Category Archives: Caste

UC Davis quietly added caste to its anti-discrimination policy. Will it cause others to do the same?
Yes, it will. American liberals will now start talking incessantly about caste. Some notes
– <1% of Indian Americans are Dalits from surveys I…

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Everyone is talking about this piece from Bloomberg, How Big Tech Is Importing India’s Caste Legacy to Silicon Valley Graduates from the Indian Institutes of Technology are highly sought after by employers. They can also bring problems from home. If you are not a Bloomberg subscriber using “incognito mode” in your browser should allow you …

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When perusing Twitter I occasionally see arguments between the troll Araingang and contributors to this weblog on various topics. Many times I don’t really what the argument is about because I feel it’s deeply semantic. So, for example, caste, varna, and jati. I know the dictionary definition of all this stuff and the various arguments. …

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I found the above map from Alice Evans. It’s from a paper, The Continuing Practice of Untouchability in India. The regional patterns turn out to be the most striking. More than education, income, or caste status. You can even see the outline of states, which is indicative of the impact of regional governments on policy …

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In the 2000s I read a fair number of books such as Nicholas Dirks’ Castes of Mind. The impression one gets from these books is that jati-varna status and stratification are protean. Much of it a recent function of jockeying during the colonial and liminal colonial era. The “uplift” of groups such as Patidars and …

Continue reading “Long long with caste be a bar? Perhaps more than three centuries!”

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Kushal Mehra and I had a discussion on the Brown Pundits podcast about caste. I will post for Patrons today and push it live tomorrow. I want to review a few things from my perspective on this issue related to what we talked about. – The paper The promise of disease gene discovery in South …

Continue reading “Caste – bred to the bone!”

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Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s in the United States as brown was different than now. The Indian Americans I knew were a heterodox bunch who, like me, grew up around white people, and habituated themselves to American culture. Though most were Hindu, a fair number enjoyed beef hamburgers, just like other kids. This …

Continue reading “Dalit in Silicon Valley”

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On August 4th a new book is coming out, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. The author is a journalist who has published a substantial extract of the book at The New York Times Magazine, America’s Enduring Caste System: Our founding ideals promise liberty and equality for all. Our reality is an enduring racial hierarchy …

Continue reading “American caste! (?)”

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From the comments: I think what’s underappreciated is that hindu nationalism is partly caused by the collapse of the caste system. I know that may not intuitively make sense at first, but compared to when I was a boy the caste system has significantly weakened. People are finally starting to look at each other as …

Continue reading “Modernization leading toward confessionalization”

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Last week I was at a conference where a British academic asked an American academic “how much money do you make?” It was really strange to me because in American society you don’t ask this question. It’s not polite. And I immediately explained to the British academic that you just don’t ask this question. But, …

Continue reading “Why I like to ask about caste”

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One of the more interesting and definite aspects of David Reich’s Who We Are and How We Got Here is on caste. In short, it looks like most Indian jatis have been genetically endogamous for ~2,000 years, and, varna groups exhibit some consistent genetic differences. This is relevant because it makes the social constructionist view … Continue reading “Genetical observations on caste”

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Before Nicholas Dirks was a controversial chancellor of UC Berkeley, he was a well regarded historian of South Asia. He wrote Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India. I read it, along with other books on the topic in the middle 2000s. Here is Amazon summary from Library Journal: Is India’s caste […]

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I clicked through on the links to Zack’s post below and was pretty shocked. I know this somewhat, but not having grown up around many Indians (or South Asians generally) I didn’t have a good sense. That being said, a … Continue reading

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Years ago I read that M. K. Gandhi defended caste in the ideal against Western critiques by pointing out that it dampened some of the competitiveness one finds in Western society. I dismissed this defense at the time, but in … Continue reading

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First, thanks to Zack for the opportunity to blog here. More importantly, thanks to Zack for the Harappa Ancestry Project! I’ve learned a lot from him in terms of the optimal way to go about “genome blogging,” and have been …

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15/15
Razib Khan