Casteism is a societal construct which creates an luxuriant and complicated system uniting elements of profession, intermarriage, societal category, civilization, association to groups and political power. It should non be mistaken with more cardinal characteristics such as aristocracy, societal category or race. Members of all castes in any society may belong to one race, while members of same category in same society may belong to different races of castes.

The word ‘caste ‘ was foremost used by the Portuguese in order to depict category position derived by heritage in the European society. The word ‘caste ‘ is derived from Latin ‘castus ‘ which means “ pure, segregated, cut off ” , and the participial ‘carere ‘ which means “ to cut off ” . The earliest records of the word being applied to Indian societal groups, day of the month back to the seventeenth century, via Lusitanian word ‘casta ‘ significance “ strain, caste, race ” .

Casteism As A Social Concept Cultural... TOPICS SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU

The caste system in India is a system of societal categorization and limitation, in which communities have been defined by many endogamic groups called “ jatis ” . The formalistic Indian caste system which was postulated by the Brahmanical texts, comprises of four castes, besides called as ‘varnas ‘ , with few societal groups like the aliens, forest inhabitants, nomads and the chandalas ( people covering with the disposal of the dead ) excluded wholly.

Although the caste system is by and large associated with ‘Hinduism ‘ , the caste system has besides been observed among the ancient Iranian society and other spiritual communities including few groups of Muslims and Christians, most likely because of cultural assimilation over a figure of centuries.

While the caste system is endorsed by the Hindu Bibles, the caste-based favoritism is non endorsed by any of them. Furthermore, the Indian fundamental law dainties caste-based favoritism as a misdemeanor of cardinal right and hence outlawed. However, it continues to be in modern India, because of a combination of political, demographic and societal factors.

Literature Review

A batch of research has gone into the beginnings of the Indian caste system, nevertheless, so far there is no universally accepted theory about it. In many ways, the Indian categories and Persian categories ( ‘pistras ‘ ) show some similarity, where priests are called ‘Brahmins ‘ , the soldiers are called ‘Kshatriya ‘ , the merchandiser category is called “ Vastriya ‘ and the craftsmen and craftsmans are called ‘Huiti ‘

One of the scientific probes published in ‘Nature ‘ , a well-known scientific discipline diary, concludes that one peculiar hereditary line of descent, genetically really similar to Middle Eastern, European and Asiatic populations, comprised largely of upper-caste persons and they spoke Indo-germanic linguistic communications like Hindi. Such probes do propose that the beginning of caste system is basically connected to Indo-european migration to the subcontinent.

Castes and their societal position

Although the political power lay largely with the Kshatriyas, ‘Brahmins ‘ have been portrayed by assorted historiographers as basically the chief keepers and keepers of ‘Dharma ‘ , due to which they enjoyed a batch of prestigiousness and several advantages.

A Buddhist pilgrim, called Fa Xian, from China had visited India around fourth century. He mentioned in his travel memoirs that except for ‘Chandals ‘ , who were outcastes due to the nature of their work as disposers of the dead, no other caste or subdivision of the society was disadvantaged in any mode. Around that period, the male monarchs of both ‘Sudra ‘ every bit good as ‘Brahmin ‘ castes were every bit common as the 1s of ‘Kshatriya ‘ caste. All in all, the caste system was non exercised as a prohibitive or a inhibitory system.

However, the coming of British led them to handle the Indian caste system like their ain societal category system. They noted caste as a symbol of business, societal position and rational capableness. That led to the caste system turning into a more stiff system during the British regulation, since they had started reciting castes during their ten-year nose count procedure and codified the full caste system during their regulation.

Among all the castes, the ‘harijans ‘ had the lowest position in the society, since they were considered to be the people outside the caste system. Besides referred to as ‘untouchables ‘ by some, they worked in largely unhealthy, indecent or polluting professions. Apart from their destitute position, they besides had to digest societal segregation and several societal limitations. They were ne’er allowed to idolize in temples along with others, nor were they allowed to take H2O from common beginnings. No individual from higher castes was supposed to interact with them. If anyone of all time came into physical contact with an untouchable individual, the individual of the higher caste was considered to be defiled and had to take a thorough bath in order to purge himself. Even among the Harijans, there were a few sub-castes like ‘dhobi ‘ and ‘nai ‘ , who would usually avoid any interaction with lower order ‘Bhangis ‘ , who were treated as ‘outcastes among the outcastes ‘ .

Many sociologists have researched on the specific historical benefits that were offered by such a stiff societal construction, while besides noticing on its drawbacks. In its original signifier, caste system functioned as a tool to convey order to a society where people were ruled more by common consent instead than by irresistible impulse, where people inherited virtue, where equality was present merely within the caste, but non between different castes. Such a division of labor created a purely defined system of common mutuality, making a feeling of security within a community. The division of labour, with its roots in ethnicity, allowed different immigrants and assorted alien folks to incorporate into the society making their ain caste niches.

Economically, the caste system played a important function, working really much like mediaeval European clubs, and making a division of labour guaranting the preparation of learners and accomplishing some degree of specialisation. For illustration, in few parts, orienting each type of fabric was a forte for a specific sub-caste. Furthermore, some philosophers have commented that the bulk of people would hold been tolerably comfy in segregated endogamic categories, because they resided in ancient times.

It is by and large believed that the comparative ranking of all castes was non-rigid or differed from one topographic point to other before the coming of theA British. [ 24 ] A Sociologists like Bernard Buber and Marriott McKim remark how the apprehension of the caste system as a stiff and textual categorization has led to the perceptual experience of the caste system as a more process-oriented, cardinal and contextual segregation. Other sociologists like Y.B Damle have used theoretical theoretical accounts in order to explicate mobility in the caste system of India. [ 25 ]

As per these bookmans, subdivisions of lower-caste population could try to better the position of their caste by seeking to copy the societal imposts of higher castes. The mobility in caste Torahs allowed really low-caste churchmans likeA ValmikiA to compose theA Ramayana, which subsequently became a cardinal organic structure of Hindu spiritual Bible. There is another case in point of a few Shudra households in South India, within the temples of theA Sri VaishnavaA religious order, promoting their caste. [ 25 ] A The undermentioned lists a few alterations in Varna that have been cited in Hindu texts:

Priyavrata, the eldest boy of Manu, became male monarch, a Kshatriya. Seven out of his 10 boies became male monarchs while three of them became Brahmans. They were Mahavira, Kavi and Savana. ( Ref bhagwat puran chap.5 )

Kavash -ailush, who was the boy of a Sudra, achieved the Varna of a Rishi. He subsequently became mantra-drashta to a figure of Vedic mantras contained in Rig-Veda 10th Mandal.

Satyakama, the boy of Jabala, born from an unknown male parent, became a Rishi because of his qualities.

Some psychologists have found that the mobility across different caste lines may hold been really low, although different sub-castes ( or jatis ) may hold moved to a different societal position over a few coevalss by the procedure of fission, re-location, or acceptance of some new rites. [ 26 ]

M. N. Srinivas, a sociologist, has besides reviewed the cardinal inquiry of rigidness in Indian Caste system. During an ethnographic research of theA CoorgsA inA Karnataka, he found considerable mobility among their caste hierarchies. [ 27 ] [ 28 ] A He concludes that the caste system is rather different from a stiff system wherein the position of each caste is fixed everlastingly ; alternatively, the motion in societal position has ever been possible, peculiarly in the in-between degrees of the hierarchy. Harmonizing to him, it was ever executable for people born into a lower caste to travel to a higher societal place by merely following the patterns of vegetarianism and teetotaling, the cardinal imposts of the higher castes. Although theoretically the mobility was out, the procedure in pattern was non uncommon. Such is the construct of ‘sanskritization ‘ , or the credence of upper-caste rites and norms by the people from lower castes, which demonstrates both the complexness and the fluidness of Indian caste dealingss.

This is farther corroborated by the fact that many of the Indian dynasties were of vague beginnings proposing some societal mobility. Many beginnings in this period reference a figure of new castes, like theA KayasthasA ( the Scribe ) andA KhatrisA ( the bargainers ) . Harmonizing to some Brahmanic literature, these new castes originated because of intercaste matrimonies, but this might be an effort at positioning their rank in the hierarchy. Khatri, for illustration, appears more to be aA PrakritisedA version of the Sanskrit word ‘Kshatriya ‘ . [ 29 ] A

Reforms and Revolutions against Caste system

Swami VivekanandaA one time said that caste system of India is ‘pointedly devilish ‘ , naming it a ‘real expletive ‘ .

There have been a figure of early challenges to the caste system from Buddha, [ 31 ] A MahaviraA Jain andA Makkhali Gosala. The resistance to the Varna system is on a regular basis noted in the Yoga Upania??ads and is a regular characteristic of CA«na-A?cA?ra Tantrism, a Chinese-inspired motion in Asom ; both dating back to the mediaeval period. TheA system of NA?thaA , founded by Matsya-indra NA?tha and Go-raka??a NA?tha around the same clip, had likewise been opposed to the system of varna stratification.

The caste favoritisms were rejected by manyA saints belonging to the Bhakti periodA which accepted all castes even Harijans, into their cult. This sentiment gathered force during the British Raj, and manyA reform movementsA likeA Brahmo SamajA andA Arya SamajA condemned caste-based favoritism. The societal inclusion of Harijans leting them to fall in the mainstream was favored by many active societal reformists.

The untouchability as a pattern was officially and officially outlawed by theA Constitution of IndiaA in 1950, and since so it has declined significantly, to this age when eminent people from lower castes have occupied high political offices, like formerA PresidentA K. R. Narayanan in 1997, [ 32 ] A and formerA Chief JusticeA K. G. Balakrishnan. [ 33 ]

The caste system in modern India

In rather a few rural countries and towns, the caste system is still followed as a stiff system. Caste has besides become a cardinal factor in the political relations of India.

TheA Indian GovernmentA has officially documented several castes and sub-castes, in order to find those castes that deserveA reservationA ( which is positive discriminationA in instruction and occupations ) through the population nose count. The Indian system of reserve, although limited in its range, relies extensively onA quotas. The official Government lists comprise of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classs:

Scheduled castes ( SC )

Scheduled castesA largely consist of “ Dalit ” . The current population is 16 % of the full population of India ( i.e. around 160 million ) .

Scheduled folks ( ST )

Scheduled tribesA largely consist of tribal groups. The current population is 7 % of the full population of India ( i.e. around 70 million ) .

Other Backward Classes ( OBC )

TheA Mandal CommissionA studied more than 3000 castes classified as OBC Category and claimed that OBCs figure is about 52 % of the Indian population. However, a similar survey by the National Sample Survey pegs the figure at 32 % . [ 42 ] A There is considerable argument over the true figure of OBCs in India ; it is by and large accepted to be ample, but many are of the sentiment that it is significantly lower than the figures quoted by the Mandal Commission and the National Sample Survey. [ 43 ]

The Caste system as practiced among non-Hindus


In few parts of India, Christians are classified by location, religious order and the castes of their ascendants, [ 44 ] A normally in relation to the upper category Syrian Malabar Nasranis. Christians ofA KeralaA are by and large divided into different communities, for illustration, A Syrian ChristiansA and the “ Latin ” or “ New Rite ” Christians.


Syrian ChristiansA have a derived position within the caste system due to theA traditionA that they are believed to hold converted themselves from High caste Hindus such asA Namboodiris, A Nairs andA JewsA ( Israelites ) , due to evangelizationA byA St. Thomas. [ 45 ] A Several authors likeA Arundhati RoyA andA Anand KurianA have authored personal histories of the full caste system at work in their societal community. [ 46 ] [ 47 ] [ 48 ] [ 49 ] [ 50 ] A Syrian Christians, specificallyA Knanaya Christians, are by and large endogamic and do non pattern intermarriageA with otherA ChristianA castes. [ 46 ]

TheA Latin RiteA Christians were considered to be the scheduled castes around the coastal belt of Kerala, where fishing was the main business. They were largely evangelized by the missionaries of the 16th and 19th centuries. The authorities of India subsequently recognized this group as OBC. The exogamies betweenA Syrian ChristiansA andA Latin RiteA Christians are found to be really rare.


From 16th century onwards, in Goa, mass transitions were performed by Portuguese Latin missionaries. However, the Hindu converts still maintained their caste patterns. The continued pattern of the caste system among the Christian society in Goa is largely due to the large-scale transitions of whole small towns, due to which bing societal stratification was barely affected. The Portuguese, even during theA Goan Inquisition, did non interfere much with the caste system. Therefore, the original HinduA BrahminsA of Goa became ChristianA BamonsA while theA KshatriyaA came to be known as the Christian Lords calledA Chardos. The Christian clergy comprised about entirely of Bamon.A Even VaishyasA who turned to Christianity subsequently becameA Gauddos, and theA ShudrasA becameA Sudirs. Most of all, theA DalitsA or the “ Untouchables ” who turned to Christianity came to be calledA MaharasA andA Chamars.


Surveies show that several castes among Moslems originated because of their close contact with Hindu civilization and cases of Hindu transition to Islam. [ 52 ] [ 53 ] [ 54 ] [ 55 ] A TheA Sachar Committee ‘s study, which was released in 2006, notes the continued segregation and categorization in Muslim society. For illustration, among Muslims, there are those who are called Ashrafs and presumed to possess a higher position derived due to their foreign Arab lineage, [ 56 ] [ 57 ] A while there are others called Ajlafs who are assumed to hold converted from Hinduism, and hence have a lower position. Furthermore, another Muslim caste calledA ArzalA was considered by anti-caste militants likeA AmbedkarA as similar to Harijans. [ 58 ] [ 59 ] A In India ‘s Bengal part, some Muslims classify their society as per ‘Quoms ‘ . [ 60 ] A There is a difference in sentiment sing the badness of favoritism in Muslim societies versus that of Hindu societies. While many research workers have concluded that the Muslim castes are non as orthodox or severe in their favoritism as the Hindus, [ 55 ] [ 61 ] A there are others like Ambedkar who have commented that the societal immoralities in Muslim society can be considered as worse than what is observed in the Hindu society ” . [ 58 ] [ 59 ]


The Buddhists excessively had a caste system. In Sri Lanka, for illustration, the Rodis might hold been ostracized by the Sri Lankan Buddhists because of the absence ofA ahimsaA ( non-violence ) , a cardinal dogma of Buddhism, as one of their beliefs. When Ywan Chwang visited South India in the post-Chalukyan Empire epoch, he found that the caste system was prevailing even among the Buddhists and Jains. [ 63 ]


Jains besides practiced caste system in topographic points like Bihar. For illustration, in a small town called Bundela, there were a fewA ” jaats ” A ( or groups ) in the Jain society. A individual belonging to oneA ” jaat ” A could non blend with a Jain belonging to anotherA ” jaat ” . They besides could non portion nutrient with the members belonging to otherA ” jaats ” . [ 64 ]


TheA Sikh GurusA steadfastly denounced the societal hierarchy of the caste system. They preached that all subdivisions of society were every bit of import and set peculiar accent on virtue and hard-work as indispensable facets of life. Out of 140 seats, 20 are reserved for low caste Sikhs in the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. Nevertheless, the quota system has been criticized due to the deficiency of meritocracy. [ 65 ]


There has been terrible unfavorable judgment of the pattern of caste system from celebrated bookmans within and outside of India. [ 71 ] A

Historical unfavorable judgment

Both Buddha and Mahavira badly criticized and opposed the caste system. They instructed their followings to interrupt the bonds of caste system. ManyA bhakti periodA saints like Guru Nanak, Sant Kabir, A Sant Chaitanya, A Sant Dnyaneshwar, A Sant Eknath, A TukaramA andA Ramanuj, disapproved of all caste-based favoritism and invited adherents from every caste. SeveralA Hindu reformersA like Swami VivekanandaA believed that there could non be any topographic point for caste system in Hindu society. A fifteenth century saintA RamanandaA invited people from all castes, including Harijans, to go his followings. Most of these saints belonged to theA Bhakti movementsA in Hinduism which happened during the mediaeval period that rejected casteism.A

During 19th Century, theA Brahmo SamajA underA the leading of Raja Ram Mohan RoyA actively worked against the pattern of untouchability and casteism. TheA Arya SamajA which was founded byA Swami DayanandA besides condemned favoritism against Dalits.A Sri Ramakrishna ParamahamsaA and his followerA Swami VivekanandaA created theA Ramakrishna MissionA that campaigned for the emancipation of Dalits. Several upper-caste Hindus likeA Mannathu PadmanabhanA took portion in such motions to get rid of the pattern of untouchability against Dalits. Padmanabhan gave entree to his household temple to Dalits for worship.A Narayana Guru, a devout Hindu and a recognized authorization on theA Vedas, criticized casteism and worked for the societal rights of lower-caste Hindus.

The first upper-caste temple to liberally welcome all Dalits into its crease was the Laxminarayan Temple ofA WardhaA in the twelvemonth 1928 ; spearheaded by a societal reformerA Jamnalal Bajaj. [ commendation needed ]

The caste system has even been criticized by several Indian societal reformists. Reformers, such asA Jyotirao PhuleA andA Iyothee Thass, claimed that the alleged lower caste people were the original indigens of India, who had been conquered in conflicts in the antediluvian yesteryear by erstwhile “ Brahmin encroachers. “ A Mahatma GandhiA coined the wordA Harijan, literally meaningA Sons of God, to depict the untouchables.A B. R. Ambedkar, born in a HinduA DalitA society, was a terrible critic of the caste system. He promoted theA Dalit Buddhist movementA in India, and espoused his followings to abandon Hinduism, and convert to Buddhism. India ‘s first Prime Minister, A Jawaharlal Nehru, due to his ain relationship with Dalit societal reformerA Ambedkar, favored the obliteration of untouchability as a societal pattern, for the upliftment of the Dalit community.

Contemporary unfavorable judgment

Several modern organisations such as theA Rashtriya Swayamsevak SanghA have steadfastly criticized the caste system. [ 73 ]

Some noteworthy militants consider the caste system to be a signifier ofA racial favoritism. [ 74 ] A In 2001, at aA United NationsA Conference Against Racism which was held inA Durban, A South AfricaA , participants condemned caste favoritism and attempted to go through a general declaration denouncing caste as a footing forA societal segregationA and subjugation. However, no official declaration was eventually passed. [ 75 ]

Some writers describe the alleged mistreatment of Dalits in India to be India ‘s concealed apartheid. However, several critics of such accusals point out significant betterments in the societal position of Dalits, peculiarly in the post-independence stage of India, chiefly due to rigorous execution of the rights and privileges guaranteed in the Indian Constitution. They besides highlight that India has had a Dalit President in K. R. Narayanan and several other political leaders like Chief Minister Mayawati of Uttar Pradesh.

In a survey by William A. Haviland, although India ‘s national fundamental law of 1950 clearly outlaws dramatis personae favoritism and the pattern of untouchability, the caste system continues to stay steadfastly entrenched in the Hindu civilization and is practiced widely throughout southern Asia, peculiarly in rural India.. Approximately 160 million people, or 15 % of the population of India, the Dalits have to endure near complete societal segregation, humiliation, and general favoritism based merely on their birth position.

A few surveies done by sociologists like Kevin Reilly, Angela Bodino and Stephen Kaufman, while being critical of casteism, conclude with a note that the modern India can non be accused of any apartheid because there is no state-sanctioned societal favoritism. [ 81 ] A They observe that casteism in India is presently non apartheid. In fact, several Harijans, every bit good as tribal subdivisions of the society and members of the lowest castes of India continue to profit from several affirmatory action policies and plans and are now exerting greater political power.


Postmodernism is a motion off from the point of position of modernism. More flatly, it is a inclination in a modern-day civilization which is characterized by the job of nonsubjective truth and an intrinsic deficiency of assurance towards planetary cultural narration. It involves a belief that many evident worlds are merely societal concepts, since they are apt to alter across clip and topographic point. It stresses on the function of linguistic communication, power dealingss and other motives ; more specifically, it attacks the usage of distinguishable categorizations like male versus female, cheery versus directly, black versus white and colonial versus imperial. Alternatively, it holds worlds to be plural and comparative and extremely dependent on who the concerned parties are and what their specific involvements lie in.

It strives to turn over modernist certitude, by observing the crisp differentiation between how confident talkers usually are of their stated places compared to how confident they need to be in order to function their selfish aims. Postmodernism has impacted many cultural avenues like sociology, linguistics, ocular humanistic disciplines, music and architecture.

Postmodernist thought is an nonsubjective divergence from modernist ways that had antecedently been considered to be dominant. The word ‘postmodernism ‘ derives from its unfavorable judgment of the ‘modernist ‘ scientific pique of objectiveness and development usually associated with the Enlightenment.

Both motions, viz. modernism and postmodernism are largely understood as cultural undertakings or as positions. “ Postmodernism ” is by and large used in critical theory to stipulate a point of divergence in any work of literature, architecture, film, news media, design or selling and concern in the late twentieth and early 21st centuries. As an academic motion, postmodernism can be understood as a response to modernism in the Humanities. While modernism was usually associated with rules like individuality, integrity, certainty and authorization, postmodernism is by and large concerned with plurality, difference, textuality and overall incredulity.

Frederic Jameson, a literary critic, explains postmodernism as a dominant cultural logic of late capitalist economy which refers to a stage of capitalist economy after the World War II. The economic expert Ernest Mandel, describes that the term refers to approximately the same period which is otherwise described as ‘globalization ‘ , ‘consumer capitalist economy ‘ or ‘multinational capitalist economy ‘ .

History and outgrowth

The term postmodernism was originally used in the 1870s for several intents. For illustration, John Watkins Chapman pledged for a ‘post-modern picture ‘ to travel beyond Gallic Impressionism. In 1914, J. M. Thompson, wrote an article for The Hibbert Journal, to depict several alterations in general attitudes and beliefs in the reviews of faith. In 1917, Rudolf Pannwitz used the word to explicate a philosophically orientated civilization. His thought of post-modernism

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