Brahmin For Hire

A Brahmin in traditional dress posing for photographs.

A Brahmin in traditional dress posing for photographs.

We ran across this colorful fellow while visiting the temple complex of Jehangir Mahal in the city of Orchha, India. Where ever there are tourist destinations in India you will be swarmed by beggars, people selling trinkets (made in China) and some posing for portraits. This fellow was one of the more colorfully adorned “Brahmin” we saw. I put the word in parenthesis because I have no idea if was was of the Brahmin cast or not? India is an interesting place where a good deal of what you see is in fact not what it is. Most of the Brahmin  (a class/caste in Hinduism, working as priests, teachers  and followers/protectors of sacred texts across generations) are often set out among themselves practicing yoga, meditating or teaching. I saw many men dressed up and asking for a few coins after we took their shots. So whether or not this guy was legit or not, he looked great and was worth a shot and a few bucks.

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3 thoughts on “Brahmin For Hire

  1. Great shot and interesting narration. Yes I agree. Anybody can become a Brahmin by copying the attire so as to look holy. My understanding is one has to be born Brahmin and strictly follow the vedic tradition, the most difficult of all.

    • Yes, you are of course correct, one has to be born into a caste to be part of it in India. Our guide was of the highest caste and explained to us in great detail the benefits and downfalls of the caste system. He was also the one that pointed out to us that this fellow in the shot was not a Brahmin. Our trip consisted of 12 college students studying the culture and history of India and it was fascinating! I would say that almost all of them were quite upset with the caste system in India and the lack of freedom of choice. Since most of my students were female, they thought that not being able to choose their own husbands especially terrifying.

      • Thanks for your reply .Study of culture from different parts of the world is a wonderful subject.More so in India since the culture system here is both shock & Awe.Most of the times we try to take good from it and avoid bad aspects. The girlds here have a very linited choice,especially in rural areas. Thanks again.

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