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The Caste System In India Essay

1259 words - 5 pages

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The untouchables and the Caste System in IndiabyHong LiAsian HUM 2410Prof. Ed FrameSeptember 30, 2014IntroductionAt all times and in every society there are certain disadvantaged groups. They lag behind the mainstream of the society due to one reason or the other. In ancient India there developed a social system in which people were divided into separate close communities. These communities are known in English as 'caste'. The Indian Caste System is considered a closed system of stratification, which means that a person's social status is obligated to which caste they were born into. There are limits on interaction and behavior with people from another social status. My paper on Indian Caste System will be introduced of history of Indian Caste System and Untouchables, bad position and movement of untouchables, and modern life of untouchables.History of Indian Caste Systemthe caste system or varna-vayavastha, which has dominated Indian society for over 3000 years, was developed by Hinduism to maintain their superiority over less educated, less skilled and lower castes. Over the time, caste system was formalized into four distinct social groups called castes or varnas, which was organized in hierarchical manner. At the top of the social hierarchy were the Brahmins, who were considered arbiters in the matters of learning, teaching and religion. Next in the line of hierarchy have been the kshatriyas who were warriors and administrators. The third and fourth in the social hierarchy have been the vaisyas who constituted the commercial class and the shudras who have been the farmers and peasants, respectively. The four castes are socially and religiously important because they are said to have divine origin.UntouchablesIn addition to the varnas, there is a fifth class in Hinduism. It encompassed outcasts who, literally, did all the dirty work. They were referred to as "untouchables" or "Dalit" because they carried out the miserable tasks associated with disease and pollution, such as cleaning up after funerals, dealing with sewage, and working with animal skin. Brahmins were considered the embodiment of purity, and untouchables the embodiment of pollution. Physical contact between the two groups was absolutely prohibited. Brahmins adhered so strongly to this rule that they felt obliged to bathe if even the shadow of an untouchable fell across them. The Untouchables occupy a place that is not clearly defined by boundaries and is outside of the varna scheme. Their jobs (such as toilet cleaning and garbage removal) cause them to be considered impure and thus "untouchable." Historically the untouchables were not allowed in temples and many other public places. In 1950 legislation was passed to prevent any form of discrimination towards the untouchables. Although legislation has affected the status of the people, they are yet very much a visible part of Indian society.position and movement of untouchablesDuring thirteenth and fifteenth...

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