Understanding the caste system

This class will be conducted in English and the notes will also be provided in English. About this course Live Session This course consists of 1 session of 1 hour 30 mins duration.

Understanding the caste system

Varna Hinduism Varna literally means type, order, colour Understanding the caste system class [17] [18] and was a framework for grouping people into classes, first used in Vedic Indian society.

It is referred to frequently in the ancient Indian texts. There are four varnas but thousands of jatis. This view has been disputed by other scholars, who believe it to be a secular social phenomenon driven by the necessities of economics, politics, and sometimes also geography.

Caste The term caste is not originally an Indian word, though it is now widely used, both in English and in Indian languages. Ghurye wrote in that, despite much study by many people, we do not possess a real general definition of caste.

It appears to me that any attempt at Understanding the caste system is bound to fail because of the complexity of the phenomenon. On the other hand, much literature on the subject is marred by lack of precision about the use of the term.

His model definition for caste included the following six characteristics, [32] Segmentation of society into groups whose membership was determined by birth [33] A hierarchical system wherein generally the Brahmins were at the head of the hierarchy, but this hierarchy was disputed in some cases.

In various linguistic areas, hundreds of castes had a gradation generally acknowledged by everyone [34] Restrictions on feeding and social intercourse, with minute rules on the kind of food and drink that upper castes could accept from lower castes.

There was a great diversity in these rules, and lower castes generally accepted food from upper castes [35] Segregation, where individual castes lived together, the dominant caste living in the center and other castes living on the periphery.

This characteristic of caste was missing from large parts of India, stated Ghurye, and in these regions all four castes Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras did agriculture labour or became warriors in large numbers [39] Endogamyrestrictions on marrying a person outside caste, but in some situations hypergamy allowed.

Risley[45] and for fitting his definition to then prevalent colonial orientalist perspectives on caste. For example, for some early European documenters it was thought to correspond with the endogamous varnas referred to in ancient Indian scripts, and its meaning corresponds in the sense of estates.

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To later Europeans of the Raj era it was endogamous jatis, rather than varnas, that represented caste, such as the jatis that colonial administrators classified by occupation in the early 20th century.

The name stuck and became the usual word for the Hindu social group. This is a false terminology; castes rise and fall in the social scale, and old castes die out and new ones are formed, but the four great classes are stable.

There are never more or less than four and for over 2, years their order of precedence has not altered. Varna represents a closed collection of social orders whereas jati is entirely open-ended, thought of as a "natural kind whose members share a common substance.

Thus, "Caste" is not an accurate representation of jati in English. Better terms would be ethnicity, ethnic identity and ethnic group. Flexibility Sociologist Anne Waldrop observes that while outsiders view the term caste as a static phenomenon of stereotypical tradition-bound India, empirical facts suggest caste has been a radically changing feature.

The term means different things to different Indians. In the context of politically active modern India, where job and school quotas are reserved for affirmative action based on castes, the term has become a sensitive and controversial subject.

Understanding the caste system

Srinivas and Damle have debated the question of rigidity in caste and believe that there is considerable flexibility and mobility in the caste hierarchies. Perspectives There are at least two perspectives for the origins of the caste system in ancient and medieval India, which focus on either ideological factors or on socio-economic factors.

The first school focuses on the ideological factors which are claimed to drive the caste system and holds that caste is rooted in the four varnas.

This perspective was particularly common among scholars of the British colonial era and was articulated by Dumont, who concluded that the system was ideologically perfected several thousand years ago and has remained the primary social reality ever since. This school justifies its theory primarily by citing the ancient law book Manusmriti and disregards economic, political or historical evidence.

It believes caste to be rooted in the economic, political and material history of India. Hartcentral aspects of the later Indian caste system may originate from the ritual kingship system prior to the arrival of Brahmanism, Buddhism and Jainism in India. The system is seen in the South Indian Tamil literature from the Sangam perioddated to the third to sixth centuries CE.

According to Hart, it may be this model that provided the concerns with "pollution" of the members of low status groups. The Hart model for caste origin, writes Samuel, envisions "the ancient Indian society consisting of a majority without internal caste divisions and a minority consisting of a number of small occupationally polluted groups".Understanding The Caste System In India Caste system is one aspect of Hinduism that has attracted a lot of criticism in the modern era.

It is understandable too, as a large number of people are discriminated and treated unfairly because of such an arrangement. India's caste system is among the world's oldest forms of surviving social stratification.

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The BBC explains its complexities. The system which divides Hindus into rigid hierarchical groups based. Published: Mon, 5 Dec In terms of social organization, India is often regarded as unique for its longstanding caste system. However, academic work on the subject has long suffered due to a misguided rendering of the relation between caste, class, identity, and politics.

The caste system in India is the paradigmatic ethnographic example of yunusemremert.com has origins in ancient India, and was transformed by various ruling elites in medieval, early-modern, and modern India, especially the Mughal Empire and the British Raj. It is today the basis of educational and job reservations in India.

It consists of two different concepts, varna and jati, which may be regarded as. Many Westerners have heard of India’s caste system, but a thorough understanding of its ins and outs is still relatively uncommon. The following sections reveal the nitty-gritty of the caste system.

Broadly speaking, a caste system is a process of placing people in occupational groups. It has. The caste system in India is the paradigmatic ethnographic example of caste. It has origins in ancient India, and was transformed by various ruling elites in medieval, early-modern, and modern India, especially the Mughal Empire and the British Raj.

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