ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Varna Trophic System

An Ecological Theory of Caste Formation

The evolution of castes including the forming of the varna ideology was a historical consequence of ecosystem development. As this paper argues, the brahminic theory of a varna social structure based on the notions of purity and pollution is systematically mapped on to the framework of the trophic system as developed in the field of ecology. The evolution of castes follow the logic of Darwinian principles elaborated in the field of population ecology. The emergence of untouchability is seen as an ecologically determined adaptation contributing to the fitness and survival of those regarded as untouchable. Untouchability and the varna framework are inseparably joined by an ecological logic. It is not possible to preserve in any way the identities of caste and at the same time hope to eradicate untouchability.

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