pachai maamalai pol mene

Sunday, July 03, 2011

gothras

I had already pointed out in one of the threads how the concept of Gothram arose. It was on the basis of the common pool of cattle (go plus thram) that people identified themselves into clans. The strict dictum that there
should not be inter...marriage between the castes (the first three Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaisya ) appears to have not been insisted in the pre manu period and pratiloma marriages were very common. The Gothra concept originally was among a group not related through blood  with one another but among the people coming under the control and leadership of one rishi.. By pravaram what we call is the parentage of the rishi who establlished the gothram. For example aangirasa, baarhaspatya baradwaja means Bharadwaja in the paternal lineage of angira and brishapathi. This exactly is the reason why there will be many gothras starting from sage  Vasishta.. It is just like saying I am ananthanarayananan vaidyanathan ananthanarayanan.. So in the gotra baskets we may see kshatriya or even vaisya names.  We see Ambarisha, Viswamitra and Bhargava parasurama (half kshtriya..Renuka was the daughter of a king) all there. But when the clan system stablilized the vestigal nomenclature followed but the gothras were reckoned on the basis of caste. In Ramayana we find that Rama belonged to the gothra of Vasishta and Sita to that of Gautama, since Janaka's  kulaguru was Sataananda, the son of Gauthama.
This concept may jar the caste sytem as we followed later on. Like
vegetarianism which has come later to Brahmin but on which now brahmins are identified, caste identity in its rigid sense was a subsequent addition.
    A  question can be asked why the sagotra marriage are taboo. Formerly girls were married into gothras because the receiving clan's financial conditions were fortified because of the  additon by the girl's parents  of some sort of property by way of cattle or land as dowry to  the groom's clan  ..Dowry system was always there...see the
kanyakadhaana mantram.." kanyaam kanaka sampannam, sarvavbharanabooshitaam, daasyami vishnave tubyam...... the nubile maiden, decked in golden ornaments is given as gift to the fellow who is in penury after completing his studies  and in desperation he is migrating to Kasi to eke out a livelihood there . Later on, of course the gothras became a matter of cohesion of siblings of one caste of male descendants from a marriage. In the result  the same  gothra marriage within a limited number of generation could  be harmful.
But two things have to be considered. (1) The migrant people like palakkad iyers are likely to have redefined the gothras at the time of resettlement, and at that stage grouping on the basis of blood relation could have happened. (2)We do not have our genetic mapping beyond seven or eight  generations available with us. So we are taking care not to have sagotra marriages.
Anyway it is an established fact that when the DNA structure of the most purtian Pandit or Nambuthiri and some aborigine  from tribal classes in India were considered there was a lot more of matching than mismatch. So the caste system does not appear to be rigid in the rgvedic or prevedic society.