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Caste System in India Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in Hindi Language

Many of you might have heard about the caste system of India. Sadly yes, it is true that India has a caste based society. Though the castes are usually linked to Hindus but almost all religion in India are affected with it.

Caste system (जाति व्यवस्था – Jati Vyavastha) is one of the greatest evil of Indian society (भारतीय समाज – Bhartiya Samaaj). This system is over 3000 year old social stratification (विभाजन – Vibhaajan) system of the Indian society. In many ways, this system is the best example of severe social discrimination (भेदभाव – Bhedbhaav) as well as exploitation of a class (वर्ग – Varg) by other classes in a multi-class society. The discrimination was such severe that people from one class (upper caste) would not touch the people from another class (lower caste). These people of lower caste are usually termed as अछूत (Achut– Untouchable). Under constitutional laws such discrimination is illegal and punishable under law. However, such system does exist in present Indian society though the discrimination is not as severe as it used to be some 65 years ago, when the constitution of Independent India gave equal rights to each and every citizen of India.

But how such discriminatory system came into existence?

The caste system has its origin in the ऋग्वेद (Rig Ved), one of the oldest scripture of Hinduism. It describes these social classes which are called वर्ण (Varn). There is four basic varnas in the Indian society which are:

1. ब्राह्मण – Brahman – Priests, Teachers, etc
2. क्षत्रिय – Kshatriyas – Warriors
3. वैश्य – Vaishyas – Traders, Farmers etc
4. शूद्र – Shudras – Workmen

It was assumed that the Brahmin (Upper caste) will perform the task like rituals, teaching, etc. The Kshatriyas will perform the duty related to warfare. The Vaishyas will take care of economy. The Shudras will help above 3 castes. The system was a representative as to how the society should work. At some point of time, the 5th class was also added into the society which consist of out-caste (Chandala – banish from the society). The 4th and 5th class together make so called the lower caste.

In the same scriptures which talk about the classes also mention clearly that every person is born as शूद्र (Shudra) and based on this his education as well as occupation, he or she will elevates to any of four classes. However, at some of time, the system was made closed and the classes would be made hereditary. This is the point where the problem of caste based discrimination and exploitation started. Since then it has robbed the aspiration and potential of millions of people by forcing a non-voluntarily enslavement onto them.

To tackle this menace, soon after the independence of India in 1947, the Indian government has implemented the laws which give the equal status to every citizen (नागरिक – Naagrik) of India and at the same time, recognized the social stratification of Indian society. Commission as well as law has been passed and implemented for the welfare (कल्याण – Kalyaan) as well as protection against the caste based discrimination respectively. B. R. Ambedkar, a lower caste himself, from India is considered a pioneer in the field of uplifting the lives of Untouchables. He also wrote the constitution of India and envisaged the above-mentioned laws. The law has empowered the people from the lower caste to stand equal in social, academic and political sphere.

It was assumed that the laws will eradicate the caste system. But did it actually solve the problem? What about the mindset of present Indian society about the caste system? Have people mindset changed over the 65 years of Indian Independence? Why the issue related to Untouchables, the lower caste still clouds Indian society?

If you will ask any Indian about it, many will humbly accept it while claiming that the problem has been solved to greater extend with the present generation and the masses in urban cities. However, the matrimonial pages on each and every newspaper (समाचार – पत्र – Samaachar-Patr) will falsify such claims where people specify their caste and looking the partners with same caste as an inter-caste marriage (विवाह – Vivaah) is not allowed by the Caste based Indian society. News of atrocity (क्रूरता – Krurta) against the lower caste mass are quite common.

In my opinion, the caste based society has no relevance in the present time and because of its discriminatory conduct. Every person has a potential and every society must nourish it to evolve into a developed and civilized society.

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About the Author:Nitin Kumar

Nitin Kumar is a native Hindi speaker from New Delhi, India. His education qualification include Masters in Robotics and Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, he is working in the Research and Development in Robotics in Germany. He is avid language learner with varied level of proficiency in English, German, Spanish, and Japanese. He wish to learn French one day. His passion for languages motivated him to share his mother tongue, Hindi, and culture and traditions associated with its speakers. He has been working with Transparent Language since 2010 and has written over 430 blogs on various topics on Hindi language and India, its culture and traditions. He is also the Administrator for Hindi Facebook page which has a community of over 330,000 members.


Comments:

  1. sumit singh:

    caste system, huh please ye caste system ko to aaj tak humari goverement ne hi bnaye rakha hua hai reservation de ke main v ek upper cast se hu aur muj ye baat graduation main form bharte wakt pata chali ye jo discrimination ki baat hoti hai na ye sab usi wajah se hai aaj reseravation na hota to shayad jafi kam ho chuka hota ye caste sysytem kam se kam bade shahro main to jaroor .aur ye jo inter cast marriage ki baat ki to kaun sa same catigorey wale hi apne main shadi kar lete hai general wala v usmain bhi specifialy ek sir name se hi karta hai shadi aur sc st obc sab main yahi hota ye aapas main khu nahi karte to kya chahte hai kaise khtm hoga sab

  2. Vlad:

    Modern India has a new caste system. There are many new castes. Among them: MSc, PhD, MBBS, SWE, CCNA, MBA, BBA, BCE, etc. Indian matrimonial pages look almost indistinguishable from job ads: "A bride is wanted with a fair skin and a graduate degree in any technical field except IT". This new caste system is as destructive as the traditional one because most Indians now study in universities not in order to learn skills but to improve their status. If the Government ban this new caste system, I am sure that Indians will design some other caste system.

  3. Anil Abhimanyu Sharma:

    Do you know where this word "caste" comes from????????????? It is neither a Hindi word nor english, latin, greek......

    • Nitin Kumar:

      @Anil Abhimanyu Sharma It came from Latin word Castus . Obviously, you did not search for it but assumed that it has no origin.

  4. Anil Abhimanyu Sharma:

    Do you know who brought this word to India?

  5. Anil Abhimanyu Sharma:

    Caste has NOTHING to do with Jati my friend...

    • Nitin Kumar:

      @Anil Abhimanyu Sharma Jati is called Caste. You are confused with Varna, which means class. All caste in Shudra and Chandala Varna (class) is termed as the lower caste.

  6. Anil Abhimanyu Sharma:

    When you will know the origins of 'Jati' and 'Caste' you will know how many words have been imposed on Bharat... Have you seen what's written on your passport cover?

    • Nitin Kumar:

      @Anil Abhimanyu Sharma Just like Surya means Sun, in the same way Jati means Caste in English. It is called translation. Nothing is imposed, Caste system is more than 3000 year old. It is not brought by any invader. Also, all comments unrelated to the comment will be removed as it is not a personal blog.

  7. Anil Abhimanyu Sharma:

    I was not talking about 'the system'. I was talking about the word "caste". It does not mean Jati. That's all!

    • Nitin Kumar:

      @Anil Abhimanyu Sharma As I said, it is same. You can call it Jati (in Hindi) or Caste (in English), at least in the context of the Indian social system.

  8. THAKUR ABHISHEK SINGH:

    CASTE SYSTEM IS BED IDEA IS HUNDUS

  9. Dila Singh:

    Dear Sumit Singh & other friends.....mai aap logo se puchhna chahta hu ki jab manu ne manusmiriti mai char varna likhe thai kya us samay desh mai ye sarkare thi....jo aaj ho raha h ye sab usi ka natiza h aur iska sabse jyada asar yaha ke mulniwasiyon yani dalit par pada h..ye samaj sadiyon se bhugat raha h....Reservation se jati nahi bani h,Jati se reservation Bana h...

  10. Harbans Lal Badhan:

    Indian Caste system is more dangerous,cruel,barbarous, violent, hard, rigid, inhuman and harmful than any other kind of Racial discrimination or Slavery system. It (Indian Caste system)is an unnatural and unscientific man made system, made by the antisocial elements and the enemies of society and state. It (Indian Caste system) divides the society. It(Indian Caste system)is not only a social,economic,political and religious evil but also a mental disease and mental sickness. It (Indian Caste system) should be banned at any cost by Act of Parliament or by the Law of the State. Otherwise it (Indian Caste system) will spoil and kill the democratic institutions and secularism of any great civilization or state and society. It (Indian Caste system) will also slaughter the unity,peace and economic and scientific development and progress of state and society or civilized society. Indian Caste system is not only a devil but also a monster, who destroy the principle of equality, liberty and fraternity. It (Indian Caste system)is also an enemy of social justice, social equality and fundamental rights of an individual. To believe in Untouchability and Caste is not only a crime against humanity but also a violation of human rights of an individual. It(Indian Caste system) is more dangerous and harmful than chemical weapons. Indian Caste system is a great challenge and threat to global society.

  11. Pankaj Kumar:

    Mujhe cast system to aaj tak samjh nhi aaya mai bahut Granth Padh chuka hu.. Agar aap Hindu mante hai to Yug bhi mante hai. Yug change hota hai to duniya ka vinash(destroy) hota hai. agar satyug khatm hua aur dushra yug start hua..arthat satyug ka sabhi chij vinash ho gya. to akhir dushre yug ke aadmi ye kaise jaan gye ki satyug me ye hua tha. Ye maan lete hai ki likha hua hai grantho me. to aakhir us granth ki lipi kaise padhi gai. Mere reserch se ye laga ki castiesm name ki koi chij nhi hoti hai ye kuchh Aadmi se dushro ka shoshan krne k liye bnaya gya tha.. Mahabharat, Ramayan manu, everything man made..thats all.

  12. Harbans Lal Badhan:

    "The Untouchables (Dalits) of India want economic, social, political, religious and educational equality in society, not in the eyes of God' (Harbans Lal Badhan)

  13. Harbans Lal Badhan:

    Dr. Ambedkar is the heart and the brain of the Untouchables (Dalits) of India. (Harbans Lal Badhan)

  14. sonu:

    Very useful

  15. Viviana Dutra:

    Excellent source of information. Thank you!!!!

  16. sameer:

    caste ek headache ban chuka hai bekar ka development kha se ho ye caste ne saara game bigad rkha hai

  17. Piyush:

    Cast is not very important than the life. Life is a beautiful gift and I think we should enjoy it.

  18. Kumara:

    Yeh jati system is so harmful system and enemy of humanism...please i reqest you to avoid it...those who accept is so uneducated and fool,. To stop it..we should not write our surname & do marriages with other cast also...not to give importance to caste system

  19. Amit Aryan:

    Caste system is very wrong way go to india.. & may be not increase india for very strong region oF caste... I hope pls remove the caste system in india... Than may be increadeble india.... Thanks ALL oF you @@@

  20. Manish jangra:

    ye caste system ekdm khatam hona chiye......kuki hall hi me adampur block ge ek chhote se gaanv chuli kalan me Jaat dharm ke ek ladke ne khatri dharm ke bando ki upji hui fasal pe tractor chala diya ......or ye bilkul galat baat h bas farak yahi h ki is gaanv me jaat jyada h or khatri kam so hua na jatiwad.....wase m sabhi ko kahna chahta hu ki aap log reservation ki baaten kar rhe ho to sarkaar reservation de kis cheej ka jaato ko jaat to vase hi sir par chad jaate h dusri cast vaalo ke jinki population kam h .....or agar ek baar reservation mil gaya inko to ye log garib jati valo ko basne hi nahi denge

  21. Cutie:

    Hindu (body) four community: brahmin (head) kshatriya (arm) vaishya (belly) shudra (feet) All these four community called as hindu. We all are parts of one body. Without each part our body is not complete. If we lost one part of our body then we become handicap. The human body is the entire structure of a human being. Human Body is considered so loving that God even wants to have it. Spiritual Yogis have found that after going through the 84 millions species this souls get the most dignified human body. So it is the last step to explore the God or to get the view of almighty father god. We know that the soul never dies it takes birth again and again just like as we take new clothes to wear the soul as it takes new body and it is an infinite process. But the body what we get in next birth depend on our karma that thas been cited in Gita by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. We all here to perform our duties. Our action makes our destiny and nothing else. The result is in the hand of supreme power. Karma is the seed of plant and if the seed is genuine it must be fruitful.

  22. cutie:

    Inter caste marriage should be encourage..bcoz if people take this step then castesim and religion based discrimination should be stop itself..we all are human being..God never created any caste and religion..even God dnt has any caste and religion…did you know that God belong to which caste and religion..then keep shut your mouth about this stupid varan system and caste system okh.. In ancient times, caste system had the seeds of liberalism. It provided the right and opportunity to get to the top from the humblest origin and earn the respect of the whole society. For example, Vashishtha, the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the maker of the very Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman and he was not ashamed of his origin. Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards, the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India..And only you can make it good or bad this inter caste marriage. Depends upon how much importance u give to these meaningless and stupid values. And how much importance u give to other people who value these meaningless things. U have to see how much u urself r attached to other people opinions. And since u r asking for opinion, it means u r attached to these meaningless things.

  23. cutie:

    Whenever someone’s ask you about your caste then your answer should be to them is:I am a Brahmin in knowledge,I am kshatriya in valor,I am vaishya in business,I m shudra in service. In the end I am just sanatam dharmi hindu and nothing else..Then say you proud to be a hindu..can u tell me onething kya knowledge sirf brahmino ke paas hi hoti hai kshritya,vaishya,shudra or other religion duffer hote hai..or valor kya kshtriya hi hote hai jb log danger mein hote hai toh kya brahmin vaishya,shudra or other religion apni raksha nhi kr skta..or business sirf vaishya hi kr sakte hai kya brahmin kshtriya shudra business nhi kr skte..or shurda hi ko servant or labour kyun kre jb work ki zarurat hoti hai toh kya brahmin kshtriya vaishya servant ban jayenge toh unko muath aa jayegyi or other religion ko kaam ki zarurat hoti hai toh har chota bada kaam kr lete hai family ko palne ke liye…or who the hell we r yeh category banane wale…kisi ko uske religion caste se judge krne wale…or forcibly kisi ko work thopne wale…insaan wohi kaam krega jis mein uska interest ho or jo kaam krne ki capabilty uss mein ho….we r the one idiot katar hindu…killed the castesim before it killed u all..

  24. cutie:

    Always remember one thing in ur life when u abuse any lower caste by saying dalit n chamaar then u abusing yourself n ur own religion..bcoz if u accepted that hindu religion is one n hindu religion devided into four community like:brahmin,kshatriya,vaishya,shudra…shudra means pure (pure from soul n heart)..then let me remind u fourth community also come under hindu religion they are also hindu to whom u abuse as dalit n chamaar…so you are not abusing them but abusing yourself n your own religion too..

  25. cutie:

    “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Be a nice human being is important not to have a good or high religion and caste.We need to work towards uniting the nation instead of splitting it. Work towards a society in which there will be no lower castes and no upper castes. We need to respect the way people live instead of looking at where they were born. Here is only two caste in the world that is BOY & GIRL Someone said change yourself world will change automatically ..

  26. cutie:

    “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”

  27. Karan Raut:

    Jish din ye cast views khatam ho jayega ush din mai ye samjhunga ki ye country real mayne me AAjAD ho gye hai......

  28. Methali:

    indian society me upper caste and lower caste itna hai k hindu hote hue b koi proper hindu nahi hai.. upper caste k log lower caste se apne aap ko dur rakte hai aj b bhedh bhaw krte hai .. to fr wo b pure hindu kaha hue .. jo ek hindu hote hue dusre hindu ko lower mante hai .. agar hindu bana hai to pure hindu bano . khatam karo ye lower caste and upper caste plz .. warna mt kaho apne aap ko hindu

  29. Surjeet singh pippal:

    Aap log sabhi sahi kehte ho ye caste system sahi nhi h...but jo log ye sab bate bol rhe h wo ek dalit ko apne bhai ki tarah nhi ek tuccha najar se dekhte...or iska sabse bada example aap dekh bhi skte ho or rajana news paper m padte bhi honge...sabse jyada aatyachar kis castes ke logo pr hote h...aap sabhi log bol rhe h ki caste system band kr diya jaye ,..but aap logo n ye nhi btaya ki sambidhan se ya apne apne dimag se...mere pyre dosto agar hame apne bharat ko powerful bnana h to apne apne dimag se caste system ko ignore krna hoga...jai bheem namoh buddhay

  30. ankush:

    Jo log bolte hai ki cast system bnd ho jna chiye un hi logo ne isse bnya hi kis ved m likha hai ki lower cast walo ko padai ni krna chiye bramhan logo ne lower category walo k sath jo pehle kiya hi usi ki saja unhe aaj mil rhi hai or ye kehne se pehle history pado ki kaise miss use hota tha hum logo ka or abhi badi badi bate krte ho ki band kro cast system ni hoga band or hona b ni chiye. Jis mahan insan ne ye constitution bnaya hi kuch soch smjh k hi bnaya hogo. Jai bharat

  31. ruhi sharma:

    caste system ko government apne benefit ke liye badhawaa de rahi h, or apne aapko caste ke naam pr secure rkhne ke liye is caste system ko different differenr type ki policies se increase kr rhi h

  32. ruhi sharma:

    u r ryt surjeet singh ji ki game apne bharat ko powerful bnane ke liye apne dimag se caste system ko ignore krna hogaa or kuch aisa krna hogaa ki or log bhi is caste system ko apne development ke raste m naa aane de .

  33. Ullash:

    Dear all indians, Mera man se har mood pe ek quistion ati he ki "ye caste system india me kiun hua or kis udesya me hua or kon kon mahapurus ye caste system ko samarthan diya ????,......................

  34. arushi:

    Me caste system se bhut presan hu me intercaste marriage krna chahti hu or parents mera sath nhi de rhe I m very sad please koi to help kro meri


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