The Caste System
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>== How did the Caste System divide the Indian people? ==
"It is better to fulfill one's duty badly than to fulfill another's duty well." The vital element of Indian life is dedication to one's duty. The beginning of the caste system was in Hinduism, but it affected the entire Indian society. Religiously, the caste system is overall a simple division of society in which there are four castes assembled in a hierarchy and inferior to them the outcast. It was also the order or group into which a Hindu was assigned according to religious law.On the other hand, socially the system was more complicated, with a lot more castes and sub-castes and other divisions. The government legally prohibited the practice of caste system. Castes were established by occupations, religions, invaders, and income. They dictated everything from what the castes' people wore, to what they ate.
The Aryans split their society into separate castes. Castes were unchanging groups. A person born into one caste never changed castes or mixed with members of other castes. The caste system consisted of four major castes. The brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas,and shudras all had specific occupations in the Hindu society. The brahmins and kshatriyas were the priests and warriors, who were perceived as the upper castes, along with the merchant vaishyas. The shudras were the servants who were greatly mistreated and referred to as the "Untouchables."
Hindu philosophers believed that every creature in existence is created by the God, Brahma. Brahmins are thought to be originated from the mouth of Brahma to depict teacher groups. Kshatriyas are considered to be made from the arms of Brahma to symbolize warriors. Vaishyas were said to be created from the lap of Brahma to represent a mother feeding her offspring. Shudras are thought to be created from the feet of Brahma to symbolize a weight bearer. Thus, the Brahmins are the highest caste of society, followed by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. The major castes were proved to be true in the "Bhaagabad Geeta", one of the holy books of Hindu religion.
Kshatriyas were very scarce among the four castes, in contrast to the surplus amount of vaishyas. Many of them were enrolled in the army, while others were leaders in seperate ways. It was strictly forbidden for women to be warriors, yet they were permitted to be kshatriyas anyways. The vaishyas were farmers and traders who ran their own farms or businesses. Much of the Hindu people were in this caste.
The Untouchables were outside of the caste system. They were outcasts who had jobs that were considered "impure," or "polluted," such as grave digging,street cleaning, or converting animal hides into leather. Life, for them, was very brutal and restricted. Other castes were terrified that any contact with an Untouchable could pollute their villages. It was manditory for them to ostracize themselves from the other castes. They were even forced to sound a wooden clapper to make people aware of their approach. Many ancient Hindus believed that the Untouchables deserved this treatment. Hindus think that one is born to this caste because of bad karma they received in a previous lifestyle.
The caste system has greatly segregated India's people to this day, despite the fact that they all share the same beliefs and heritage. To illustrate, caste difference among doctors has developed a division within the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in Tamil Nadu. As a result, the IMA, has been facing problems, particularly caste-related, for sometime now.
The Caste System has been illegal in India for over fifty years, but it proceeds to shape people’s lives. The Indian government has given the "Harijans" (a term that is now popularly used in place of untouchables) with certain employment privileges, and granted them specific representation in the Indian parliament. Although they are treated more fairly, the Harijan still have fewer educational and employment opportunities than Indians from higher castes.
Although the system is now illegal all over the world, many people continue to consider their caste membership when making certain decisions in life. Obviously, their are major doubts that the caste system will be banished permanently, since many people still practice it in the inner-cities of India.
The caste system had a great affect on the Indian society. Despite the fact that it's one of the many types of segregation seen throughout India, it did have its beneficial qualities. For instance, it did establish a stable social order in the country for quite some time until an official government came into place. All of India's people played a role in their society and had certain jobs. The former caste members are now more tolerant of other castes and sub-castes' people, and the divisions in the society are gradually diminishing.
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