The Influence Of The Caste System

995 Words 4 Pages
The caste system used by Hindus of India is the oldest social structure in the world. The first mention of the system is in the Sanskrit text Manusmriti (also known as the Laws of Manu), which dates 1000 years before the birth of Christ, which "acknowledges and justifies the caste system as the basis of order and regularity of society"(BBC, 2017). The system divides Hindus into hierarchical groupings based upon their karma (work) and dharma (duty). These groupings are called castes. There are five major castes which can be broken down into 3,000 sub-castes. These sub-castes can be further broken down into a total of 25,000 castes. Outside of the castes are the achhoots. They are also known as the untouchables. For centuries, the system has …show more content…
However, the caste system can still be seen today. There are stereotypes in India on the different castes. For example, the Tamil Brahmins are thought to be very good at mathematics and playing classical music, the Gujarati Baniyas do very well financially, and nobody punches harder than a Punjabi Khatri. It is equivalent, in America, to expecting the Asian student to make good grades, the Black to be a really good break dancer, and the Jew to be well-read and have some mother issues. The caste system is also seen in terms of marriage and politics. India is a country where marriages are often still arranged and the couples are often from the same caste(Sankaran, 2001). If a woman chooses to marry a man of a lower caste, she could be rejected by her own family. A young Indian man has said that he can tell the caste of a possible interest by the brand of jeans they wear and the style of hair and if their caste is not similar to his he will not be interested. Caste and class have become the same(Esposito, 2012). Voters also care about the caste of the candidates. According to a poll by Daksh, a "organisation that undertakes research and activities to promote accountability and better governance," which surveyed 10,772 people and asked them what influences their vote in elections. Forty one percent of those polled said that the caste of a candidate influences them the most and twenty percent …show more content…
Many of those in the lower castes have been victims of violations of their civil, economic, social, political, and cultural rights as they are seen as "lesser human beings" and "polluting" to higher castes. Due to exclusions practiced by many, including state actors, Dalits (untouchables) have limited access to resources and services, keeping them in poverty. Many Dalits in rural areas of India are still being discriminated upon. Dalits have been beaten for plucking flowers, lynched, burned alive, tortured and many Dalit women are being raped. In small villages throughout India, Dalits are not allowed to collect water from public wells, visit the same temples, drink from the same cup at markets as upper castes(Maywell, 2003). The discrimination in India is similar to the plight African-Americans faced prior to the civil rights movement even though caste and race differ by definition(Sampath, 2018). Even though the constitution of India bans discrimination based on their caste, the practice of untouchability still exists. Inequality is the basis of the caste system. However, there are those who are fighting back. VideoVolunteers have taken video of discrimination and launched a legal battle in India's Supreme Court using the footage as evidence(Antelava,

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