The Caste System

(Group 3) 13-14

The Caste System

There are four steps, five if you count the untouchables. There are the Bhramin, Kshatryia, Vaishya, Sudra, and the untouchables.

The Bhramin

The Brahmans are the highest ranking of the four Varnas, or social classes, in Hindu India. Because of their high prestige and tradition of education, Brahmans influenced even secular affairs. Brahmans influenced even secular affairs. Brahmans are made up of priests and scholars of Vedic literature and their traditional; occupation is to concern themselves with the spiritual guidance of the people, conduct rites at marriages, births, deaths and other auspicious occasions.

The Brahmin's traditional occupation is that of a priest. Brahmins have a variety of occupations. In Orissa, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh, many Brahmin own land and practice agriculture, but an increasing number are also in whit-collar jobs, government service, business, household industry and astrology.

The Kshatriyas

The Kshatriyas were the second highest class, The name is derived from the words meaning "power" and "ruler". This is well named because the members of this class were rulers and warriors. They were in charge of governing communities while not in battle.

This class had many privileges such as being able to eat meat ,excluding beef, and being able to have alcoholic beverages. The members of this class were surrounded by palaces, multiple wives or concubines, fine horses and falcons, and the pleasures of cooked meat. The children born into this class were extensively educated in statecraft and history to insure that they were well prepared to rule the community.

The Vaishya

The Vaishya were the third highest caste. They were usually the merchants who engaged in commerce. They were in charge of agriculture and other farm-like activities. They maintained trade and commerce. Their work is self explanatory, they do a lot of trading and farming.

The Sudra

The Sudra consisted of commoners, peasants, and servants. Most of the Indian population falls here. They were the working class of India. They carried out the everyday jobs, like farming. Servants helped the priests with certain tasks. They did tasks that involved "pollution," like agriculture and leather working. Many Sudras became wealthy farmers over time.

The Untouchables

The untouchables were the lowest class in the Caste System. They were deemed less than human and were given the jobs that were disliked. This caste is also referred to as the Dalits. Today over 160 million people are in this caste.

Although "untouchability" was outlawed in 1950, the caste members still face discrimination. 90% of all poor Indians and 95% of all illiterate Indians are Dalits. In 2000, 25,455 crimes were committed against the untouchables. The statics show how hard of a life these people still face. Every two hours two Dalits are assaulted, every three days three Dalit women are raped, two Dalits are murdered, and two Dalit homes are torched.