60 SOCIAL SCIENTIST
Not all Brahmins are landowners, nor are all landowners Brahmins. The typical Brahmin in Sripuram, is, nonetheless, a mirasdar, and it is he who sets the pattern for others to follow..."5
The generic term, 'Non Brahmins', is a misnomer history cally. Beteille himself, when he is typifying castes, remarks thai "among the Non-Brahmins it admits of numerous exceptions since there are both landowners and agricultural labourers among .them, and also there are Non-Brahmim of artisan and servicing castes who do not directly engage in agriculture." Gough uses a more useful classification, aristocratic castes, tenant farmers and specialized village servants and craftsmen and traders of the town.6 The salient feature of this characterization is that Non^Brahmins are not only differentiated by class features, as Beteille would have us accept, but that within the caste system itself these different sections of the Non-Btahmins are qualitatively distinct.
The 'aristocratic castes' have earlier been mentioned. The fact that these castes do not have monopoly over Brahmlmcal religion as expressed in exclusive rights of worship, has historically made a difference in their social organization as opposed to the Brahmins. But the dominant ideology has had its impact on this section of landowners as well. The Gazetteers describe the VettaUts as more orthodox than the Brahmins in religious observances. Beteille, too, observes that some well-to-do VellaUr and Kallar landowners have appropriated to themselves the ritual ban on tftlmg the land, which the BrahmiAs claittied as their birthrigHt.
'Sanskritization5 is too ambiguous and general a characterization of this process. There is a fundamental distinction between castes which acquire such customs in their life-style because they share, or have begun to share, certain other important characteristics with Brahmin landowners (such as those caste Hindus who were landlords in an economy where Brahmin landlordism was predominant) and castes which change their traditional life-style, when their opportunities in life have changed, because the socio-economic situation has changed.7 In the former category we would find the 'caste Hindu9 ofThanjavur, who over time dave influenced agrarian i^elatioris by monopolizing land in certain areas, just as the Brahmins hav6 historically donej This is no^ merely, a question of sharing power. The problem of a historical analysis of haw cwste has influenced agrarian relations remains. Th» important reality of emerging—that is, over a fairly long period of time—social characteristics of sections of the landlord cta$&, must be studied. BeteiUe's crude coaicoydance Iwstwicen tbe^ .Brahmin castes and the landlord class pre^-enlpts the possibility of studying