A Look at India’s Caste System

The Caste System is a social structure that divides people and groups based on their inherited social status. The caste system was developed by the Aryans as they settled in India and was used to enforce social order. “Growing social complexity and interactions Dravidians peoples promoted them to refine their social distinctions” (77). The caste system divided individuals into four classifications based on their occupations. These classifications were known as varna.These varnas were the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishyas and Shudra. Each caste is where people were born into, married and died.

Brahmins were considered the highest of the caste. In this caste were the priests.Secondly, was Kshatriya which consisted of the warriors and scholars. Following was Vaishya which was considered the common class. In this group were the merchants, skilled traders, and minor officials. The fourth class was the Shudra, who were the landless peasants and serfs considered to be unskilled workers. There was a fifth class added that was considered the lowest of the caste system; the untouchables. The untouchables are those who worked menial jobs and did dirty work. The untouchables did work that no one else would do, like “butchering animals or handling dead bodies” (78). They could not be cremated when they died. They were outcasts and those who were punished because they did not follow social norms. The untouchables were considered so impure that any contact with them by a caste member would contaminate the other person.

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There were both advantages and disadvantages of the caste system. One advantage of the caste system was that it formed close communities.People of the same social class interacted and bonded. These same individuals formed union and married.As a result, money and power remained in that class.Another advantage is that everybody in the society knew their place (78) and worked to maintain their high social class or possibly …