One of the major areas of dispute among social scientists working with South Asian material has been over what criteria enable one to isolate and define those characteristics attaching to the phenomenon of caste by which it can be described and analysed. Some scholars posit a set of fundamental attributes pertaining to caste which are so constituted as to limit caste solely to a Hindu context, while other scholars postulate a series of primary principles which permit comparative undertakings. One of the most vigorous and sophisticated proponents advocating the limiting of caste to the Hindu social system is Dumont. Dumont denies the validity of applying the term caste to non-Hindu social systems because for him the essential structural principle underlying caste is the polar opposition of purity and impurity. Hierarchy arises because of and is structured by this polarity. In turn, the requisite condition permitting the development of pure hierarchy is that ritual status and secular power must be conceived as completely separate domains and that status be made superior to power, the priest taking precedence over the ruler (Dumont 1972, p. 114). Caste exists only where this necessary disjunction between status and power is present and, furthermore, this disjunction is only found within the Hindu social system.