Class System Has Taken over Class System

Topics: Sociology, Social class, Social stratification Pages: 7 (2005 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Class has taken over caste in contemporary India

* Introduction
* Caste system
* Characteristics of Caste system
* Merits and demerits of caste system
* Class system
* Characteristics of Class system
* Difference between the caste system and class system
* Social Change
* Factors that led to social change
* Personal analysis

Unity as well as diversity decorates the Indian Social Structure and cultural patterns. Rich cultural heritage of India presents an amalgamation of the imminent Aryans, the native Dravidians and a variety of invading groups. India’s social, cultural, economic diversities are reflected in habitat conditions in rural, urban and sub-urban locations. Along with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, other sects also have their centers of pilgrimage in India the practice of caste system cut across religious boundaries and provide then a common social identity. Mark Twain has once quoted "India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only." Individuals and societies differ everywhere. Differentiation is the central feature of human society. No two individuals are similar. Diversity and inequality are inherent in society. Hence human society is stratified everywhere. All societies arrange their members with respect to superiority, interiority and equality the placement of individual in the strata or layers which is known as stratification. People on the top of the stratum have more powers, prestige and privileges in comparison with those who are placed lower therein. Social stratification is Omni-present. Every society is devised into more or less distinct groups. Sorokin points out that unstratified society with real equality of members is a myth which has never been realized in the history of mankind. According to Sorokin, social stratification means the differentiation of a given population into hierarchically superimposed classes. It is manifested in the existence of the upper and lower social layer. Its basis and very essence consists in an unequal distribution of rights and privileges, duties and responsibilities, social values and privations, social power and influences among the members of the society. Caste System

The word caste is taken from the Spanish word “casta”. The English word “caste” is a variant from the original word. The Sanskrit word for caste is Varna which means color. The caste system is unique to the Indian society. It seeks its origin in the “Chaturvarna” system, according to which society was divided into four main Varnas namely , the Brahmins, the Kshatriya, the Vaishyas and the Shudras. The Varna system was mainly based on the division of labor and occupation. The present caste system may be degenerated from the earlier Varna model. However, Varnas and castes are not one and same thing. Sir Aurobindo once quoted “Caste was originally an arrangement for the distribution of functions of society, just as much as class in Europe, but the principle on which the distribution was based in India was peculiar to this country.” In the 3rd century BC the Greek traveller Megasthenes highlighted two elements of caste system, namely, (1) there is no intermarriage and (2) there can be no change of profession.

Characteristics of caste system
* Segmented Division of Society
* Social and Religious Hierarchy
* Restrictions on Food Habits and Social Relations.
* Endogamy.
* Restricted choice of occupation.
* Civil and Religious Disabilities.

Merits and demerits of caste system of India


* Social Security: Caste provides every individual a fixed social environment. It acts as a permanent boy of associations which controls almost all his behavior and contracts. * Spirit of...
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