I have read the critical responses to my letter that appeared on January 11. I never dismissed the scientific claims made in the article “Caste system: an indigenous invention in South India?” (Jan. 10). I just wanted to point out that there is a difference between castes and groups, and between the varna system and group living. A reader has described my argument as an outcome of Dravidian ideology (Jan. 14). This is unfortunate and ridiculous. How can the mention of a fact reiterate an ideology?
In my previous letter, I used the word “right wing extremists.” A reader has wrongly associated the words with the authors of the research paper. Many research papers are prone to manipulation and misinterpretation by right wing (and left wing) extremists, which is why I used the words. I wish to reiterate that caste and varna were based on the concept of ‘purity’ in the name of occupation.