ETHNOLOGY AND CASTE1
THE modern science of ethnology endeavours to define and Thedata of
classify the various physical types with reference to their ethnology.
distinctive characteristics, in the hope that, when sufficient
data have been accumulated, it may be possible in some
measure to account for the types themselves, to determine the
elements of which they are composed, and thus to establish
their connexion with one or other of the great families of
mankind. In India, where historical evidence can hardly be
said to exist, the data ordinarily available are of three
kinds: physical characters, linguistic characters, and religious
and social usages. Of these the first are by far the most trust-
For ethnological purposes, physical characters may be said Indefinite
to be of two kinds: 'indefinite,' which can only be described pharscaters
in more or less appropriate language; and 'definite,' which
admit of being measured and reduced to numerical expression.
The former class, usually called descriptive or secondary
characters, includes such points as the colour and texture of the
skin; the colour, form, and position of the eyes; the colour and
character of the hair; and the form of the face and features.
Conspicuous as these traits are, the difficulty of observing,
defining, and recording them is extreme. Colour, the most
striking of all, is perhaps the most evasive.
The skin of the Indian peoples exhibits extreme divergences Colour of
of colouring. At one end of the scale we have the dead black skin.
of the Andamanese, and the somewhat brighter black of the
Dravidians of Southern India. At the other end one may
place the flushed ivory of the traditional Kashmiri beauty, and
the very light transparent brown-' wheat-coloured' is the
common vernacular description-of the higher castes of
Northern India, which is hardly darker than that met with in
' This chapter has been abridged, with the assistance of the author, from
the chapter on 'Caste, Tribe and Race' contributed by Mr. H. H. Risley,
C.S.I., C.LE., to the Report on the Census of India, 190o.