Mr Shivel (Brahmin of Bombay).
Photographer: Bourne and Shepherd
Medium: Photographic print
Head-and-shoulder vignetted carte-de-visite portrait of a Brahmin, or priest, one of a series of prints of ethnic types and occupations taken by Bourne and Shepherd 1870s. Early Hindu society was divided into four classes, Brahmins (priests), followed by Kshatriyas (rulers & warriors), Vaishyas (traders and farmers) and shudras (servants and labourers) and below them the outcast. This gradually ossified into a rigid caste system without professional or social mobility. Today the government disallows the practice of the caste system but has a policy of affirmative action for the backward classes.