Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya.

History of mediæval Hindu India (being a history of India from 600 to 1200 A.D.) .. (Volume 1) online

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As the grant is dated in 164 G. E. or 465 A. D. it would
follow that this division of Brahmins goes back to the
5th century A. D. or 150 years before the time of Bana.
But it seems the word Jtl^P^^T-Tvift m this grant has
been misunderstood by the Gazetteer. For it must be
remembered that the divisions Gauda, Dravida etc., are not
based on family distinctions but on territorial or provin-
cial distinctions and hence the word irt^i^-l-M-^iiiff can have


no reference to the distinctions now known as Gauda,.
Dravida and so on. Then again the word is Gora and not
Gauda. ^Of course the family name of Brahmins or what is
now calh'd the surname is rarely given in ancient epjgra-
phic records, and this mention of the family is somewhat
strange. But that there is no reference here to the pro-
vincial divisions of Brahmins is beyond question and we
may believe that upto the end of the seventh century A. D.
such distinctions had not arisen. Brahmins formed one
caste throughout India and knew no distinctions except
that of gotra and Charana or Sakha. It is difficult
to know if marriages took place then between Brahmins of
different countries. But there is nu reason why they should
not have. Smritis do noi. prohibit such marriages. Even
the present restriction of marriage within the same Sakha
is more a matter of custom than of Sastric provision. For
asamatterof factmarriages between Rigvedis and Yajurve-
dis do take place even at present among Maratha Brahmins.
Kanojiyas and other subcastes. The mention of the Sakha,,
therefore, in early epigraphic records does not import any
divisions for prohibition of marriage. The Veda and Sakha
were perhaps important as indicating fitness for performing
particular worship or religious service. The Atharvavedi
Brahmins were, for instance, considered fit to perform the
worship of the sun. It may be noted en passant that the
words then used to indicate the Veda or Sakha of a Brah-
iiiin were in some respects different from those now used
Bahvrieha was usually used then instead of Iligvedi and
Chandoga instead of Samavedi; Yajurvedi being indicated
by Vajasaneyi &c. And it may further be noted that
Bharadvaja-sgotra was the usual expression then instead
of Bharadvaja-gotra now used.

The second thing to remark about Brahmins is that
their names generally ended in particular suffixes only.
It appears that in those days particular suffixes or epithets
were added to the names of individuals to indicate their
caste. These suffixes are mentioned even in Smritis.
Sarma was the principal sui^ix indicating the Brahmin
caste. Besides Sarma the other suffixes or affixes were


Bhatta, Deva and Svami.* In the Chammak copperplate
grant of Pravarasena II of the Vakatakas of Berars
(Corp. Ins. Vol. Ill p. 235 No. 88) we have many names of
Brahmin grantees mentioned and the foUowihg are some of
them viz. Satyayana Ganarya, Vatsya Devarya, Bharad-
vaja Kumarasarmarya, Parasarya Gahasarma, Kasyapa
Devarya, Mahesvararya Bharadvaja Bapparya, Gautama-
sagotra Matrisarmarya etc. The world Arya is added as a
double honorfic or it may indicate that the person came
from the southern country where Arya (modern Ayya) was
added invariably to Brahmin names by the Dravidian

As mentioned before Brahmins sometimes took up the
suffixes Varma and Gupta also to indicate that they fol-
lowed the profession of warriors or traders. For the Brah-
mins in those days as now followed a diversity of professions
besides their principal professions, namely, sT^Ff and ^thh,
3T^-?f2H and ^'^WR i- e., sacrificing and officiating at sacri-
fices, learning and teaching. Bana describes his uncles as
learned men studying themselves and teaching others, per-
forming great sacrifices, keeping Agnihotra and living
a religious life appropriate to Grihastha Brahmins. And
yet for himself Bana describes his associates in his young
days, as dancers and music teachers, actors and painters,
poets and dramatists, servant girls and old women, gold-
smiths and chemists, Hindu Sanyasis and Buddhist re-
cluses and other non-descript people. It is not impossible
to suppose from the Mrichhakatika where a Brahmin thief
is introduced, that Brahmins were good and bad in those days
as they are now and followed good and bad professions

* See the Sloka already quoted from Yaraa as also Manu II 30 and
V. P. III. At the present day in Northern India the word Pandit is
often prejixed to indicate that the person is -1 Brahmin from the Deccan
or Kashmir, while Misra would indicate a Behari or Bengali Brahmin.
In the seventh century it does not appear that any differences of country
were indicated by these suffixes. Grants from the Fanjab and U. P.
show that Bhatta was as favourite a suffix in these provinces as in
Gujarat or Deccan. And Bana is often called Bana Bhatta though he
came from Magadha. At present, however, this suffix is added or taken
up only by Maharashtra Brahmins, while Arya or Ayya is affected by
Telagu Brahmins, Acharya by Karnatak Brahmins, Pandit by Kashmiri
irahmins and Misra by Behar Brahmins.


but the general ily ol them may be taken to have followed,
then as now, either a religious life or the profession of
Government servants, a profession in which they often
rose to the • position of governors of provinces. The
Mandsanr-well-inscription No. 35 Corp. Ins. Ind. Vol. Ill
gives an example of this kind. Abhayadatta, the son of
Kavikirti was a ' Riijasthaniya and protected the region
containing many countries ( presided over by his own
upright coimcillors), which lies between the Vindhya moun-
tains from the summit of which there flow the waters of
the Reva and the mountain Pariyatra up to the ocean"
p. 157. Similar instances might be quoted from other epi-
graphic records proving the frequency of such appoint-
ments in those days. And such governors eventually
')ften became kings themselves.

We will now pass on to the Kshatriyas and the first
thing to remark is that they too formed then one caste
only throughout India. As the ten subdivisions of Brah-
mins into five Gaudas, and five Dravidas had not yet
arisen, the Kshatriyas too had not yet divided themselves
into Rajputs and Khatris. In fact in modern times the
word Khatri has come to denote a lower grade than the
word Rajput. These Kshatriyas again had not yet been
divided into 36 families only, considered to be of pure
descent and restricting marriage to themselves alone. None
of the names even of these 36 families had yet come
into existence. The Chauhans 9,nd the Solankhis, the
Sisodiyas and the Rathods had yet to be born and the
Kshatriyas of India then formed one undivided caste
without probably any restriction of marriage to particular
families. Caste was, in fact, somewhat loose then as the
Kshatriyas freely married Vaisya wives from great families
which had raised themselves to the kingly status. The
instance of the Maukhari Graha,varma marrying Harsha's
sister given by Bana and that of the Valabhi king
Dhruvabhata marrying Harsha's daughter, mentioned by
Hiuen Tsang will suffice to prove this practice. But such
marriages were not common and the intermixture of castes
or rather races was strictly prevented by pious Hindu


kings as may he gathered from the epithet "Varnavya-
vasthapanapara" usually applied in epigraphic records to
great kings showing the earnest solicitude of the people
to preserve the purity of Varna or race. Instances of
pratiloma marriages, or marriages above the grade do not
occur and hence the old law of the Manusmriti was
apparently still in force. When therefore Hiuen Tsang says
that a particular king was a Kshatriya, Vaisya or Sudra,.
he mentions a distinction which was strictly maintained
inspite of the tendency of Buddhism to overthrow caste.

The next remark to make about the Kshatriyas is that
they had not come to assign much importance to the
three great Vansas to which they now invariably trace
their descent. For none of the epigraphic records of thi.^
time mention the Vansa of the Kshatriya family. The
Surya Vamsa, the Chandra Varcsaandthe AgniVamsaare
yet not met with in grants and inscriptions. The Valabhi
grants even do not mention that the Senapati family to
which the Sisodiyas, the premier Surya-Vamsi Rajputs
of the present day trace their origin was of the Solar race.
No doubt the Solar and Lunar races distinction rather the
Aila and Aikshvaka race is mentioned in the Mahabharata
in the Sabha Parva, where Krishna says that there were 101
families then in India belonging to the Solar and Lunar
races. The idea thus of these two races must be taken
to be at least as old as the 3rd century B. C. the undoubted
date of the last edition of the Mahabharata. But it seems
probable that when in the interval between 300 B. C. and
600 A. D. various families of kings belonging to the Vaisya
and Sudra castes and of foreign races ruled in India, the
mention of the solar or lunar Vamsa must have become of
less importance and hence the neglect to mention the Vamsa
in inscriptions and grants. The grants of Valabhi kings
of undoubted Kshatriya caste do not thus mention the race.
But it does not follow that the Solar and Lunar lineage
was forgotten. Some families did take pride even
then in their Solar and Lunar race (H- C. p. 98 ^f^^RT ^ff^
'arPpRHW J^^5W# ^ 5^ iJTr%>;id[^i^v:r:). But they wer*


apparently in the back-ground. The Pushyabhuti family
of Thanesar belonged neither to the Solar nor Lunar race
and the Vaisya kings apparently did not deem the Vam?a
important or could not trace the origin of their families
to kings famous in the Puranas.* In grants of the Badami
Chalukyas the gotra of the family is mentioned as
Manavya and the kings are also called Hariti-putras.
This Manavya gotra is described in some grants as born
of the first Svayambhuva Manu and thus does
not belong to the present solar race. How the
two ancient lineages, namely, Solar and Lunar, grew
later into importance and how the subsequent addition of
the third Agni Kula was made hereafter, we shall have to
discuss in our next volume.

Thirdly, the Kshatriyas had their peculiar descriptive
epithets or name-endings like the Brahmins. Varma and
and Trata mentioned in the Smritis were the chief ones.
Other epithets may also be gathered from the records,
such as Sena and Bhata. The Valabhi kings usually
took up the suffixes Sena and Bhata. Sinha which was a
most favourite epithet withpost-Mahomedan Rajputs is not
usually met with in records of the seventh century though
we have the name Drona Sinha among tlie Valbhi kings.

We will now speak of the Vaisyas whose caste was then
and is still the third in rank. They are always treated as
Aryan in race for the word Arya occurring in the Vedas
is always interpreted by the commentator Say ana as mean-
ing Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaisya. Vaisyas, however,
generally speaking had perhaps not preserved the purity
of caste as much as the other two higher castes, and some
of them had sunk into the position of Sndras. But the
Vaisyas of the days of Hiuen Tsang, from his description
were traders and merchants, bankers and money lenders
and these might be taken to have formed themselves into

• In a Broach Gurjara pcrant the lineage is mentioned as that of
Maharaja Karna and nntiquarian.s have interijreted Karna to mean
Karna of the Mahilbharata. But I doubt it and as no grant contem-
porary or preceeding mentions the Vamsa this Karna was probably seme
«arly famous king only of the Curjara family.


a restricted group. The names of modern Vaisya subcastes
again had not yet come into being and Mahesris and Agar-
vals were then unknown. The modern Vaisyas of Nothern
India divide themselves into 121 2 castes and are also sepa-
rated by an unbridgable barrier from the Vaisyas of the
south. But in the seventh century probably like the Brahmin
and the Kshatriyas they also still formed one caste only
throughout India. Their distinctive appellations or suffixes
were Gupta and Bhuti according to the Smritis already
quoted and other words were also used such as Vardhana.
And lasty as regards profession some of the Vaisya families
had raised themselves still higher than traders and
merchants and become kings by following the profession of
arms. Of these remarkable families, the Guptas of
Magadha rrust be taken to be the premier family. The
greatest king in India in its post Buddhist history next to
Asoka who was a Sudra was Samudra Gupta and he must
betaken from the name ending to be a Vaisya and similarly
the greatest king next to Samudra Gupta after him was
Harsha and he was undoubtedly a Vaisya. The suffix
Vardhana taken by his fam.ily indicated the Vaisya caste
and the testimony of Hiuen Tsang that Harsha was a
Vaisya is conclusive. Some Vaisya families in those days
therefore gave birth to heroes and statesmen and they
were even distinguished by letters also as both Samudra
Gupta and Harsha were certainly learned men. In raedi-
oeval and later history too, many Vaisya families distin-
guished themselves on the battle-field and it seems that
the modern Bais Rajputs of Oudh may be looked upon as
the descendants of some of the heroic Vaisya families df
mediaeval India though they derive their descent from the
mythical Salivahana king of Paithan in the south. The
Guptas were spread over the whole of Northern India and
names of warriors and statesmen in those days usually
ended in Gupta, showing their high qualification for
military posts.

Lastly we have to speak of the Sudras whose occupation,
according to Hiuen Tsang was agriculture. In days prece-
ding the Christian era, agriculture was the occupation of


the Vaisyas while menial service alone was left to the
Sudra caste. The spread of Buddhist sentiment witn its
aversion to the taking of life must be held responsible for
this change of occupation. The ploughing of land in which
action worms and insects are inevitably killed was gradual-
ly looked v.pon as sinful and was eventually prohibited to
the Dvijas^ a prohibition which is even mentioned in Manu.
These classes hence withdrew gradually from agriculture
and left it in the hands of the Sudras. InthePanjab and else-
where, however, several communities did not mind this pro-
hibition, and hence their sinking in public esiimation to the
rank of the Sudras. As already described the Jats, the Gujars
and the Marathas who are agriculturists, are thus, though
Aryan in race, looked down upon as Sudras. The original
Dravidian population of the land became now the agricul-
turists of the country and of course formed the great Sudra
class. The lower population in Northern India and the west
is thus, speaking generally, chiefly Dravidian with a large
mixture of the Aryan race. In the south or the Madras
Presidency the influx of the Aryan population in remote
times was not considerable and there the agricultural popu-
lotion is wholly Dravidian.

Besides the agriculturists there were many classes whose
profession was labour of varied kinds and these classes
were probably of mixed origin. These are noticed by Hiuen
Tsang as innumerable. Those who called themselves
neither Brahmins nor Kshatriyas, neither Vaisyas nor
Sudras were probably included by him in these mixed class-
es. "There are ", he observes, "numerous classes formed by
groups of people according to their kinds and these cannot
be described." (Walters p. 168). Their number indeed, then
as now, must have been counted by hundreds and hence
Hiuen Tsang's despairing remark that they cannot be de-
scribed. Mixed castes with special occupations have been
described in several Smritis also and each division men-
tioned therein again divided itself probably into subdivi-
sions according to minor diversity of occupation, and their
number gradually increased. They were of course a mixture
of the Dravidian and Aryan races, but the mixture must


have taken place long before the time of which we write for
marriages were now generally restricted to each class or
caste as noticed above.

We cannot close this chapter without noticing the
existence, even then, of the " untouchables, " or what
are now called in the south the Panchamas or the fifth
class. They are described by Hiuen Tsang as follows : —
Butchers, fishermen, public performers, executioners
and scanvengers have their habitations marked by a dis-
tinguishing sign. They are forced to live outside the city
and they sneak along on the left when going about in the
hamlets." (Waiters Vol Ip. 147). The practice of compelling
these untouchables to live outside the towns and villages
must of course be traced back to even the Vedic times for
the Brahmanas speak of the Chandalas living beyond
the skirts of towns and villages and of their habitations as
not fit to be visited by the Aryans. The professions too of
the Chandalas were from Vedic times much the same as
above described with the exception of butchers and fisher-
men who parhaps were now added to the list of the untouch-
ables in consequence of their profession of taking life, in
response to the prevailing Buddhist sentiment. These
depressed classes were probably composed of the lowest
dregs of the Dravidian races having filthy habits and
living on carrion. But in the Panjab and Rajputana a
mixture of the Aryan race even among these was prominent-
ly discovered at the Census of 1901 when anthropi)metri(?
meaeurements were taken-b.v Sir H. Risley. The Chamars
and theChaurahas of the Panjab are found to be distinctly
Aryan'in type and possibly these have been degraded solely
in consequence of their profession in Buddhistic times be-
fore the period of which we are treating. Or, as the Smritis
declare, the progeny of pratilbma marriages especially of
Brahmin women with Sadra husbands though they must
have been rare must have joined the ranks of the Chandalas
and thus infused Aryan blood even in their veins.


Jats, Gujars and Marathap.

The question ^vhetLer Jats, Gujars and Marathas are Aryan or
Seythiau is strangely enough still being controverted. It admits, how-
ever, according to our view of one solution only '/z., that they cannot but
be Aryans. This view is based chiefly on anthropornetrical considerations
and it is also supported by history. It is indeed strange that even
after the publication of Sir H. Risley's views based on anthropometric
measurements taken at the Census of India in 1901 their origin should
still be a matter of controversy. Those measurements clearly show
that the noses of Jats and Gujars are distinctly fine and that their heads
are long. It is sometimes argued by Sir H. Risley's opponents that
noses might be made tine and heads may be lengthened by manupulation.
But thi3 argument cuts off the very ground from under the feet of the
science of Authropometry. If noses could be made fine very few people in
India -would have had flat noses, for line noses are prized all over the
country and even by the Dravidians. It is because noses and heads
cannot be manupulated and have an ineradicable tendensy to persist in
difterent races, that antiiropometry has any value as a science. Wo will'
therefore, detail the anthropometncal argument first and then see
whether history supports or contradicts the inferences derivable
from it.

The following remarks of Sir H. Hisley in his Census Report for 1901
(p. 498) are pertinent in this connection. "The broad nose of the Negro
or the Dravidian is his most striking feature. This broad type of the
nose is most common in Madras, the Central Provinces and Chota
Nagpore. Fine noses are confined to the Panjab and Uajputana,
while the population of the rest of India tends to fall in the medium
.class. The pastoral Gujars of the Panjab have an index of 66'9, thi-
Sikhs of 68-9 and the Bengal Brahmins and Kayasthas 70, while the
average nasal proportions of the Mai Paharia type are expressed by the
figure 945. In other words the typical Dravidian as rein'esentod by
the Mail Paharia has a nose as broad in proportion to its length as the
Negro ; while this feature in the Indo-Aryan group can fairly bear com-
parison with the noses of fi8 Parisians measured by Tojiinard which
gave an average of 69'4." /

From this passage we clearly soo that while the people of the
Panjab and Rajputana are imquestional)ly Aryan by race, those of the
Bombay Presidency including the Marathas, and of Bengal and the U.P.
are distinctly so. And the Gujars of the Panjab stand first with regard
to the fineness of the nose their index (66'9) being lower than that of
-even the Parisians. And yt-t the fhijars are looked upon by gome as


Scythians. The similarity of sound has often misled antiquarians into-
strange theories and the attempt to identify the Gujars with the Khirar
is not less strange than the now generally abandoned identification of the
Jats with the Gietcf. It is here that anthropometry and also history
should step in to correct such wrong identification, That they do serve
to dispel such misconception in the caye of Jats and Gujars we have not
the smallest doubt. The Jats are distinctly included by Sir H. Risley
among the Indo-Aryans as their "type approaches most closely to that
ascribed to the traditional Aryan colonists of India viz. heads long and
noses narrow and prominent but not specially lotg." (Cehsus R. 1901
p. 500.) Their stature is also tall, and their complexion is fair and as
Nesfield has observed if appearance goes for anything, the Jats could
not but be Aryans," The case of the Gujars also falls in the same
category, They are men with finest noses in India and with long heads
and tall statures. They are no doubt dark in complexion but com-
plexion does not count much in the determination of race. "The most
important points to be observed in the Indo-Aryan series of measure-
ments are the great uniformity of type, and the very slight differences
between the higher and lower groups." And this type is so persistent
that the Jats and the Gujars wherever they are found present the same
characteristics of head, nose and stature and even complexion. Under
these circumstances ethnologically speaking the Jats and the Gujars are
decidedly Aryan in race and similarity of sound in names ought not to
mislead us into believing them to be descendants of the Gsetoe or
Khizars who were undoubtedly;Mongolian in race.

The Marathas present less distinctive characteristics, yet they must
be classed among the Aryo-Dravidians and not as Scytho-Dravidian as
Sir H. Risley strangely enough has done. Their heads are broad; but the
head is not the determining factor in the assignment cf race. The
Mongolians have indeed broad heads but some of the Aryan races too
have broad heads such as the Celts. The Census Report for 1911 ex-
presses a doubt as to the conclusion of Sir H. Risley that the Marathas
are Scythians and adverts to the opinion of ethnologists that they are
probably descendants of Alpine Aryans. (Haddon, Wanderings of people)
The second race of Aryan invaders of India who principally settled in
the U.P. and the Deccan appear to have been Aryans with broad heads.
Otherwise it is impossible to explain the medium heads of the people
of the U.P. who are looked upon by Sir H. Risley as Aryo-Dravidians.
The Draridians have long heads and if they mixed with the tirst race of
Aryan invaders with long heads who are to be found in the Panjab and
Rajputana the mixture of these races, both with long beads, cannot lead
to medium heads. We have, therefore, perforce to hold that the second
liorde of Aryans who carae into the U. P. and who mixed themselves
with the Dravidian people there were Aryans with broad heads.

The head, however, as we have said above and as has been observed
by Sir H. Risley-.bimself, is not the most distinctive sign of race. The


feature most distinctive of race is the nose. The nose distinguishes the
Aryan both from the uravidian and the Mongolian types. The
fine nose of the Aryan is distinct from the broad nose of the Dravi-
diau and the flat nose of the Scythian. The flatness of the Scythiun
or Mongolian face strikes every observer as the root of the nose
'does not appreciably rise above the level of the eyes. To measure this
rise the orbito-nasal index has been invented by anthropometrists and this
index has been used, at Sir William Fowler's suggestion; especially -where
there is reason to suspect intermixtrue with the Mongolian type. (Cen-

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