The Caste System of India

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The caste system of India

All types of societies and races have some sort of functional social stratification. The only difference is that in most cases it remains in an elementary from and elastic. The peculiar feature of the Indian caste system is that in India the aforesaid process has crystalized into watertight compartments. And it has become permanent feature of the Hindu society.

It is very difficult to give out and dried definition of caste. We may offer fairly accurate description of caste system. 'A caste is an endogamous group or collection of groups, bearing a common name and claiming a common origin, following the same traditional occupation and occupying the position of superior and inferior rank of social esteem in comparison with other group maintaining a social exclusiveness with reference to diet, marriage and observing certain ceremonies and rituals.'

The essential feature of caste are thus food, marriage restriction, hereditary, occupation, hierarchical organization, social exclusiveness and religious sanctions.

In India social stratification has, through caste been carried to length unparalleled elsewhere. Hindu society is divided into about 3,000 castes and each of these is segregated from every other by restriction with regard to marriage, food and sometimes even personal contact. A person's caste, his station if life, his occupation, the people with whom he may associate and among whom the caste he may marry all determined for him by the fact of his birth in a particular caste. It is pre-determined of him by the law of karma or purva-sanchit.

The first distinguished feature of the Indian caste system is its absolute rigidity and immobility. A man dies in the same caste in which he is born. And it is the caste that determines his station of life.

The caste system Brahmin is not allowed to eat non-vegetarian food. Kshatriyas and Vaishyas can but even for them certain kind of non-vegetarian food such as of buffalo is...
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