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class of people in India generally considered to be outcastes and untouchables. According to the ancient law code the Manu-smrti, the class originated from the union of a Brahmin (the highest class within the varna, or four-class system) woman and a Sudra (the lowest class) man. The term is also used in modern times for a specific caste of agriculturists, fishermen, and boatmen in Bengal, more usually referred to as Namasudra. Some scholars consider the origin of the Namasudra to be an aboriginal tribe from the Rajmahal Hills in Bihar

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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