Devika

For World Problems - My Views,My Opinions and My Solutions

What is Caste System in India ? Why Caste System and Caste Prejudice isn't same ?

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I recently went to Caste System in India in Past Lecture in London and I was fuming after I came out and I had made mental note to write this post. Not because we are inherently prejudice and we hold it towards everyone but because India gets singled out as "Poster child " of world's problem. Fortunately or Unfortunately work came in between and I forgot to write. Here it goes while I am somewhat bit calmer.

This is post for people who do not live in India and who do not understand Caste System.
For People who think they are treated unfairly due to Caste System.


Firstly what is Caste System ?

From Wikipedia.

The caste system in India is a system of social stratification[1] which has pre-modern origins, was transformed by the British Raj,[2][3][4][5]and is today the basis of reservation in India. It consists of two different concepts, varna and jāti, which may be regarded as different levels of analysis of this system

Varna may be translated as "class," and refers to the four social classes which existed in the Vedic society, namely BrahminsKshatriyas,Vaishyas and Shudras.[6] Certain groups, now known as Dalits, were historically excluded from the varna system altogether, and are still ostracised as untouchables.


Caste System in India only stratified more when British ruled the country. Indain Brahmins never had troupes or they made slaved to Dalits like some ancient society.



Currently Caste System outside India has a very bad reputation and somewhat morally wrong to have a Caste itself. When you Google Caste System there are many articles for India. I didn't had to even type India.

The picture of Caste System portrayed by Western Media that it is of an ongoing oppression and
people are mistreated and way out is to marry someone outside  due to it is plain wrong.
In ancient times many societies apart from Indian were divided.




There are many things one should keep in mind.

Firstly the word CASTE isn't Indian. It comes from Portugal.
This was bought by British colonization of India.

In Hindu Literature there is no such word as Caste and there are words like Varna and Jati.

Also From Wikipedia :

Varna (वर्ण) is a Sanskrit word which means type, order, colour or class


As you would see from this word it can mean several thing however it doesn't mean Class only or especially Economic Class as stated in previous definition of Varna or as definition of Western or Catholic Protestant Society view.

However Class is more prominent word in Western and especially British Society as it defines somebody's income status. Class dictionary meaning

the system of ordering a society in which people are divided into sets based on perceived social or economic status.






There is no social mobility in some Class driven Society like Britain. The reason is there is a Royal Queen who would always be Queen and their Family would always be Upper Class. Princess Diana was once in a lifetime opportunity who became from Lower Class to Upper Class.


This isn't the case in Indian Society there is lot more Social Mobility. There was always lot more Social Mobility. We never had Pyramid Structure which Western Society has or liked to portray.

It doesn't mean British gave us our country but they help with confusion and mess they had created in past and today they are asking whether it is morally correct to distinguish or discriminate on caste ?

I would like to ask whether we like it or not is it right to discriminate based on how much money someone make ?

Within India view is that common people do not ask somebody's caste or realize whether they are being discriminated or not. It is somewhat non existent. India has diversity and always had diversity even before British came. There was no one big ruler or common law to govern everyone and that was because we believe in diversity and we always will.  




Not to say Caste System is non-existent now as Dalits or Untouchables have Reservation.
 They do not want to be classified as Dalits or Untouchables but are still looking for Reservation. I am sure there has been oppression and I have greatest respect for Leader like Ambedkar however Reservations it makes them - they want their cake and eat it too !

Let us talk about Varna and Jati. I believe it was group of people deciding to do something and in Indian Society it was never restrictive where Blacksmith son needed to be Blacksmith. Woodcutter Son needed to be Woodcutter.

Group exists in every society and there are many groups or so called charitable trusts which help in India and abroad based on their Surnames.

When people took their Surnames from their Parents they inherited that group and relations.

However If you do not like your name. Change it ! It is easier than you think.
Most people wouldn't even do that as they would be afraid to loose their group.

True Meaning of  Hindu Caste System



Apart from all the confusion and arguments on Western view on Indian Society and Caste System I would like to clarify the pure Hinduisms teaching / meaing of Varna and why they existed ?

We always need people for a society to run a person who can clean and person who can make decisions and be made responsible manager. At the end of the day that's how accountability works.

There should be another debate whether a person who is cleaner should be paid same wage as a manager or not. We all need somebody to blame at the end of the day.

Whether egalitarian society where everyone is equal and paid equal would work.
Unfortunately some countries in Europe tried that and they failed.




That is when whether one person who is smarter than rest should be rewarded or not ?
It is Group v/s Individual Success matters. Would you be happy to be paid same as somebody who was ten times stupider than you ?

Indian Value is of Respecting people as they are and that Caste System Stratifies and discriminates actually is opposite of our values. Everyone gets what they are given and we have to work towards being better at it. It might seem not equal and unfair but so is the whole world.

Choice is yours do you sit and feel sorry about it or whether you take it on your stride and work towards your goal ?

Where your family is the beginning and what you make out of it is upto you. Those are Indian Values and it clashes from Western Value of Fairness, Just and Common Law.

Just like your colour or race shouldn't stop you from doing things so shouldn't your Caste.



Like every part of the body is important in the same way it was important to have different types of people to run the society. It talks about interdependence and not hiearchy.

There are occasional cases which makes generalization of entire society in India.

Immigrants are in some way Untouchables in abroad we joke and like Racism whether it exists or not? That is one reality or one can think they can think that infact they can do whatever they want as they have an advantage of not being in system that is another reality.

When asked what is your Ethnic Background do you tick the box or not ? By asking somebody's Ethnic Background are you Racially Discriminating them ?

Caste System exists but Caste Prejudice doesn't exist in India.
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