(From these sins of the destroyers of the family that lead to a mixture of castes , the long standing family traditions and the traditions of the castes are destroyed.)
So, the Jati was primarily a matter of Dharma, a term , which, many of the present generation are terribly confused with. The marriage terms even in Mahabharatic period was among the Varna only. Intermarriages were still on but in a limited way. The interchange of Varnas for a person was difficult during this period but, many were happening.
Vyasa was a sudra ( son of a fisherwoman)
Valmiki was a Dalit ( jungle robber)
Viswamitra was a Kshatriya
Vashishta was a sudra
In Tamilnadu, at least six of the Alwars of the twelve were non Brahmins. Thiruppanalwar was a dlait, Nammalwar was also a dalit, one of Ramanuja's gurus was a sudra. All were vedic scholars !
These examples are of a highest order where these non Brahmins were elevated to Rishi cadre. And , many gotras are in their name.
But, the Jati, of the insidious form took root only after Buddhism's decline. A classic example is the Bhumihar Brahmins of Bihar. They had converted en masse to Buddhism once and when they returned, the orthodox Brahmins refused them entry and as a result they formed a separate caste called Bhumihar. Till now they are not accepted as Brahmins (by their counterparts in their previous caste)
The Gotra Pravara was only for Brahmins in those days and even today. Other varnas had only Kula and Jati only. Gowthama Buddha was born into the Ikshwaku clan but had the name of Gowthama the muni since he was their kulaguru. It was not his gotra . It was a practice in those days to have the name of the kulaguru before one's name in the Kshatriya varna.
The Gotra wasmore a scientific way of restricting marriage in paternal blood. You will note that Gotra is paternal only.
Modern Proof for soundness of Gotra type of classification:
Recently, US President (& Author of Declaration of Independence of United States) Thomas Jefferson's paternity of his slave Sally Fleming's children has been in news. For nearly 200 years, since US president Thomas Jefferson's time, many traditionalists maintained that Jefferson did not cohabit with Sally. But some descendents of Sally maintained otherwise and claimed to be progeny of the ex-president. This old historical controversy has now been resolved using modern genetic DNA analysis methods (Reference - Founding father by Eric S Lander & Joseph J Ellis and Foster et al, Nature | Volume 396 | 5 November 1998 | pages 14, 27-28).
The genetic DNA study of descendents of Jefferson family and Sally Fleming's family, has confirmed with very high probability that, US President Thomas Jefferson was indeed the father of at least one of the sons of Sally Fleming.
How was this genetic work done? Geneticists used a scientific fact, that most of the male Y-chromosome is passed intact from father to son. Females do not carry the Y-chromosome. With modern advances in genetics, this fact has been used to trace paternal lineage, and resolve stories like Thomas Jefferson's.
Thomas Jefferson did not have surviving sons from his legal wife. But his paternal uncle's male lineage is in tact to present time. The genetic Y-chromosome of these persons (eight generations down from Thomas Jefferson's paternal uncle) living at present time was used as the reference. This was compared with intact male line persons from (Five generations down from) Sally Fleming living presently. The geneticists used polymorphic markers so that Y-chromosome can be distinguished by haplotypes. They found that Sally Fleming's son Eston's male line progeny had same haplotypes as Field Jefferson who was paternal uncle of Thomas Jefferson. Using other physical and living proximity factors, the geneticists have concluded with high probability that Eston Fleming was the son of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Fleming.
This class of human male lineage research is now very active and is being conducted in native populations of Wales, England, in Iceland and to establish uniqueness, paternity, historical lineage, medical issues and intellectual issues of heredity etc amongst various population groups.
So gotra is a simple , ingenious method of passing down of typical Y chromosomes. In non Brahmin varnas, they had Kulas. Some of them are ancient and some modern. But they are there.
Jati is a subsect of Varna. Kula is a subsect of jati. Gotra and kula are equitable.
This is the first part. I will send a second one on Dalits and the stigma of untouchability and how they originated.
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