The Hindu Caste System

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Extended Response: The Hindu Caste System
The Hindu Caste System has governed the lives of the Hindu people in India for thousands of years. Today, the Caste System shapes society in a similar, perhaps more extreme, way as when it was first implemented. Beginning with the Aryans, the Caste system gradually became the social system that gives an "unchangeable" structure to the Hindu people's lives. While this manner of living is considered taboo by westerners and people of other religions, it is fully accepted by the Hindu people of India, who know no other way of doing things.

The term caste is derivative of the Portuguese word casta, which referrs to a social class of hereditary and usually unchangeable status. The Hindu Caste System is made up of four varnas, meaning "color" in Sanskrit, as well as several sub-castes called jati: brahmins (priests); kshatriyas (warriors and aristocrats); vaishyas (cultivators, artisans, and merchants); and shudras (landless peasants and serfs). Lower still are the untouchables; these people are the poorest of India's poor.

The Caste System is limiting to those in the lower castes, however, the higher castes still have some limitations such as who they can marry. For example, a member of a higher caste, such as a kshatriya, is forbidden to marry a person from a lower class, such as a shudra (or vice Williamson 2

versa). Also, today, while money is 'everything' to most cultures, the members of lower castes are unable to move up financially. These people are condemned to the poor slums' and cannot do anything to change their situation. In more recent times, the untouchables especially are being targeted by cruel members of the higher, "superior" castes. The untouchables are subject to murder, rape, beating, and arson every day. At an alarming rate of two murders per day and approximately 250,000 cases of cruelty per year, this has become a serious problem in Indian society.

A bothersome aspect of the Caste System is...
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