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In general there has been a lot of Brahmin-bashing in the media and I myself have had mixed opinions about the subject with a tinge of negativity. In my circles the perception is that most brahmins have a superiority complex and that when the topic of discussion is caste, they are intolerably cocky. So my personal view has been a bit irreverent to this lot. But I have had to re-examine my views based on something I read.
Recently I read a article that pointed out the following: Brahmins have never been wealthy. They have never been rulers. They have never lived in palaces. They lived off the donations of others. Their community duties lay mainly in religious and intellectual domains. They were always respected even though they had little money & frugal lives.
And so I find myself reading about the Brahmins.
On the online-page of the Rare Book Society of India I came across this book: “Sundhya – The Daily Prayers of Brahmins”. A few pictures that they have posted from that book showcase a slice of Brahmin life:
These sketches remind me of that article – that the Brahmins did not pursue an opulent lifestyle.
Makes me wonder : JUST HOW did the transformation in perceptions of the others come about? How did this group go from being perceived as “frugal” “ascetic” “intellectuals” to being perceived as “elite” & “high & mighty”?!
[ From the book –
The Sundhya or the Daily Prayers of the Brahmins.
Illustrated in a series of original drawings from nature, demonstrating their attitudes and different signs and figures performed by them during the ceremonies of their morning devotions, and likewise their poojas.
Reprint Available on
Source : Rare Book Society of India]
By Jaina Mishra