Caste System

Topics: Sociology, Hinduism, Social class Pages: 2 (614 words) Published: July 16, 2008
“Caste” is defined as a rigid social system in which a social hierarchy is maintained generation after generation and allows little mobility out of the position to which a person is born. The original caste system of India was formed when Aryan nomadic groups migrated from the north to India in approximately 1500 B.C. The system consisted of four distinct groups. They were the Brahmans (priests) Kshatriya (warriors and tribal chiefs), Vaishyas (tradesmen), and the Sudras (workers, peasants). The duties of each of the members of the divisions performed certain occupations and rarely were allowed to communicate with members from other classes. As different as each of the groups were, they all sought one thing, reincarnation.

Although not the first to inhabit India, the Aryans arrival signified a change in India. Upon entrance into the country (migrated seeking new and more fertile lands), they defeated the Dravidians and drew them in to make up the fourth tier of the caste, the Shudras. The Aryans thought of the defeated as slaves and they entered the system as mainly as so. The original classification had the slaves at the bottom, then the Vaishya, Brahmin, and Kshytriya above. This alignment did not last forever. Due to the fact that the warriors (Kshytiya) were constantly entrenched in battle, it paved the way for the Brahmin to move up.

The Brahmin took the advantage left to them and became extremely educated, especially in the fields of medicine, religion, and astrology. This almost assured the suppression of the poor and weak as well as their descendants. Women could be viewed as a sub-species, as they were denied the opportunity at learning to write and receive an equal education to men. Sanskrit was the domain of Brahmin men, women were denied learning it. Women were relegated to menial positions in society, such as: cooking, cleaning, singing, and for sexual pleasures.

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