Dattatreya, Dattā or Dattaguru or Duttatreya, is a paradigmatic Sannyasi and one of the lords of Yoga in Hinduism. In many regions of India and Nepal, he is considered a deity. In Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Gujarat, he is a syncretic deity, considered to be an avatar of the three Hindu gods Brahma and Shiva, collectively known as Trimurti. In other regions, some versions of texts such as Garuda Purana, Brahma Purana and Sattvata Samhita, he is an avatar of Maha Vishnu, his iconography varies regionally. In western Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, for example, he is shown with three heads and six hands, one head each for Brahma and Shiva, one pair of hands holding the symbolic items associated with each member of the Trimurti: The jaapmaala and water pot of Brahma, the conch and sudarshana chakra of Vishnu, the trishula and two headed drum of Shiva, he is dressed as a simple monk, situated in a forest or wilderness suggestive of his renunciation of worldly goods and pursuit of a meditative yogi lifestyle.
In paintings and some large carvings, he is surrounded by four dogs and a cow, where the dogs are not the symbolism for the four Vedas but it shows similar vision of lord to all the animals from pure cow to the low level dog. In the temples of southern Maharashtra, Varanasi and in the Himalayas, his iconography shows him with one head and two hands with four dogs and a cow. According to Rigopoulos, in the Nath tradition of Shaivism, Dattatreya is revered as the Adi-Guru of the Adinath Sampradaya of the Nathas, the first "Lord of Yoga" with mastery of Tantra, although most traditions and scholars consider Adi Nath an epithet of Shiva, his pursuit of simple life, kindness to all, sharing of his knowledge and the meaning of life during his travels is reverentially mentioned in the poems by Tukaram, a saint-poet of the Bhakti movement. Over time, Dattatreya has inspired many monastic movements in Shaivism and Shaktism in the Deccan region of India, south India, Gujarat and Himalayan regions where Shiva tradition has been strong.
According to Mallinson, Dattatreya is not the traditional guru of the Nath Sampradaya, he was coopted by the Nath tradition in about the 18th century as a guru, as a part of Vishnu-Shiva syncretism. This is evidenced by the Marathi text Navanathabhaktisara, states Mallinson, wherein there is syncretic fusion of the Nath Sampradaya with the Mahanubhava sect by identifying nine Naths with nine Narayanas. Several Upanishads are dedicated to him, as are texts of the Advaita Vedanta-Yoga tradition in Hinduism. One of the most important texts of Advaita Vedanta, namely Avadhuta Gita is attributed to Dattatreya. Annual festival in the Hindu calendar month of Mārgaśīrṣa reveres Dattatreya and this is called Datta Jayanti; the puranic stories of Dattatreya vary by region. In the Puranas, he was born in north Indian hermitage to Anusuya and her husband the Vedic sage Atri traditionally credited with making the largest contribution to the Rigveda. Another states. A third claims he was born in Kashmir jungles near the sacred Amarnath Temple.
A fourth legend states he was born along with his brothers Durvasa and Chandra, to an unwed mother named Anusuya, after sage Atri saw her bathing, fantasized about her which caused her to become pregnant. In a fifth myth, sage Atri was old when young Anusuya married him and they sought the help of the trimurti gods for a child; as the trinity were pleased with them for having brought light and knowledge to the world granted the boon, which led Dattatreya to be born with characteristics of all three. While his origins are unclear, stories about his life are more clearer, he is described in the Mahabharata as an exceptional Rishi with extraordinary insights and knowledge, adored and raised to a Guru and an Avatar of Vishnu in the Puranas. Dattatreya is stated in these texts to having renounced the world and leaving his home at an early age to lead a monastic life. One myth claims he meditated immersed in water for a long time, another has him wandering from childhood and the young Dattatreya footprints have been preserved on a lonely peak at Girnar.
The Tripura-rahasya refers to the disciple Parasurama finding Dattatreya meditating on Gandhamadana mountain. Dattatreya is said to have his lunch daily by taking alms at a holy place Pithapuram, Andhra Pradesh, where he was born as Sripada Sri Vallabha; the young Dattatreya is famous in the Hindu texts as the one who started with nothing and without teachers, yet reached self-awareness by observing nature during his Sannyasi wanderings, treating these natural observations as his twenty four teachers. This legend has been emblematic in the Hindu belief among artists and Yogis, that ideas and practices come from all sources, that self effort is a means to learning; the 24 teachers of Dattatreya are: The appearance of Shri Dattatreya in pictures varies according to traditional beliefs. A typical icon for Dattatreya popular with Marathi-speaking people in India, has three heads corresponding to Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, six hands.
Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. The term has been used as a geographical and religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent; the historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to the land of the Indus in the 1st millennium BCE through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent around or beyond the Sindhu river. By the 16th century, the term began to refer to residents of the subcontinent who were not Turkic or Muslims; the historical development of Hindu self-identity within the local South Asian population, in a religious or cultural sense, is unclear. Competing theories state that Hindu identity developed in the British colonial era, or that it developed post-8th century CE after the Islamic invasion and medieval Hindu-Muslim wars.
A sense of Hindu identity and the term Hindu appears in some texts dated between the 13th and 18th century in Sanskrit and regional languages. The 14th- and 18th-century Indian poets such as Vidyapati and Eknath used the phrase Hindu dharma and contrasted it with Turaka dharma; the Christian friar Sebastiao Manrique used the term'Hindu' in religious context in 1649. In the 18th century, the European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus, in contrast to Mohamedans for Mughals and Arabs following Islam. By the mid-19th century, colonial orientalist texts further distinguished Hindus from Buddhists and Jains, but the colonial laws continued to consider all of them to be within the scope of the term Hindu until about mid-20th century. Scholars state that the custom of distinguishing between Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs is a modern phenomenon. Hindoo is an archaic spelling variant. At more than 1.03 billion, Hindus are the world's third largest group after Muslims.
The vast majority of Hindus 966 million, live in India, according to India's 2011 census. After India, the next 9 countries with the largest Hindu populations are, in decreasing order: Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, United States, United Kingdom and Myanmar; these together accounted for 99% of the world's Hindu population, the remaining nations of the world together had about 6 million Hindus in 2010. The word Hindu is derived from the Indo-Aryan and Sanskrit word Sindhu, which means "a large body of water", covering "river, ocean", it was used as the name of the Indus river and referred to its tributaries. The actual term'hindu' first occurs, states Gavin Flood, as "a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the Punjab region, called Sapta Sindhu in the Vedas, is called Hapta Hindu in Zend Avesta. The 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I mentions the province of Hidush, referring to northwestern India; the people of India were referred to as Hinduvān and hindavī was used as the adjective for Indian in the 8th century text Chachnama.
The term'Hindu' in these ancient records is an ethno-geographical term and did not refer to a religion. The Arabic equivalent Al-Hind referred to the country of India. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by the Buddhist scholar Xuanzang. Xuanzang uses the transliterated term In-tu whose "connotation overflows in the religious" according to Arvind Sharma. While Xuanzang suggested that the term refers to the country named after the moon, another Buddhist scholar I-tsing contradicted the conclusion saying that In-tu was not a common name for the country. Al-Biruni's 11th-century text Tarikh Al-Hind, the texts of the Delhi Sultanate period use the term'Hindu', where it includes all non-Islamic people such as Buddhists, retains the ambiguity of being "a region or a religion". The'Hindu' community occurs as the amorphous'Other' of the Muslim community in the court chronicles, according to Romila Thapar.
Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes that'Hindu' retained its geographical reference initially:'Indian','indigenous, local', virtually'native'. The Indian groups themselves started using the term, differentiating themselves and their "traditional ways" from those of the invaders; the text Prithviraj Raso, by Chanda Baradai, about the 1192 CE defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan at the hands of Muhammad Ghori, is full of references to "Hindus" and "Turks", at one stage, says "both the religions have drawn their curved swords. In Islamic literature,'Abd al-Malik Isami's Persian work, Futuhu's-salatin, composed in the Deccan in 1350, uses the word'hindi' to mean Indian in the ethno-geographical sense and the word'hindu' to mean'Hindu' in the sense of a follower of the Hindu religion"; the poet Vidyapati's poem Kirtilata contrasts the cultures of Hindus and Turks in a city and concludes "The Hindus and the Turks live close together. One of the earliest uses of word'Hindu' in religious context in a European language, was the publication in 1649 by Sebastiao Manrique.
Other prominent mentions of'Hindu' include the epigraphical inscriptions from Andhra Pradesh kingdoms who battled military expansion of Muslim dynasties in the 14th century, where the word'Hindu' implies a religious identity in contrast to'Turks' or Islam
Nath called as Natha, are a Shaivist sub-tradition within Hinduism. A medieval movement, it combined ideas from Buddhism and Yoga traditions in India; the Naths have been a confederation of devotees who consider Adinatha, or Shiva, as their first lord or guru, with varying lists of additional lords. Of these, the 9th or 10th century Matsyendranath and the ideas and organization developed by Gorakshanath are important, thus Gorakhnath was originator of "Nath Panth. Nath tradition has extensive Shaivism-related theological literature of its own, most of, traceable to 11th century CE or later. However, its roots are in far more ancient Siddha tradition. A notable aspect of Nath tradition practice have been its refinements and use of Yoga Hatha Yoga, to transform one's body into a sahaja siddha state of awakened self’s identity with absolute reality. An accomplished guru, yoga and spiritual guide, is considered essential, they have been known for their esoteric and heterodox practices, their unconventional ways challenged all orthodox premises, exploring dark and shunned practices of society as a means to understanding theology and gaining inner powers.
They formed monastic organisations, itinerant groups that walked great distances to sacred sites and festivals such as the Kumbh Mela as a part of their spiritual practice. The Nath have a large settled householder tradition in parallel to its monastic groups; some of them metamorphosed into warrior ascetics during the Islamic rule of the Indian subcontinent. The Nath tradition was influenced by other Indian traditions such as Advaita Vedanta monism, in turn influenced it as well as movements within Vaishnavism and Bhakti movement saints such as Kabir and Namdev; the Sanskrit word nātha नाथ means "lord, master". The related Sanskrit term Adi Natha means first or original Lord, is a synonym for Shiva, the founder of the Nāthas. Initiation into the Nātha sampradaya includes receiving a name ending in -nath; the term ‘’Nath’’ is a neologism for the Shaivism tradition now known by that name. Before the 18th century they were called Yogi. However, during the colonial rule, the term "Yogi/Jogi" was used with derision and classified by British India census as a “low status caste".
In the 20th century, the community began to use the alternate term Nath instead in their public relations, while continuing to use their historical term of “yogi or jogi” to refer to each other within the community. The term Nath or Natha, with the meaning of lord, is a term found in Vaishnavism and in Jainism; the term yogi or jogi is not limited to Natha subtradition, has been used in Indian culture for anyone, devoted to yoga. Some memoirs by travelers such as those by the Italian traveler Varthema refer to the Nath Yogi people they met, phonetically as Ioghes. Nath are a sub-tradition within Shaivism, who trace their lineage to nine Nath gurus, starting with Shiva as the first, or ‘’Adinatha’’; the list of the remaining eight is somewhat inconsistent between the regions Nath sampradaya is found, but consists of c. 9th century Matsyendranatha and c. 12th century Gorakhshanatha along with six more. The other six vary between Buddhist texts such as Abhyadattasri, Hindu texts such as Varnaratnakara and Hathapradipika.
The most common remaining Nath gurus include Caurangi, Carpatha, Kanhapa and Bhartrihari. The Nath tradition was not a new movement, but one evolutionary phase of a old Siddha tradition of India; the Siddha tradition explored Yoga, with the premise that human existence is a psycho-chemical process that can be perfected by a right combination of psychological and physical techniques, thereby empowering one to a state of highest spirituality, living in prime condition ad libitum, dying when one so desires into a calm, blissful transcendental state. The term siddha means "perfect", this premise was not limited to Siddha tradition but was shared by others such as the Rasayana school of Ayurveda. According to Mallinson, "the majority of the early textual and epigraphic references to Matsyendra and Goraksa are from the Deccan region and elsewhere in peninsular India; the oldest iconography of Nath-like yogis is found in the Konkan region. The Vijayanagara Empire artworks include them, as do texts from a region now known as Maharashtra, northern Karnataka and Kerala.
The Chinese traveller, named Ma Huan, visited a part of the western coast of India, wrote a memoir, he mentions the Nath Yogis. The oldest texts of the Nath tradition that describe pilgrimage sites include predominantly sites in the Deccan region and the eastern states of India, with hardly any mention of north, northwest or south India; this Community Also Can Be Found In Some Parts Of Rajasthan But These Are Normal Like Other Castes, Considered As Other Blove Caste. Gorakhshanatha is traditionally credited with founding the tradition of renunciate ascetics, but the earliest textual references about the Nath ascetic order as an organized entity, that have survived into the modern era, are from the 17th century. Before the 17th century, while a mention of the Nath sampradaya as a monastic institution is missing, extensive isolated mentions about the Nath Shaiva people are found in inscriptions and temple iconography from earlier centuries. In the Deccan region, only since the 18th century according to Mallison, Dattatreya has been traditionally included as a Nath guru as a part of Vishnu-Shiva syncretism.
According to others, Dattatreya has been the revered as the Adi-Guru (First
The Gujarati people or Gujaratis are an ethnic group traditionally from Gujarat that speak Gujarati, an Indo-Aryan language. Gujaratis are prominent in industry and key figures played a historic role in the introduction of the doctrine of Swaraj and the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Albeit with huge migration for economic reasons, most Gujaratis in India live in the state of Gujarat in Western India. Gujaratis form a significant part of the populations in the neighboring metropolis of Mumbai and union territories of Daman and Diu, Dadra Nagar Haveli, both being former Portuguese colonies. There are large Gujarati immigrant communities in other parts of India, most notably in Mumbai, Calcutta, Madras and other metropolitan areas like Kollam and Kochi in Kerala. All throughout history Gujaratis have earned a reputation as being India's greatest merchants,industrialists and business entrepreneurs, have therefore been at forefront of migrations all over the world to regions that were part of the British empire such as Fiji, Hong Kong, New Zealand, East Africa and countries in Southern Africa.
Diasporas and transnational networks in many of these countries date back to more than a century. In recent decades, larger numbers of Gujaratis have migrated to English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. Between 1790-1, an epidemic devastated numerous parts of Gujarat during which 100,000 Gujaratis were killed in Surat alone. An outbreak of bubonic plague in 1812 has been claimed to have killed about half the Gujarati population. Early European travelers like Ludovico di Varthema traveled to Gujarat and wrote on the people of Gujarat, he noted that Jainism had a strong presence in Gujarat and opined that Gujaratis were deprived of their kingdom by Mughals because of their kind heartedness. His description of Gujaratis was: Orthodox Gujarati society, mercantile by nature, was organized along ethno-religious lines and shaped into existence on the strength of its Mahajan, for its institution of Nagarsheth. Gujaratis belonging to numerous faiths and castes, thrived in an inclusive climate surcharged by a degree of cultural syncretism, in which Hindus and Jains dominated occupations such as shroffs and brokers whereas, Muslims and Parsis dominated sea shipping trade.
This led to religious interdependence, tolerance and community cohesion becoming the hallmark of modern-day Gujarati society. The Gujarati people are predominantly Hindu. There are significant populations of Jains and Muslims, minor populations of Sikhs, Zoroastrians and Christians The major communities in Gujarat are the traditional Agriculturalist such as Patel, Ahir and Rabari, Artisan communities, Brahmin communities, Farming communities (such as Choudhary Jats and Koli people, Genealogist communities, Kshatriya communities, Parsi Community, Tribal communities and Vaishya; the major Gujarati Muslim communities include Nizari Ismailis, Daudi Bohra, Khoja, Sayyid and Vahora. Gujaratis have a long tradition of seafaring and a history of overseas migration to foreign lands, to Yemen Oman Bahrain, Kuwait and other countries in the Persian Gulf since a mercantile culture resulted from the state's proximity to the Arabian Sea; the countries with the largest Gujarati populations are Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States and many countries in Southern and East Africa.
Globally, Gujaratis are estimated to comprise around 33% of the Indian diaspora worldwide and can be found in 129 of 190 countries listed as sovereign nations by the United Nations. Non Resident Gujaratis maintain active links with the homeland in the form of business, remittance and through their political contribution to state governed domestic affairs. Gujarati parents in the diaspora are not comfortable with the possibility of their language not surviving them. In a study, 80% of Malayali parents felt that "children would be better off with English", compared to 36% of Kannada parents and only 19% of Gujarati parents. There is a community of Gujarati Muslims settled in the Pakistani province of Sindh for generations. Community leaders say. A sizable number migrated after the Partition of India and subsequent creation of independent Pakistan in 1947; these Pakistani Gujaratis belong to the Ismāʿīlī, Dawoodi Bohra, Charotar Sunni Vohra, Muslim Kutchi, Muslim Khatri and Memon groups. Famous Gujaratis of Pakistan include Muhammed Ali Jinnah, Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar, Sir Adamjee Haji Dawood, Abu Bakr Osman Mitha, Abdul Razzak Yaqoob, Javed Miandad, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Jehangir H. Kothari, Abdul Gaffar Billoo, Sarfraz Ahmed, Ramzan Chhipa, Tapu Javeri, Pervez Hoodbhoy (Pakista
An avatar, a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", refers to the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to any guru or revered human being; the word avatar does not appear in the Vedic literature, but appears in verb forms in post-Vedic literature, as a noun in the Puranic literature after the 6th century CE. Despite that, the concept of an avatar is compatible with the content of the Vedic literature like the Upanishads as it is symbolic imagery of the Saguna Brahman concept in the philosophy of Hinduism; the Rigveda describes Indra as endowed with a mysterious power of assuming any form at will. The Bhagavad Gita expounds the doctrine of Avatara but with terms other than avatar. Theologically, the term is most associated with the Hindu god Vishnu, though the idea has been applied to other deities. Varying lists of avatars of Vishnu appear in Hindu scriptures, including the ten Dashavatara of the Garuda Purana and the twenty-two avatars in the Bhagavata Purana, though the latter adds that the incarnations of Vishnu are innumerable.
The avatars of Vishnu are important in Vaishnavism theology. In the goddess-based Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, avatars of the Devi in different appearances such as Tripura Sundari and Kali are found. While avatars of other deities such as Ganesha and Shiva are mentioned in medieval Hindu texts, this is minor and occasional; the incarnation doctrine is one of the important differences between Vaishnavism and Shaivism traditions of Hinduism. Incarnation concepts similar to avatar are found in Buddhism and other religions; the scriptures of Sikhism include the names of numerous Hindu gods and goddesses, but it rejected the doctrine of savior incarnation and endorsed the view of Hindu Bhakti movement saints such as Namdev that formless eternal god is within the human heart and man is his own savior. The Sanskrit noun is derived from the Sanskrit roots ava and tṛ; these roots trace back, states Monier-Williams, to -taritum, -tarati, -rītum. Avatar means "descent, alight, to make one's appearance", refers to the embodiment of the essence of a superhuman being or a deity in another form.
The word implies "to overcome, to remove, to bring down, to cross something". In Hindu traditions, the "crossing or coming down" is symbolism, states Daniel Bassuk, of the divine descent from "eternity into the temporal realm, from unconditioned to the conditioned, from infinitude to finitude". An avatar, states Justin Edwards Abbott, is a saguna embodiment of Atman. Neither the Vedas nor the Principal Upanishads mention the word avatar as a noun; the verb roots and form, such as avatarana, do appear in ancient post-Vedic Hindu texts, but as "action of descending", but not as an incarnated person. The related verb avatarana is, states Paul Hacker, used with double meaning, one as action of the divine descending, another as "laying down the burden of man" suffering from the forces of evil. Mahesh is an avatar of Lord Vishnu; the term is most found in the context of the Hindu god Vishnu. The earliest mention of Vishnu manifested in a human form to empower the good and fight against evil, uses other terms such as the word sambhavāmi in verse 4.6 and the word tanu in verse 9.11 of the Bhagavad Gita, as well as other words such as akriti and rupa elsewhere.
It is in medieval era texts, those composed after the sixth century CE, that the noun version of avatar appears, where it means embodiment of a deity. The idea proliferates thereafter, in the Puranic stories for many deities, with ideas such as ansha-avatar or partial embodiments; the term avatar, in colloquial use, is an epithet or a word of reverence for any extraordinary human being, revered for his or her ideas. In some contexts, the term avatara just means a "landing place, site of sacred pilgrimage", or just "achieve one's goals after effort", or retranslation of a text in another language; the term avatar is not unique to Hinduism. It is found in the Trikaya doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism, in descriptions for the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhism, many ancient cultures; the manifest embodiment is sometimes referred to as an incarnation. The translation of avatar as "incarnation" has been questioned by Christian theologians, who state that an incarnation is in flesh and imperfect, while avatar is mythical and perfect.
The theological concept of Christ as an incarnation, as found in Christology, presents the Christian concept of incarnation. According to Oduyoye and Vroom, this is different from the Hindu concept of avatar because avatars in Hinduism are unreal and is similar to Docetism. Sheth disagrees and states that this claim is an incorrect understanding of the Hindu concept of avatar. Avatars are true embodiments of spiritual perfection, one driven by noble goals, in Hindu traditions such as Vaishnavism; the concept of avatar within Hinduism is most associated with Vishnu, the preserver or sustainer aspect of God within the Hindu Trinity or Trimurti of Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu's avatars descend thereby restoring Dharma. Traditional Hindus see themselves not as Vaishnava, Shaiva, or Shakta; each of the deities has its own iconography and mythology, but common to all is the fact that the divine reality has an explicit form, a form that the worshipper can behold. An oft-quoted passage from the Bhagavad Gita describes the typical role of an avatar of Vishnu: The Vishnu avatars appear in Hindu mythology whenever the cosmos is in
Caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a lifestyle which includes an occupation, status in a hierarchy, customary social interaction, exclusion. It is an extreme evolution of a system of legally-entrenched social classes endogamous and hereditary, such as that of feudal Europe. Although caste systems exist in various regions, its paradigmatic ethnographic example is the division of Indian society into rigid social groups, with roots in India's ancient history and persisting until today. In biology, the term is applied to role stratification in eusocial animals like ants and termites, though the analogy is imperfect as these involve stratified reproduction; the origins of the term'caste' are attributed to the Spanish and Portuguese casta, according to the John Minsheu's Spanish dictionary, means "race, lineage, or breed". When the Spanish colonized the New World, they used the word to mean a "clan or lineage", it was, the Portuguese who first employed casta in the primary modern sense of the English word ‘caste’ when they applied it to the thousands of endogamous, hereditary Indian social groups they encountered upon their arrival in India in 1498, as a direct extension of the concept of ‘casta’ in contemporary Portugal.
The use of the spelling "caste", with this latter meaning, is first attested in English in 1613. Modern India's caste system is based on the artificial superimposition of a four-fold theoretical classification called the Varna on the natural social groupings called the Jāti. From 1901 onwards, for the purposes of the Decennial Census, the British classified all Jātis into one or the other of the Varna categories as described in ancient texts. Herbert Hope Risley, the Census Commissioner, noted that "The principle suggested as a basis was that of classification by social precedence as recognized by native public opinion at the present day, manifesting itself in the facts that particular castes are supposed to be the modern representatives of one or other of the castes of the theoretical Indian system." The system of Varnas propounded in ancient Hindu texts envisages the society divided into four classes: Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Shudras. The texts do not mention any untouchable category in Varna classification.
Scholars believe that the Varnas system was never operational in society and there is no evidence of it being a reality in Indian history. The practical division of the society had always been in terms of Jātis, which are not based on any specific principle, but could vary from ethnic origins to occupations to geographic areas; the Jātis have been endogamous groups without any fixed hierarchy but subject to vague notions of rank articulated over time based on lifestyle and social, political or economic status. Many of India's major empires and dynasties like the Mauryas, Shalivahanas,Chalukyas,Kakatiyas among many others, were founded by people who would have been classified as Shudras, under the Varnas system, it is well established that by the 9th century, kings from all the four castes, including Brahmins and Vaishyas, had occupied the highest seat in the monarchical system in Hindu India, contrary to the Varna theory. In many instances, as in Bengal the kings and rulers had been called upon, when required, to mediate on the ranks of Jātis, which might number in thousands all over the subcontinent and vary by region.
In practice, the jātis may or may not fit into the Varna classes and many prominent Jatis, for example the Jats and Yadavs, straddled two Varnas i.e. Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, the Varna status of Jātis itself was subject to articulation over time. Starting with the British colonial Census of 1901 led by Herbert Hope Risley, all the jātis were grouped under the theoretical varnas categories. According to political scientist Lloyd Rudolph, Risley believed that varna, however ancient, could be applied to all the modern castes found in India, " meant to identify and place several hundred million Indians within it." In an effort to arrange various castes in order of precedence functional grouping was based less on the occupation that prevailed in each case in the present day than on that, traditional with it, or which gave rise to its differentiation from the rest of the community. "This action removed Indians from the progress of history and condemned them to an unchanging position and place in time.
In one sense, it is rather ironic that the British, who continually accused the Indian people of having a static society, should impose a construct that denied progress" The terms varna and jāti are two distinct concepts: while varna is the idealised four-part division envisaged by the Twice-Borns, jāti refers to the thousands of actual endogamous groups prevalent across the subcontinent. The classical authors scarcely speak of anything other than the varnas, as it provided a convenient shorthand. Thus, starting with the 1901 Census, Caste became India's essential institution, with an imprimatur from the British administrators, augmenting a discourse that had dominated Indology. “Despite India's acquisition of formal political independence, it has still not regained the power to know its own past and present apart from that discourse”. Upon independence from Britain, the Indian Constitution listed 1,108 castes across the country as Scheduled Castes in 1950, for positive