The Caste System in India
Sudras: The commoners
Sudra's were allowed to go into temples, but unable to wear holy scarfs. Occasionally it can be hard to tell Sudra's from Untouchables. These people worked menial jobs, and occasionally they were servants. These people could only marry others in the same caste, since if they married a higher caste, it would cause chaos in the world.
The untouchables, also called dalit were the lowest of the low in Indian society. They did the jobs that no one else was willing to do, such as street sweepers, and sewage cleaners. Nobody would hire you for a decent job if you were an untouchable, you would never be paid, and people wouldn’t even acknowledge you. They were the outcasts of the Indian culture. If you were a fisherman, killed or exposed dead cattle, “came or brought people into contact with emissions of the human body”, or ate the flesh of domestic cattle or chicken or pigs. Until new constitution were formed, there were many restrictions on the untouchables. The intensities of the restrictions varied from north to south India. In most cases they were segregated. They were forbidden to enter temples, schools, and wells where higher classes drank from. Their touch was seen as polluting to a member of a higher caste. In southern India, even the sight of untouchables was seen as pollution. They were forced to live nocturnally. These restrictions caused many people to convert over to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
The life as a vaisyas early on would be going to school and hands on learning the trade of farming and market. They also traveled a lot and needed to know different languages. For laws against a vaisyas usually they would have to pay money, but for murder regular laws apply. For living, they typically owned a farm and lived there. For religion they were allowed to wear sacred thread and practice freely unlike lower classes.
The Brahman were the highest ranking in society. They were mostly priests and made up less than 10% of society. The Brahmans’ duties were to provide advice to governing bodies and to offer priestly services, such as officiating weddings, funerals , and other celebrations. The Brahman were not only allowed to not eat cows, but any meat as well. They only ate the crops that they grew. One of the rules that Brahman had to follow was that they could not plow land or touch leather. Another major restriction that the Brahman had is that they were not allowed to consume alcohol. The Brahman had to remain pure because they were supposed to be an example for the citizen below them on the caste system.
The Kshatriyas hold the second highest ranking in a Hindu society. The Kshatriyas are made up of warriors and rulers. Their duties include governing, protecting, and defending the land. They specialize in Guerilla warfare and are said to have unwavering persistence. Kshatriyas are known to have multiple wives, some of a lower class. They may not eat beef but can eat other meats and are allowed to drink alcohol. Male Kshatriya children are symbols of masculinity and female children are supposed to be gentle and well-behaved. The Kshatriyas were the most important to society until the Brahman came along and now live a leisurely lifestyle.