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Maharashtra has two major factions of Brahmins: the Konkanasthas (or 'Chitpavans') and the Deshasthas. The former are traditionally situated along the coast, the Konkan; and the latter, on the Desh, or plateau inland. The Sahyadrikhand is a Sanskrit text that claims the supremacy of the Deshasthas over others, especially the Konkanasthas. It tells a story of the origins of the Konkanasthas that gives an etymology for 'Chitpavan.' It claims that as Parashurama was running around slaughtering Kshatriyas, he realized he needed to be cleansed of his 'sins' for killing. He went to the Brahmins on the Desh and asked them to do it. But they refused because, being above reproach, they refused to sell their services. So Parashurama wandered off to the shore, which at this time was the very edge of today's plateau (since the coast, etc., where Bombay is situated was then underwater). When he reached the shore, he came upon a shipwreck with no survivors. He took the corpses and burned them in a pyre (cita) and thus they were purified (pavana) and reborn as Brahmins. He then convinced these Brahmins to perform the proper rites to purify him. In exchange, the Brahmins demanded that Parashurama shoot an arrow out in to the sea: wherever it landed, that would mark the coastline. From the Desh to that arrow would be the domain of these new Brahmins. And this is how the Konkan was formed.

Chitpavan Brahmins naturally dislike this story! And in general the Sahyadrikhand is considered a highly sectarian and offensive document by Chitpavans. But it ties in with the long-held rivalry between these two dominant groups of Brahmins, and an awareness of this is a feature of Marathi public culture and lore.... Dr. Ambedkar would certainly have been aware that this text substantiates an age-long rivalry among Brahmins for legends and 'histories' that support the supreme status of one over the other. (—Note contributed by Professor Christian Novetzke, University of Pennsylvania)