Dear Sungeo, I too don’t reject the Brahmin tradition …
Comment posted Lifestyle of Kerala Syrian Christians by Jackson.
I too don’t reject the Brahmin tradition held but what is the actual meaning/origin behind this word claim ‘Brahmin’ is what is not understandable. Brahmins mean Priests in local language and Priests are not exclusive for Aryans/Hindus.
Well, there are many families claiming Namboothiri heritage specifically but on what basis ? Oral folklore or Kudumbacharithrams written not before 16th or 17th cent. AD ? Then is that an evidence is what is unacceptable. If we knew exactly that we are of Brahmin/Namboothiri descent then we should be carrying all those ‘hallmarks’ of a Namboothiri also. But apart from a caste consciousness and some attitudes and few external Hindu customs we don’t have any other evidences to support our claims and hence cannot infer we are so. Caste consciousness was seen in all communities foreign to native India. If we have families claiming so strongly a Namboothiri/Hindu Brahmin descent then they should also provide other details like the Gothram, Griham, Vedam-type, Desam, Pravaram, etc. before conversion but I dont’ think any Nasrani can provide that. If some family can then we can verify the Brahmin claim because if they hold and pass on their Brahmin origin claims for generations they should also have passed the other details. Where are these evidences ?
Similarly namboothiris have very specific and rigid customs and practices and also their phonetics/language etc. all which I have described earlier in detail, which is simply not seen in majority Nasranis. Why ? Where is the PIE accent and nasalization styles in Nasranis if they are Namboothiris ? Why can’t many of them even pronounce Sanskrit properly which distinguishes an Aryan/Brahmin from all other castes ? Don’t tell me all these things were lost after conversion but just the oral claim remained.
Another thing u mentioned is Nasranis were bestowed with privileges. That thing itself proves we were “made privileged”. Had we been Hindu Brahmins we wud have been ‘inherently privileged’ and there wud not be a need to ‘grant privilege’. Or were they ‘outcasted’ becoz they converted and then restored with privileges ? If that is so then how true is your statement that Hindus would still consider us “equal” to Brahmins. They would abhor us as per caste rules if we would have been majorly from converts from their stock ! The term ‘bhrashtu’ is very horrific and translates to ‘excommunication’ after breaking from the community for whatever reasons among the Brahmins. Still another tradition claims we were considered at par with the Nair nobility in society. So does that make us Nairs ? So nair or namboothir… what are we exactly ? Some others say that in earlier times we would perform a ritual bath if polluted by Nairs. Why so if we are from the same stock of Nairs ?
Similarly note that most Nasranis had been professional overseas traders/merchants well in contact with different kinds of people. And for Namboothiris (or for any Brahmin group) it is a TABOO to even cross seas for whatever reasons specifically trade and only today is this scenario changing slowly due to modernization because trading was a profession of the Aryan Vaishya caste only. Another point which dismisses Namboothiri/Brahmin claims. I have never read of Namboothiris/Brahmins as expert traders/merchants but yes of Nasranis it’s true.
Therefore read that statement carefully wherein u have said… “And Hindus too have traditions where we were GIVEN equal status to Brahmins.”…… probably the answer lies there in the word “GIVEN” and not “Inherited”. And ‘Given’ also means it happened over a period of time !
Some nasranis have attitudes of been some white superior race completely foreign to Indian culture which is another weird thing. I have personally heard some Roman Catholics (RCSC) saying in ignorance they are from Rome/Romans hence called Roman Catholics… another example of sheer ignorance. How long should we allow this, is upto this generation to decide sensibly !
Which is the first reliable historical work/source or document or anything like that before 16th or 15th cent. AD that says the first converts were Brahmins from Pakalomattam, Shankarapuri, etc. so that we can count it as an evidence ? Then where did we get these from ? We can find the truth if we really want to. It’s not about criticism but about not been fooled/blindly-led. Age of Feudalism is over and we no longer have to listen to influential and power holders who are most probably the first creators of such myths. Go to a poor Nasrani family and ask him his origins. He will either dismiss the topic or be least interested in such myths and will most probably know in his mind the lost version of the truth. It is money and power that defines things in society over time, which creates and invents new theories (which clearly lack logic) for self-recognition and also which probably gave us the new definitions, for nobody to question us as our community prospered.
So note the “wide swingings” in claims over different periods in history to suit local lavour and as per local social make-up. Of course there have been some converts into the community in later centuries till today from Hindus and these have evidences but what about the majority claimers who are early Christians ? Where from is the “source” of these claims and How and when and from where, is the question that continues to be unanswered !!
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