Posted on: 21 February 2013

Digital Rare Book:
The Theory and Practice of Caste - Being an inquiry into the effects of caste on the institutions and probable destinies of the Anglo-Indian empire
By Benjamin Atkinson Irving
Published by Smith, Elder & Co., London - 1853

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Painting; gouache and watercolour, Three South Indian couples, from an album of 30 Company paintings, Tanjore, ca. 1830

One of a volume of thirty folios depicting castes, occupations, methods of cultivation and procession scenes.

Thanjavur, India - ca. 1830 (painted)

Watercolour and gouache on paper

Copyright: © V&A Images

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I know my place !

Till European concept of caste is delinked with jati, varn, and kul, nobody can understand and explained India's social structure. Reference taken from old books like Manu-smriti and applied to today's different form of social structure shows bankruptcy in Indologist's part.

The description does not match the pictures. There are no brahmins in this picture. The Tamil inscription says pUcAli or pUcAri meaning priest. These are native priests and not sacred thread wearing vedic brahmin priests.

There is also a castesystem in the west just not as obvious....kate

Mr.Mani, the word PUJALI பூசாலி in Tamil ms says Worshipper, they are tavelling devotees worshiping, the bhasma on forehead proves that they are not Brahmin priest as they use sandal paste and red pottu not ash bhasma

Nothing is simple in India !

Women carrying box on head with shakti deity Badra Kali

India's caste system is institutionalized racism. As much as I love India, this is one glaringly horrible aspect of its otherwise admirable culture......