The Caste System
India's Social and Political Classes
Brahmans: The Priests
At the top of the social scale, they were seen as one step below gods. They were believed to be eternally perfect. They had many advantages because they were the religious speakers and they relayed the message of God to the people. Life as a priest was the best possible caste to be in in India. They had many privileges and were the supreme officials. They often interacted with each caste, save for the Untouchables.
Kshatriyas: The Warriors
The second highest caste consisted of soldiers, generals, and kings. It was their duty to study scripture and defend the society. They represented power and authority. Life in the Kshatriyas caste was particularly well, as they were a step below the Brahmans, which is the highest caste. They would mostly serve and interact with the priests. They were highly educated and given many privileges, also.
Vaisyas: The Commoners/Merchants
The Vaisyas caste was made up of merchants and other commoners, such as farmers. They were known for agriculture and trading activities. The were responsible for supplying food for the markets and keeping the trading system going. Life as a commoner or a merchant was hardworking, because of the work they had to do year-round to make a living. They interacted often with people of every caste with their trade.
Sudras: The Peasants, Artisans, Manual Labor
The Sudras caste was made up of peasants, artisans, manual labor, and basically their purpose was to serve the higher castes. The worked with agriculture, leather, disposal of garbage, and laundering. Their lives were also hardworking, as they were servants their entire lives to the other castes, excluding the Untouchables. They were one step up from the bottom, and they lived lives that were hard to do, like manual labor. The interacted rarely with people of other castes.
They were considered not human and inferior in every way. They were the lowest of the lows at the bottom of the social scale. They were seen as impure and not even a part of the caste system. They make u about 5% of the Indian population. Life as an Untouchable was extremely difficult and they performed the hard jobs that no one wanted. They rarely interacted with the people of other castes, as they were seen as vermin.