Hindu Ideology Of Purity & Pollution In Dumont's Book "Homo-Hierarchicus"

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Dumont in his book “homo-hierarchicus” is indicating that the caste system is a product of Hindu ideology of purity and pollution. The ideology is a pervasive, universal hence as profoundly present in the minds of literates that significantly present in mind of illiterates. As per the Dumont the caste is an institution unique Hindus and he is very critical of scholars who regard it as yet another form of social stratification. According to Dumont caste divides the entire Indian society into a bigger number of hereditary groups distinguished from one another .He discovered that there was no classes below this called to be the untouchables.

Caste and varnas are to be understood with relationship of hierarchy and strength. He has made a disjunction between the ritual status and the secular power which includes the political and economic power. There’s the subordination of the political and economic standards of the social stratification to that of the ritual status in Dumont’s version. According to Dumont ,Riley define caste as a collection of families bearing a not unusual name claiming a common descent from a mythical ancestor professing to follow the same hereditary calling and regarded by means of individuals who are ready to give an opinion as forming a single homogeneous community.


Louis Dumont starts his examine by means of framing the important questions of the individual, society, equality, and hierarchy in the study of caste. Through this introductory reference to the Victorian evolutionary ideas of the ‘unity of mankind,’ Dumont demonstrates his Maussian and Durkheim an influences to study hierarchy to reveal larger ‘elementary aspects’ of society. Furthermore, Dumont’s introductory chapter demonstrates his comparative approach that contains on during the work; instead of a focused historic study of Indian caste, Dumont examines social relations and hierarchy a good way to make theoretical comparisons and conclusions. That is maximum evident in his query of the individual. Dumont argues that ‘traditional’ societies emphasize society as an entire, collective man, and the way individuals in shape inside order and hierarchy. In the meantime ‘modern-day’ societies emphasize the individual as the “indivisible elementary man.”

The concept of the man or woman is center to the development of Dumont’s analysis on equality and hierarchy. Dumont argues that hierarchy emerges from a consensus of values and ideas and is important to social lifestyles. On this way, hierarchy exhibits elementary aspects of society since “hierarchy encompasses social agents and social classes. Dumont defines caste as a pan-Indian institution, a “system of ideas and values, a proper, comprehensible rational system.” most significantly, he explains how caste groups are distinguished from and related to each other through separation of matters of marriage and contact, division of labor, traditions, and professions, and hierarchy ranking groups as relatively superior or inferior to each other. Dumont argues that this last component of hierarchy is the most important and is manifested in the separation between the pure and impure.

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Expanding on the concept of hierarchy, Dumont distinguishes among Western ideas of hierarchy as revolutionary subordination and Indian theories of hierarchy. As opposed to hierarchy resting upon western thoughts of linear power and authority, Dumont connects Indian hierarchy to religious values, the four varnas, and the relationship to the complete. Construction of McKim Marriott’s interactional theories of rank, Dumont states that hierarchy is the “principle by way of which the factors of an entire are ranked in relation to the whole.” Dumont later expands upon the idea of the hierarchy and relationship to the whole in his example of the jajmani system.

Dumont describes the ‘Jajmani System’ now not as economics, however as a hereditary system of labor and relationships, of prostrations and counter-prostrations. Dumont explains that the system is “based on an implicit connection with the whole, which, in its nature, is spiritual, or if one prefers, a matter of ultimate values.” But Dumont does no longer disregard concepts of politics and power in its entirety and disaggregates the authority between and inside caste groups. Religious authority, Dumont argues, rests inside the hands of the Brahmans and temporal authority within the hands of kings, judges, and law of dharma. Moreover, the unit of the village has intricate, plural kinds of authority as opposed to simply linear.

The conclusion chapter returns to the possibility to evaluate and export the idea of caste to other societies. Dumont reminds the reader that throughout the book, he had attempted to understand the indigenous concepts, values, and ideas of social businesses and social records, “bound collectively in a structural complete.” Moreover, he had related caste to Hindu ideals about pure and impure. Dumont reasserts the distinction among caste and ‘social stratification’, in which the idea of caste is tied deeply to the relationship between status and power.


Dumont’s work is primarily based on conventional Indian Texts. Consequently, the functions of the caste system, as projected by using Dumont, seem to be unchanging. In truth, the caste system has modified in various approaches in the course of a time frame. Dumont has been condemned on the ground that he’s constantly worried about the system coordination and system maintenance than with change Even Dumont becomes criticized for his thoughts on Purity and pollution, as they’re not universal. Dumont thinks that existing analyses of the caste system are highly unsatisfactory as they not only confound it with social stratification but offer a dualist interpretation.


Dumont’s Homo Hierarchicus here Homo Hierarchicus way studying the caste hierarchy and hegemony nature of lower castes to which they observe the conduct of higher castes. The same concept was termed as Sanskritization by using M.N Srinivas. Homo Hierarchicus gives new ideas and vision of social structure within the caste system. He thinks Indian civilization is the set of thoughts and values used to unify. India civilization became visible to create solidarity. It changed into stated that it was precise in opposition to evil.

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Hindu Ideology Of Purity & Pollution In Dumont’s Book “Homo-Hierarchicus”. (2020, July 15). WritingBros. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/hindu-ideology-of-purity-pollution-in-dumonts-book-homo-hierarchicus/
“Hindu Ideology Of Purity & Pollution In Dumont’s Book “Homo-Hierarchicus”.” WritingBros, 15 Jul. 2020, writingbros.com/essay-examples/hindu-ideology-of-purity-pollution-in-dumonts-book-homo-hierarchicus/
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