m e n ) , and t h a t too has been tolerated 20 persons (only one was Dagi and the rest
with a grain of salt by the Rajputs, even were all Rajputs), were charged by the
though the Rajput women were married in Panchayat for cutting the grass before the
a higher caste i.e., the Brahmin and who 'Khul'. All of them were fined Rs. two each.
even belonged to some other villages. T h e Similarly two persons (Rajputs) were also
consequences of these marriages have been fined Rs. five each by the Panchayat for
dire. Jeet R a m lost almost all his Jajmani trespassing the fields belonging to their
except in four families. There has been no Rajputs.
7 'Bun d means piece of land enclosed by barbe d wired by th e Forest Departmen t an d 'Faat '
is the steep place where sheep and cattle cannot go for grazing. No body is allowed
to cut the grass before a 'Khul' is declared.

T h e decisions of the Panchayat are always will not do at any cost. Friendship is thus
honoured and if anybody does not abide by recognised as a personal relation as
the decisions taken by the Panchayat, a distinguished from an institutionalized
meeting of the villagers is called; the whole relation which is very often sacrificed for the
case is referred to the public which usually sake of the former one; both the relations
ratifies the decisions taken by the Panchayat may also be maintained while both parties
and the person concerned has to act observe their caste rules, observance of
accordingly for fear of public opinion. which is a bit difficult as also impossible.
However, it may also be stated that in a
In general, women are expected to be
dispute between two Rajput families, the more stringent about keeping ritual distances
Purohits and the Khoridars in the village than are men. Men may move with a person
always take side of their respective Jajmans. of lower caste but women would never.
Personal Relations.—Personal relations
Women and children in Vashishta as in
between the members of different castes often many villages seem to be more under the
cut across all the restrictions and strictures control of caste norms and traditions which
of castes. During the course of the field aim at the maintenance of caste distinctions.
study it was observed t h a t children of all T h e circle of friendship of girls in the
the castes, viz., Brahmins, Rajputs, Dagis do village is limited within the caste group and
play together but still they keep at a distance. rarely would a Brahmin girl go to see a
They observe the rules of pollution and Rajput girl. In the same manner, women of
commensalism. Some of the Rajput boys were different castes meet one another rarely.
very close friends of Dagis. T h e boys in the Their visits to each other are very formal
age group of 15-18 years tend to form their a n d those too on occasions of marriage and
own social circle crossing the barrier of caste death. Except on these occasions, women
distinction. During the course of their of different castes do not meet one another
friendship they often exchange 'Biris' or but by chance. Women thus, are the most
cigarettes, which an elderly Rajput or Dagi resisting factor to inter-caste familiarities.
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