Discuss The Caste System In India . How Did It Work? Why Was It Developed? What Was A Woman's Role In Society? How Did The System Fit With The Teachings Of Buddhism And Hinduism? What Overall Effect Did The Caste System Have On Society?


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The origins of the Caste System in India are loosely based on the country's history and folklore. However, those in the academe are of the opinion that the Indian Caste System stem from the ancient tribal and work-related membership and affiliations which develop over India's history.

The Caste System in India is defined by social restrictions and interactions among the members of each caste. The caste in India comes in this order:

• Brahmins or the scholars, teachers and fire priests.
• Kshatriyas or the rulers and warriors.
• Vaishyas or those who work in farms like herders and farmers. It also includes businessmen and bankers.
• Shudras or the artisans, craftsmen and laborers.
• Untouchable or the outcast or the out of caste. They are also known as Pariah. Foreigners and nomads as well as the chandalas were all untouchable. This means that those belonging to the upper caste would not touch or socialize with those in the lower caste. From these castes, sub castes were also developed.

The Bhakti school believed that the caste was created by Krishna. This is in accordance with the types of the nature and work of the people. Tradition shows that political power resides on the Kshatriyas, while trade and commerce is the expertise of the Vaishyas and Shudras, and the Brahmins were the interpreters and guardians of Dharma. These made these castes all powerful and were given advantages in society.

Modern Sociologists states that it may be described as anachronistic in view of our modern society. But this is not the case when the earliest caste system in India was developed. During those times, it is a means of social order and the division of labor. The castes were mutually inter-dependent among each other and shaped the security of their community. Similarly, recent study shows that most of the people during the earlier times were satisfied with their respective caste or groups.

The Caste System of India shows that women can move up in the system. This is because women can marry higher caste men. Meanwhile the men, as a general rule cannot move upward. The reason for this is there are only few instances where women will marry men from the lower castes.

The Caste System of India was legally abolished in the 1960s. However, due to age-old biases and prejudice, discrimination is still visible in the Indian society. Many experts believe that although the system is eradicated in the social standings of the people, it is clearly etched in their minds, which reinforces their longstanding pre-conceived notions.

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