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The Caste System

Steffi Behag, Sam Co, Andy Kim Mabel Parco, Alexandria Senson

Introduction / Rationale
The caste system, the hidden apartheid, was originally a method of keeping the Aryan bloodline pure from Dravidians by avoiding intermarriages and dividing jobs per caste for specialization. But, It has changed into a socio-economic stratification for Indian society.

DETRIMENTS of Caste System


No interaction among different castes. Limitation of jobs. Discrimination of outcastes or Dalits.

Basic Concepts and Related Concepts


Caste System
- a social structure used to designate any social class of extreme rigidity. It is composed of four varna or classes, and from this, a rank-order of different subcastes or jati was formed.

Brahmins
- The first and the highest class; intellectuals of the nations such as landowners, scholars, and priests. - They are not allowed to do any job of lower castes. They may receive things from lower castes, but they dont give anything in return to them.

Kshatriyas
- A class directly follows Brahmins; mostly rulers and warriors. They manage the land, military service, and administration. - They practice strict caste endogamy, marrying only within their caste.

Vaisyas
- The third class composed of traders, shopkeepers, moneylenders, farmers, and artisans; Trading and banking. - typically stricter in observing their dietary rules and avoiding any kind of ritual pollution.

Sudras
- The fourth class composed of laborers, craft-workers, servants and slaves. - Classified into two: Clean and Lower

Clean Sudras
- Endogamous peasant castes; free to intermarry and are allowed more freedom in social relations.

Lower Sudras
- Those with very specialized but less respected professions such as those of potters, blacksmiths, carpenters, weavers, etc.

Dalits
- People who dont belong to any of the 4 castes; Outcastes. They are limited to menial or even polluting jobs. - They are not allowed to share anything with the upper castes.

Karma
- A belief that man obtains or reaps in his next rebirth what he has planted or sown in his previous existence. Along with the belief of reincarnation, Hindus believe that if they fulfill the roles of their present castes, they will be reincarnated into a higher caste.

Historical Development

No commonly approved origin/history that explains the formation of Indian caste system. Common belief: the caste system was formed during the period of migration of Indo-Aryans to the Indian subcontinent.

RIGVEDIC PERIOD

More flexible than todays caste system; it was even possible to change the castes if necessary.

POST-VEDIC PERIOD

The caste system became more rigid/ stricter.

EFFECTS of Caste System


Social example)Banning of inter-caste marriages. Political example)Domination of higher castes in Indian government Economical example)Limitation of jobs/occupations

CHALLENGES against Caste System

Formations of pro-equality religions such as Buddhism. International movements led by organizations such as United Nations. Laws issued by the Constitution of India.

BRITISH COLONIZATION PERIOD


Encouragement of the British on the caste privileges and customs. Disapproval of discriminations against the lower castes.

Impact on Present and Future

Rigidity and strictness in urban areas are weakened due to better implementation of laws. Discrimination of lower castes is still common in rural areas. The Caste System which has a long history of discrimination, is difficult to be taken out of ones life.

International Community

United Nations (UN) is set to declare the caste system as a human rights abuse.

Efforts of Indian Government

The Outlawing of the use of untouchablity/Dalits. Usage of affirmative action, or positive discrimination.

Nowadays, due to the efforts of the government and the international society, people from different castes have their own share in the society, and therefore they can ensure proper representation in the state.

Conclusion/Analysis

Different kinds of societies, not only Indian society, have/had discrimination and its own caste system. Examples of different Caste Systems Spanish colonization of the Philippines Slavery of the African-Americans in the United States of America

Since the other societies have been successful in lessening the discrimination due to Caste System, it shows/implies that it is possible for the Indian society to do the same. However, it might harder for the Indian society, since it has a long history of practicing the system.

Though it will take a long time, it is still possible for the society to lessen the discriminations as long as the new generations that are responsible of the future, keep the principles of freedom and respect for others, in mind.

References
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Daniel, A. (2005). Caste system in modern india. Retrieved from http://adaniel.tripod.com/modernindia.htm Herald, M.W. (2009, September 30). UN moves to declare caste system and abuse. Retrieved from http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/un-moves-to-declare-castesystem-an-abuse-20090929-gb3c.html Jayaram, V. (2009, October 10). The Hindu Caste System. Retrieved from http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/h_caste.asp Jayaram, V. (2009, October 11). Caste system is the biggest threat to hinduism . Retrieved from http://www.hinduwebsite.com/history/caste.asp Majumder, P.P. (2009, October 00). Indian Caste origins. Retrieved from http://genome.cshlp.org/content/11/6/931.full Rav, . (2008, December 22). How was the caste system and the social classes created. Retrieved from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081129124903AAguHEA Ross, K.L. (2001). The caste system and the stages of life in Hinduism. Retrieved from http://www.friesian.com/caste.htm Rotto, R. (1997). Caste system . Retrieved from http://internet.cybermesa.com/~rotto/caste.html Sharma, S.C. (2008, January 2). Hindu Caste System & Hinduism.. Retrieved from http://www.geocities.com/lamberdar/_caste.html