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Jul 6, 2016

Castes and Tribes of Southern India Vol: 1 (Year - 1909)

Castes and Tribes of Southern India is a seven-volume encyclopedia of social groups of Madras Presidency and the princely states of Travancore, Mysore, Coorg and Pudukkottai published by British museologist Edgar Thurston and K. Rangachari in 1909.

Balija bride and bridegroom




The seven-volume work was one of several such publications resulting from the Ethnographic Survey of India project which was formally instituted by the Government of British India in 1901. The Survey was intended to record details of the manners, customs and physical features of Indian castes and tribes using in part the anthropometric methods that had first been used in India by Herbert Hope Risley for his own survey of the tribes and castes of Bengal. An eight-year period of funding was allotted for the purpose.

The British government in India appointed a Superintendent of Ethnography for each province. Thurston, who had been Superintendent of the Madras Government Museum since 1885, had already conducted some ethnographic work in his studies of the hill tribes of Nilgiris District, published in 1894, and elsewhere. He was appointed Superintendent for Madras Presidency, while L. K. Ananthakrishna Iyer and N. Subramania Iyer were respectively appointed Superintendents for the princely states of Cochin and Travancore. The reports for the two princely states were later integrated with Thurston's work to form the Castes and Tribes of Southern India, as were the results of Thurston's earlier researches into the hill tribes. The state of Mysore was allocated to Thurston for anthropometric survey but excluded for ethnographic survey. In his investigations in Madras Presidency, Thurston was assisted by K. Rangachari of the Government Museum.

Thurston investigated the characteristics of over 300 castes and tribes of South India, representing over 40 million people across an area of 150,000 square miles (390,000 km2). He was a disciple of Risley, who believed in a racial theory for the basis of caste, and borrow anthropometric equipment from the Asiatic Society of Bengal, including a Lovibond Tintometer, to assist in his survey of Madras. Thurston had to overcome suspicions felt by his subjects during the conduct of the survey, and sometimes had to rely on his official position as a representative of the government in order to obtain the measurements that he needed. Some believed that Thurston had been sent on a mission to kill them in order then to display their stuffed bodies in the Madras museum, while others considered his measuring to be a prelude to their recruitment into the army or to kidnap them, and yet others thought that the equipment used to measure their height was a gallows. A consequence of these difficulties was that his sample size was often as low as 30 - 60 members of a caste or tribe, and sometimes as little as six or seven.

Castes and Tribes of Southern India Vol: 1 (Year - 1909)

1. Linga Banajiga (Linga Balija).    
2. Agamudaiyans , Madura district.    
3. Aradhya Brahman.    
4. Dolmens near Kotagiri (Nilgiri Hills).    
5. Badagas.    
6. Badaga girls.    
7. Badaga temple.    
8. Badagas making fire.    
9. Badaga funeral car with the corpse.    
10. Badaga funeral car.    
11. Bairagis.    
12. Gajula Balija with bangles.    
13. Balija bride and bridegroom.    
14. Kambla (Kambala) buffalo race.     
15. Kambla racing buffaloes.    
16. Pukare post at Kambla buffalo races.    
17. Bedar.    
18. Billava toddy-tapper.    
19. Brahman house with marks of hand to ward off the evil eye.    
20. Telugu Brahman with rudraksha coat.    
21. Smartha Brahman (Brahacharnam) doing Siva worship.    
22. Dikshitar Brahman.    
23. Madhva Brahman.    
24. Fuel stack at Udipi Matt.    
25. Oriya Brahman.
26. Konkani Brahman.
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Item Reviewed: Castes and Tribes of Southern India Vol: 1 (Year - 1909) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: MERE PIX
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