India Caste System

Topics: Discrimination, India, Caste system in India Pages: 5 (1455 words) Published: May 11, 2008
) Attitude to hierarchy

A)The India's caste system

India has a hierarchical caste system in the society. Within Indian culture, Hindu or Muslim, urban or village, virtually all things, people, and groups of people are ranked according to various essential qualities. The social Hierarchy is present everywhere in India. Although India is a political democracy, in daily life there is a little adherence to notions of equality.

Castes systems in India and caste like groups, classified in five groups with which almost all Indians are associated, are ranked. Everyone knows the relative rankings of each locally represented caste, and people's behavior toward one another is constantly shaped by this knowledge. Castes system in India is primarily associated with Hinduism but also exist among other Indian religious groups like Muslims. They state that all Muslims are brothers under God but in reality Muslim life in various parts of India reveals the existence of caste like groups with social hierarchy. Within families, there are also many distinctions of hierarchy. Men outrank women of the same age, and senior outrank junior. In India, hierarchy is everywhere and at each level. To illustrate this, we can analyze one of the Hofstede dimension: the “Power Distance”. India has Power Distance (PDI) as the highest Hofstede Dimension for the culture, with a ranking of 77 compared to a world average of 56.5. This Power Distance score for India indicates a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society. This condition is not necessarily subverted upon the population, but rather accepted by the population as a cultural norm.

B) “The untouchablity”:
The untouchablity feature in the caste system is one of the cruelest features of the caste system. It is seen by many as one of the strongest racist phenomenon in the world. In the Indian society people who worked in ignominious, polluting and unclean occupations were seen as polluting peoples and were therefore considered as untouchables. The untouchables (also named Dalits) had almost no rights in the society. Dalits suffered from social segregation and restrictions, in addition to extreme poverty. In different parts of India they were treated in different ways. In regions where the attitude was less strict the untouchables were seen as polluting people. The untouchables were not allowed to touch people and to enter houses from higher caste. They were not allowed to enter the temples. In strict societies, especially among the 'Twice Born' (the three top castes) the touched 'Twice Born' also had to pass through some religious ceremonies to purify himself from the pollution.

II) Solutions to reduce discriminations
India's current controversy recalls the decades-long debate over affirmative action in the U.S., where the concept was introduced in the 1960s in an effort to remedy the effects of centuries of racial injustice and gender discrimination. Affirmative action programs in college admissions and employment have often been an inflammatory issue, raising objections from those who believe that it results in "reverse discrimination." India's system is entirely based on quotas, which apply to government jobs as well as school admissions. In recent months there have also been suggestions to introduce quotas into the private sector, prompting opposition from business leaders. A) Affirmative action at work.

The expansion of affirmative action to reduce differences between castes is a first step. Supporters call the plan a manifestation of people power, but people see affirmative action as a threat because competitiveness of India could be eroded and multinational companies could move away. India once reduced for the inequalities of the caste system by giving government jobs to the low castes, with a 49.5 percent quota already in place in the public sector. But as India's dynamism migrates from the public to the private sector, from ministries to...
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