Class Has over Taken Caste in Contemporary India

Topics: India, Caste, Social class Pages: 8 (2540 words) Published: March 13, 2013

"We divided ourselves among caste, creed, culture and countries but is undivided remains most valuable: a mere smile and the love."

Class has over taken caste in contemporary India
Earlier in India social system of Hindus was predominantly based on the caste system which had arisen in ancient times. The caste system was one of the most important causes of social disunity. A large part of the population was considered by the people of higher castes as 'untouchable'. The life of the Hindus was regulated by the Dharma Shastras which prescribed different rights and duties for different castes. There were several social evil customs in the Hindu society. The status of women in the society was very bad. The Muslims were also divided by caste, ethnic and sectarian differences. They were socially and economically backward. The Mughal Empire had declined after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. India was divided into a number of small and big states fighting with one other. In this situation the European trading companies, started interfering in the political affairs of the country. Taking advantage of the political, economic and social weaknesses of the Indian society; the Britishers captured the power in India. Caste has undergone significant change since independence, but it still involves hundreds of millions of people. In its preamble, India's constitution forbids negative public discrimination on the basis of caste. However, caste ranking and caste-based interaction have occurred for centuries and will continue to do so well into the foreseeable future, more in the countryside than in urban settings and more in the realms of kinship and marriage than in less personal interactions.

Caste System In India
In India, the caste system is a (controversially, discriminatory) system of division of labor and power in human society. It is a system of social stratification, and a basis for affirmative action. Historically, it defined communities into thousands of endogamous hereditary groups called Jatis. The Jatis were grouped by the Brahminical texts under the four well-known caste categories : viz Brahmins, Kshtriyas, Vaishas, and Shudras. Certain people were excluded altogether, ostracized by all other castes and treated as untouchables. Although identified with Hinduism, caste systems have also been observed among other religions on the Indian subcontinent, including some groups of Muslims, Buddhists and Christians. The latter are similar to the caste system reported in the Igbo-Osu Christian community in Africa. Caste is commonly thought of as an ancient fact of Hindu life, but various contemporary scholars have argued that the caste system was constructed by the British colonial regime. Caste is neither unique to Hindu religion nor to India; caste systems have been observed in other parts of the world, for example, in the Muslim community of Yemen, Christian colonies of Spain, and Japan. The Indian government officially recognizes historically discriminated lowest castes of India such as Untouchables and Shudras under Scheduled Castes, and certain economically backward castes as Other Backward Castes. The Scheduled Castes are sometimes referred to as Dalit in contemporary literature. In 2001, the proportion of Dalit population was 16.2 percent of India's total population. Since 1950, India has enacted and implemented many laws and social initiatives to protect and improve the socio-economic conditions of its Dalit population. By 1995, of all jobs in the Central Government service, 17.2 percent of the jobs were held by Dalits. Of the highest paying, senior most jobs in government agencies and government controlled enterprises, over 10 percent were held by members of the Dalit community, a tenfold increase in 40...
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