“The basis of this resistance lay in the village, and its distinct form of community: the jati. These groups, numbering in the thousands, were governed by strict rules of endogamy and by taboos about purity, and arranged a social hierarchy: varna. The precise ideological sources of this system are obscure, but elements may be traced to one of the very late hymns of the Rig Veda, which describes the dismemberment of the cosmic giant Purusha, the primeval male whose sacrifice created the world: 'When they divided the Man, into how many parts did they apportion him? What do they call his mouth, his two arms and thighs and feet?/ His mouth became the Brahmin; his arms were made into the Warrior (kshatriya), his thighs the People (vaishiya), and from his feet the servants (shudra) were born.' The resulting intricate filigree of social interconnections and division -- a hierarchical order of peerless sophistication -- defies any simple account Perplexed Westerners came to describe it by the term 'caste', but a wide distance separates the deceptively well-defined doctrinal claims of the caste order and the actual operations of what is an essentially local, small-scale system.�?