Debashish Mitra


This paper deals with the nature, distinction and functioning of identity formation of a particular caste, viz. Brahmin caste, relating to various institutions, in North and South India. Identity formation of any community is juxtaposed with the cultural, political and psychological consciousness of other community that is situated diametrically opposite to it. Social movements need identity for empowerment which is required in order to mobilize political claims. Low caste social movements in India are a case in point, although the degree of its perfection has not been same throughout the length and breadth of India. This study does not try to enquire into the path that had already been treated by academicians since the inception of the low caste movements, but attempts to introspect the grid of ‘identity formation’ of upper castes, particularly the Brahmin caste, in opposition to the formation of the identity of the low-castes in India. The present case study rests on the analysis of lived human experiences by means of on-site fieldwork and some combination of (participant) observation, (in-depth) interviews, and/or document analysis. The result is there for other empirical research to investigate further into other domain of enquiry in social science.


Brahmin caste, Comparative method, Mahalwari, Ryatwari, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh(U.P.).

Full Text:



Arnold D.R. (1977). The Congress in Tamilnad: Nationalist Politics in South India,1919-37, Delhi: Manohar Publications, 97, 99.

Baker J. Christopher &Washbrook D.A. (1975). South India: Political Institutions and Political Change 1880-1940, Kolkata: Macmillan.

Basham, A. L. (1985). The Wonder That Was India,

Kolkata, Rupa& Co., 151.

Bayly C.A. (1973).Patrons and Politics in Northern India.Modern Asian Studies, 7 (3), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 351.

Cancian, Frank. (2006). Social Stratification.In David Inglias and John Bone (Ed.). New York: Routledge, 58.

Currie, Kate. (2006). The Indian Stratification Debate. In David Inglias and John Bone (Eds.). New York: Routledge, 98-99.

Hebsur, R. K. (1980). Reaction to the reservations for Other Backward Classes. Report of the Backward Classes Commission, III-VII (Second part), New Delhi: Government of India.

Ingalls, Daniel. (1958, July-September).The Brahman Tradition.The Journal of American Folklore, 71(281), 214.

Jaffrelot, C. (2011). India’s Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Low-Castes in North Indian Politics. New Delhi: Permanent Black, 177-178, 184, 211-212.

Jaffrelot, C. (2010). Religion, Caste and Politics in India. New Delhi: Primus Books, 325, 347-348, 413, 421,

Jaffrelot, Christophe. (2000, September-October). Caste politics in North, West and South India before Mandal: The low caste movements between Sanskritisation and Ethnicisation. Asian Survey (University of California Press), 40(5), 765-766.

Jessop, B. (1982). The Capitalist State. Oxford: Martin Robertson, 224.

Jessop, B. (1990). State Theory. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Jessop, B. (2008). State Power. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Lijphart, Arend. (1971, September).Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method.The American Political Science Review, 65 (3), 685.

Madras District Gazetteers-Madura District.(1930). Vol-II, Madurai, Tamil Nadu State Archive, 100, 109.

Mehrotra, Santosh. (2006, October 7-13). Well-Being and Caste in Uttar Pradesh: Why UP Is Not like Tamil Nadu. Economic and Political Weekly, 41(40), 4260-4261.

Report on Administration of Madras Presidency 1938-39. (1940). Madras, p.4.

Metcalf Thomas R. (1967, (Spring – Summer). Landlords

Without Land: The U. P. Zamindars Today, Pacific Affairs (University of British Columbia), 40 (1/2).

Sarwar, Firoj High. (2012, September-October). A Comparative Study of Zamindari, Raiyatwari and Mahalwari Land Revenue Settlements: The Colonial Mechanisms of Surplus Extraction in 19th Century British India. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 2(4), 22.

Srinivas, M.N. (2006). Social Change in Modern India. Orient Longman, New Delhi.

Verma, A.K. (2007, Mar. 10-16). Reverse Social Osmosis in Uttar Pradesh. Economic and Political Weekly, 42(10).

Yanow, D. Schwartz-Shea, P. and Freitas, M.J. (2008).Case Study Research in Political Science. A. J. Mills, G. Durepos& E. Wiebe (eds.), Encyclopedia of Case Study Research.New Delhi: Sage Publications, 4.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Debashish Mitra

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Journal of South Asian Studies
ISSN: 2307-4000 (Online), 2308-7846 (Print)
© EScience Press. All Rights Reserved.