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Thread: The Punjab

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kart View Post
    That's still discrimination. "Separate but equal" kind of thing.
    No one is denying there's discrimination. But the guys getting oppresses or used to get opressed are non biradari communities like Churah and Chamars. Yet they're not treated as bad as in rest of SA where you hear everyday some dalit got burned for doing something, or no one helped a kid carry his mother's body for funeral because he was from lower caste in orrisa.

    Punjabi biradaris would marry between each other here and there but it rarely happens. It's a tribal mentality to think that you're superior than everyone else. One thing that unites us Biradaris is hatred for Brahmanvaad, aka varna based caste system, which was used against us for a long time by labeling us shudra or avarna.
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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyDLuffy View Post
    No one is denying there's discrimination. But the guys getting oppresses or used to get opressed are non biradari communities like Churah and Chamars. Yet they're not treated as bad as in rest of SA where you hear everyday some dalit got burned for doing something, or no one helped a kid carry his mother's body for funeral because he was from lower caste in orrisa.

    Punjabi biradaris would marry between each other here and there but it rarely happens. It's a tribal mentality to think that you're superior than everyone else. One thing that unites us Biradaris is hatred for Brahmanvaad, aka varna based caste system, which was used against us for a long time by labeling us shudra or avarna.
    Interesting. When did the Biradari system come into existence? Also, why wouldn't Dalits be part of the Biradari system? I assume the traditional varna upper castes like Brahmins or Kshatriyas wouldn't be part of the Biradari system either, right? If so, is "biradari" basically "non-Hindu" of the NW?
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  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kart View Post
    I think it was monkey who told me earlier that there is no caste system in Punjab. This comment shows that's not true.
    How so? Sikhs and Hindus donít marry amongst one another for cultural and religious reasons. Khatris, Rajputs and Brahmins are a very insignificant portion of the overall population and are neither the socially or politically dominant groups (who in Punjab are actually the avarna groups outside the caste system). As Iíve noted before, Punjab does not have the traditional Hindu varna caste system at work but it does have a biradari or tribal system that has influence from Vedic Hinduism culturally.
    Last edited by Sapporo; 01-28-2019 at 04:31 PM.
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  6. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by poi View Post
    Interesting. When did the Biradari system come into existence? Also, why wouldn't Dalits be part of the Biradari system? I assume the traditional varna upper castes like Brahmins or Kshatriyas wouldn't be part of the Biradari system either, right? If so, is "biradari" basically "non-Hindu" of the NW?
    Biradari system is as old as farming culture in Punjab. Mainly consisted of shudra or avarna tribes. These communties are exclusive to NW historically. Only kshtriya based communities in Punjab are Rajputs and Khatris, but rajputs converted to Islam in big numbers in Northern Punjab where their numbers were significant. Khatris are urban based punjabi group that usually did business or government official work. Rest communities like Jatt, Tarkhan, Kamboh, Saini, Gujjars, Awans, Arains etc were avarnas, and practiced Punjabi folk religion before converting to Sikhism or Islam. These same groups were discriminated by brahmins and were not allowed to be part of Varnas. Although some Hindu counterpart of these groups from other states like Haryana have started to claim links to varnas of Hinduism, but they are very small minority, and overall Baahmanvaad is looked down on and rejected.

    Now why Churah and chamars are not part of biradari. Because they were part of original Hinduism. Churahs were untouchables and Chamars were mochi aka leather workers. They were accepted as part of varna system by Brahmins, just at the lower bottom. No denying they've done a lot for Sikhism and contributed proud warriors like Akali Phula Singh or bhagat Ravidass. A chamar or mazhbi Sikh is more likely accepted as part of Punjabi "village" brotherhood than a Brahmin or Khatri.

    This is how the village culture came in existence, a village has a zimidar who owns most of land, which are usually Jatt or in rare occasion Rajput. Then it'll have small farmers like Arains or Sainis. Then it'll have Kaamis, like Tarkhans who'd own very small piece of land but would do woodwork/construction work. Then you'd have other workers like Lohar, Nai, Chhimbe, gujjars who mostly did dairy and cattle based business etc. These live in one area of pind. Then there will be chamarhli, where chamars and churahs live who faced a lot of discrimination because of separate area in pind. There will be a siri from these communities that'll serve the zimidar of the village, and work in thier fields.

    There are some Hindu Tarkhans, who are mainly found in parts of himachal and northern haryana. They worship vishwakrma as their main diety. This practice most likely was passed down from Khatis or Jhangid/Burhai group, which is a varna group of Carpenters found in Haryana, Rajasthan and UP. They do same work as us, except we don't share surnames and they're usually looked down on by us for some reason (i.e. not marrying in them). What differentiate us the most is in some villages we primarily farm, maybe it's post Sikhism influence, while the Hindu Tarkhans or Khatis don't. There are some families that practice both Sikhism and Hinduism at the same time, like idol worshipping or Fasting, but that's urban phenomenon. It's a weird concept for us.
    Last edited by MonkeyDLuffy; 01-28-2019 at 04:45 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyDLuffy View Post
    Biradari system is as old as farming culture in Punjab. Mainly consisted of shudra or avarna tribes. These communties are exclusive to NW historically. Only kshtriya based communities in Punjab are Rajputs and Khatris, but rajputs converted to Islam in big numbers in Northern Punjab where their numbers were significant. Khatris are urban based punjabi group that usually did business or government official work. Rest communities like Jatt, Tarkhan, Kamboh, Saini, Gujjars, Awans, Arains etc were avarnas, and practiced Punjabi folk religion before converting to Sikhism or Islam. These same groups were discriminated by brahmins and were not allowed to be part of Varnas. Although some Hindu counterpart of these groups from other states like Haryana have started to claim links to varnas of Hinduism, but they are very small minority, and overall Baahmanvaad is looked down on and rejected.

    Now why Churah and chamars are not part of biradari. Because they were part of original Hinduism. Churahs were untouchables and Chamars were mochi aka leather workers. They were accepted as part of varna system by Brahmins, just at the lower bottom. No denying they've done a lot for Sikhism and contributed proud warriors like Akali Phula Singh or bhagat Ravidass. A chamar or mazhbi Sikh is more likely accepted as part of Punjabi "village" brotherhood than a Brahmin or Khatri.
    Can you cite some sources to on Biradari system's age. I'm curious because never noticed this when reading about the historical NW. It was always the Varna system(btw, Shudra is a Varna lol). I'm just curious if the "Punjabi folk religion" is a latter innovation or existed independently.

    Also, it is not quite right to say that untouchables were part of the traditional Varna system. The fact that they're untouchable were that they did not belong to the 4 varnas.

    @pegasus -- the NW maestro -- chime in please. Very curious about the development of culture post-BronzeAge in the NW.
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  10. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by poi View Post
    Interesting. When did the Biradari system come into existence? Also, why wouldn't Dalits be part of the Biradari system? I assume the traditional varna upper castes like Brahmins or Kshatriyas wouldn't be part of the Biradari system either, right? If so, is "biradari" basically "non-Hindu" of the NW?
    Monkey can probably answer this better. Here is my go at it. There was some kind of caste system in Punjab few hundred years ago. The Brahmins were more limited in numbers and never really had that much power. The Kshatriyas had lost power for the most part (still the richest group) and became traders/ administrators/ zamindars(some also went to armies). Jatts converted in mass to Sikhism, they were avarna. They probably didn't hold a lot of power but first they served in the Sikh empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the British Empire, and then the Indian Army. Throughout this whole period they amassed a lot of land. Land is very expensive in Punjab. They are also the biggest group numerically. They would sometimes even have one wife for a few brothers to preserve land even 50 years ago.

    Might changes every equation. Land reform came to India in full force, land got divided to the biggest farming community which was the Sikh Jatts. They form the largest expat community in India (next to the Gujuratis, and Andhra). That money flowed into India allowing them to buy even more land. Khatri, Arora, Sood, Bhatias, Sainis etc are relatively fewer in number and more urban. So even though Jatts are avarna they look at themselves as the highest caste in villages. The more urban castes don't want to do anything with them, and neither are in a position of power because of smaller numbers. The urban Punjabis are happy dominating bigger cities with businesses, and more educated professions.

    One other thing, things have changed in the cities in more educated. Most Punjabis are usually okay marrying into each other, this is a relatively recent development(15 years at most). NRI Punjabis are significantly more rigid. I have family married into Sindhis, Jatts, Brahmins, Aroras into Khatris, Khatris into Kashmiri Pandits, some extended family is even married into Sood or Bhatias, and I recently found out that some extended family is even married into Afghan Hindus.
    Last edited by agent_lime; 01-28-2019 at 04:50 PM.

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  12. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by poi View Post
    Can you cite some sources to on Biradari system's age. I'm curious because never noticed this when reading about the historical NW. It was always the Varna system(btw, Shudra is a Varna lol). I'm just curious if the "Punjabi folk religion" is a latter innovation or existed independently.

    Also, it is not quite right to say that untouchables were part of the traditional Varna system. The fact that they're untouchable were that they did not belong to the 4 varnas.

    @pegasus -- the NW maestro -- chime in please. Very curious about the development of culture post-BronzeAge in the NW.
    We were called shudra by Brahmins because we rejected the core Hinduism. That makes us Avarna.

    Anyhow, here's an article on Jajmani system as I explained up there:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jajmani_system

    According to the Jajmani System,[2] there is exchange of goods and services between landowning higher castes and landless service castes. The service castes traditionally include weavers, leather workers, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, barbers, washermen and so constitute groups of artisans serving the community. The landed higher caste Jajman are the patrons, and the service castes are the kameen (servers) of the jajman. The Jajmani system is based on the agricultural system of production and distribution of goods and services. It is the link between the landowning high caste groups and occupational castes.
    The Punjabi variation differs because of groups exclusive to NW like I listed, so Brahmins don't fall under it unlike rest of subcontinent. Also Sikhism helped erase some of the lines between biradaris.

    Punjabi folk culture predates Sikhism. It started to fade away after local population converted to either Islam or Sikhism.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punjabi_folk_religion

    Here is information on Biradaris, and how system works, the sources are linked in the article

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punjabis

    Historically, the Punjabi people were a heterogeneous group and were subdivided into a number of clans called biradari (literally meaning "brotherhood") or tribes, with each person bound to a clan. However, Punjabi identity also included those who did not belong to any of the historical tribes. With the passage of time, tribal structures are coming to an end and are being replaced with a more cohesive[27] and holistic society, as community building and group cohesiveness[28][29] form the new pillars of Punjabi society.[30] In relative contemporary terms, Punjabis can be referred to in three most common subgroups; Punjabi Muslims, Punjabi Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus.[31]
    Last edited by MonkeyDLuffy; 01-28-2019 at 04:59 PM.
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  14. #18
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    One other thing in relation to the Khatris. Even though they were rich, they came from Western Punjab. They are relatively missing in Indian Punjab. They lost most of the money and land. They had no choice but to embrace business even more than before independence. Land was allotted to migrants in small pieces, it was certainly not enough to do farming. Mostly enough to make a small home. The ones that got land in cities like Delhi/ Chandigard hit it big, they are mostly multi millionaires just by land holdings. My father's family got land in Haryana.

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  16. #19
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    The fact that NW, especially Punjab is the only region in subcontinent where Brahmin results don't stand out in comparison to local population, is self explanatory about how it differs from the subcontinent. I'm positive same analogy can be applied to Sindh. Even British noted this, that how complex society structure is in the region.

    Since I've provided sources, and will post some more later, I'd love to answer more questions because from posts over the time by various users it seems there's a lot of misconceptions. If mods want to make a separate thread for it, that'd be nicer. So the thread can move on to rest of subcontinent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyDLuffy View Post
    The fact that NW, especially Punjab is the only region in subcontinent where Brahmin results don't stand out in comparison to local population, is self explanatory about how it differs from the subcontinent. I'm positive same analogy can be applied to Sindh. Even British noted this, that how complex society structure is in the region.

    Since I've provided sources, and will post some more later, I'd love to answer more questions because from posts over the time by various users it seems there's a lot of misconceptions. If mods want to make a separate thread for it, that'd be nicer. So the thread can move on to rest of subcontinent.
    We need various cultural AMA(within the terms) threads! NW would definitely be on top of my list.
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