Caste (social), rigid social system in which a social hierarchy is maintained generation after generation. The term is often applied to one of the five hereditary classes established among the Hindus on the Indian subcontinent.
According to the ancient sacred literature of
It is accordance to the ancient Hindu scriptures that there are four ‘Varnas’. In the Bhagavad Gita the varnes are decided on the basis of Guna and Karma. The four varnas as per the Manusmriti are Brahmins–teachers, scholars and the priests–the Kshatriyas–kings and warriors–the Vaishyas–agriculturists, artisans and the traders–and the Shudras–service providers or labours.
This theoretical system postulated Varna categories as ideals and explained away the reality of thousands of endogamous Jātis actually prevailing in the country as being the result of historical mixing among the "pure" Varnas - Varna Sankara. All those, including foreigners, tribals and nomads, who did not subscribe to the norms of the Hindu society were contagious and untouchables. Another group excluded from the main society was called Parjanya or Antyaja. This group of former "untouchables" (self described now as Dalits) i.e. downtrodden, was considered either the lower section of Shudras or outside the
Although many Hindu scriptures contain passages that can be interpreted to sanction the caste system, they also contain indications that the caste system is not an essential part of Hinduism. The Vedas hardly place any importance on the caste system, mentioning caste only once (in the Purush Sukta) out of tens of thousands of verses. Most vedic scholars believe even this to be a subsequent and artificial insertion. In fact, none other than B. R. Ambedkar concluded after a thorough study that this is a much later interpolation and gave strong scholarly evidence to support his conclusion. In the Vedic period, there was no prohibition against the Shudras listening to the Vedas or participating in any religious rite.
In Early Evidence for Caste in
The Indian caste system includes rigid, hereditary membership in the caste into which one is born, the practice of marrying only members of the same caste, restrictions on the choice of occupation, and restrictions on personal contact with members of other castes. The caste system was made a part of Hindu religious law. The stringency of the caste system of the Hindus broke down greatly during the period of British rule in
The caste war in
The atrocities manifested on the untouchables were so cruel that they were made to lead the life of animals. In the villages, the people of the lower caste are not allowed to collect water from the wells, not allowed to sit with the people of the other caste, etc. they have to do all the menial jobs which the people of the other castes find below their dignity. It was the effort of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi who started the revolution and gave the name to the untouchables as ‘Harijan’. Harijan is a word of Hindi–the native Indian language– created from the combination of two words—Hari–name of God–and–Jan—the people. The people in
Since the independence to disrespect a person on the basis of caste, creed, colour, etc has become a punishable offence. The people of the lower castes are given privileges in education, jobs in order to help them to come at par with the common people. Still the bridging of the common people is a long way to go.
The system of castes in
Many have been voicing against the atrocities against the lower castes but the situation remains the same.
The book–End Of Casteism–is the testimony of the atrocities being done on the people of the lower caste in southern
In his book the author has described his struggle against the vicious caste system of
On the eve of book release many renowned guests delivered their reaction. Prof. Z M Khan said, “The book is the combination of experiences with the struggle”. Further on the topice he said, “The book is a description on the life which the dalits are made to lead even today and the problems which they face in their day to day life. It describes that escape from the live below the dignity of an animal at many places is a very difficult gesture. The book seconds to the theory of Dr Ambedkar—change of place or change of religion is the only remedy for a life of equality”. He finally concluded on the statement, “No philosophy flourishes until you provide environment to it”. On the occasion Mr. Ausaf Ahmed said, “The book starts with the description of a night where four people are drenching in rain but they cannot find shelter as they are from the lower caste. In the other chapter people of the lower castes are looking for food and licking the leaves which are in the dustbin left over by the higher caste after food. Not only this, the people of lower caste are not allowed to move freely whereas the animals are beyond any restrictions on their movement. The book has the description of the six generations of the author who were subjected to the authorities of the upper caste”.
M. Ghulam Muhammad, publisher of the book and the owner of Vergal Publication said, “The book has been appreciated by many since its first edition in Tamil language. The
Bhai Tej Singh the president of Ambedkar Samaj Party said, “Even in the independent