By Kevin P., Conor M, Sam M., Bayne N.
The Brahmans are the highest class of the caste system. They are known as the priestly class. They are made up of priests and scholars. Their traditional occupation is to concern themselves with the spiritual guidance of others, and conduct rites at marriages, births, deaths, and other special ceremonies. Though, they can do any occupation they want. The Brahman are also very involved in politics and many of the Brahman have government jobs. The Brahman often lived apart from the rest of society in temples. Brahmans typically said prayers three times a day, and were vegetarians. They are known for discriminating against the lower classes. They can own land and it is mostly inherited from their parents equally to the sons only.
The Kshatriyas were the royals and warriors of the Hindu caste system. They also have to maintain order throughout the empire. They’re the second highest social class, but they used to be at the top. While the Kshatriyas were out fighting, the Brahmins became the top with their religious ways. This class consists of warriors, kings, princes, and others descended from a royal family. One of the most famous Kshatriyas was Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha. Although high in rank, Kshatriyas often ate meat and had alcoholic drinks. The Kshatriyas were one of the twice-born castes. The Kshatriyas symbol is two crossed swords behind a shield. Kshatriyas are rewarded with power for their deeds.
The Vaisyas were the third class out of the existing five in the Indian caste system. Vases were the commoners who were usually merchants, farmers, traders, metal workers, or other kinds of craftsman in the civilizations. Life for the Vaisyas was not awful, like the lives of the Untouchables, but it was not the best. They were allowed to participate in rituals with other classes, but could not marry someone of a higher class. There were some restrictions like marrying an someone from an upper class, but there were also advantages. The Vaisyas, unlike the Sudras and Untouchables, could also wear the sacred thread along with the other highest classes. This gave them more respect when seen by others. At birth, the Vaisyas had the right to study the Vedas and be treated as twice born. This separated them even more to the two lower classes. Another advantage for the Vaisyas is that they were punished less severely. Because of their position in the three upper classes, they could commit a crime and get away with a fine or other small punishment. Today, the Vaisya class has become a symbol of the middle-class, showing respectability.
Sudras are the lowest in the caste system besides the untouchables. They work as rural laborers. Their role is to serve the three upper classes or varnas. The sudras can go into temples but are not allowed to wear sacred thread. Most sudras are self-employed farmers. They can own property and all laws apply to them and punishments are very violent. When a member of a sudra class dies they are taken through a south gate because the other gates were for higher class. The best way of life for a sudras is to serve a Brahman because it is the preparation to move to the next life. The sudras can’t be demoted to untouchables but can become higher in the caste system and serving a Brahman is the easiest way.
The Untouchables are the lowest class in the caste system. They are considered impure, and less than human. The Untouchables , also known as Dalits, live a very difficult life. They have the lowest jobs and are constantly in fear of being publicly humiliated. They work in jobs that are unclean for very little pay. They are raped, beaten, and paraded naked by upper class Hindus that seek to keep them in their place. Even just walking through an upper class neighborhood is a life- threatening offense. They have almost no rights, and the attitude towards them is very strict, depending on where they live. If the Untouchables associate with any of the higher classes, it can result in being beaten or even murdered.