Until and unless this changes no hope is there. Missed the previous lesson? Thus caste is based upon birth while Varna is on action. The Varna system in Dharma-shastras divides society into four varnas (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishya and Shudras). All rights reserved. Krishnan Nandela 10 Oct 2019. Like any branch of knowledge, the essential requirement of History is the pursuit of truth. The Varna hierarchy was hence, determined by the descending order of the different organs from which the Varnas were created. Varna is a hyponym of caste. But in reality it is no God-send virtue to be followed by the people. The origin of caste system lacks any substantial historical backing. also adopted some trappings of it. Sujatha Gidla was born into India's lowest social caste, the untouchables. All these vary and there is no universally accepted theory about the caste system.According to the Rig Veda, the ancient Hindu book, the Purush (a single cosmic Person) destroyed himself to create a human society. The Four Varna system of ancient India was originally based upon the idea of an organic social order that remains relevant today. However, not much has happened on the ground. The Constitution guarantees equality before law (Art. According to Hindu shastras, there are mainly four hereditary castes or Varnas into which the Hindu society is divided viz. google_ad_width = 300; Also, this theory is not backed up by scientific evidences. To fulfil the Constitutional mandate several other Acts were also passed the Parliament to end the exploitative and discriminatory practices against so-called lower castes. What is called caste today should not be confused with it. Apart from these four Varnas, another section was there which was considered lowest of them all. mode: 'thumbnails-rr', The producing classes were increasingly saddled with social disabilities and economic obligations that were enforced through the establishment of a professional army and an administrative apparatus. People who preached spiritual teachings to the society and lived spiritual lives were called Brahmins. These were the most discriminated and exploited ones; all the four Varnas maintained distance from them. In the caste system an uneducated Brahman is respected while an educated Shudra is looked down upon. Its root can be traced back to thousands of years. The Indian Varna system (caste system), which is often painted negatively and presented likewise even in school textbooks, is perhaps one of the most misinterpreted social hierarchies of the world. It is popularly accepted that the Indian caste system is at least 3000 years old, though an analysis of the Vedic literatures suggests that it is perhaps as old as Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) itself. Now here's another quote from B.R. His works still resonate in every Hindu household in one form or the other. As far as social stratification is concerned, the Brahmins, generally priests and scholars, are at the top. In the history of Dharma Shastra Shri P V Kane writes that the idea of Varna … Caste is fundamental of birth, Varna a fundamental of action. According to him, the Varna system conceals the diversity between the caste system of one region and that of an other. Under this system, which is associated with Hinduism, people were categorized by their occupations. The caste system became legally rigid during the Raj, when the British started to enumerate castes during their ten-year census and meticulously codified the system. In this article, we would try to understand and explore caste system in its different dimensions such as its meaning; meaning of caste; origin of Varna system; it’s bad effects; constitutional safeguards and present scenario. Next strata consist of the Kshatriyas, the ruling class and soldiers. The term jati appears in almost all Indian languages and is related to the idea of lineage or kinship group. Varna’s are only four in number i.e Brahmin , Kshatriya , Vaishya and Sudra , it is an all indian phenomenon . In fact, we learn from the Vedas that active opposition between the Aryans and Dashuds was not due to the colour but due to the difference of cults. window._taboola = window._taboola || []; Social stratification on the basis of caste is the main reason behind various types of exploitation against so-called lower castes, especially those described as Sudras and Untouchables. It is popularly accepted that the Indian caste system is at least 3000 years old, though an analysis of the Vedic literatures suggests that it is perhaps as old as Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) itself. Thus, it becomes very important to understand its origin. Then there were Shudras, the lowest in four Varnas. The biggest proof of Manu Smriti proposing Varna System and NOT Caste System is that in the first Chapter of Manu Smriti, there is mention of origin of 4 Varnas and no mention of castes or gotras. It is made of four varnas, with the Brahmins on the top and the Shudras at the bottom. A similar exercise was made during the reign of Mahindra Malla (1506–1575). The Caste system is the social hierarchy in India. Varna is a fundamental concept underlying the Hindu society. Today, I will be resolving a few of the misconceptions about it with more in-depth information on it. In other words they stand for the support system of the entire body. By using the term both for caste (that is jati) and Varna, as also for caste and sub-caste, a good deal of confusion has been created. There is no vernacular word for the sub-caste. The Vedas arose five thousand years ago, when human society was rooted in nature. The caste system was not absolute during much of Indian history. Those who fall out of this system because of their grievous sins are ostracised as outcastes (untouchables) and considered outside the varna system. Most academic papers or news reports or websites that discuss the current caste system open with the four varnas and the untouchables and hasten to talk of smritis, dharmashastras etc. The caste system consists of two different concepts, varna and jati, which may be regarded as different levels of analysis of this system. ——— Namit K Srivastava (LLB, LLM, University of Delhi). He proposed the mode of production involving the theory of surplus leading to class formation (varna system). The shudra is said to have sprung from his feet. Shudras were believed to not have any special abilities and were considered only capable of serving as slaves to the upper three classes. A Kshatriya is branded by physical and martial strength. In There is strict restriction on inter-dining and inter-marriage among people belonging to different castes. The problems of India’s caste system are the same as those of social inequality everywhere in the world, rooted in ego, money and power, not in the yogic values and dharmic practices. There are certain Religious, Biological and Historical Theories. So according to them, different Varnas originated from lord Brahma. The concept known as a caste system is an anglicised explanation of the Indian concepts of Varna (वर्ण) and Jaati (जाति). The main castes were further divided into about 3,000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes, each based on their specific occupation. Caste or Varna System is a purely Indian phenomenon and especially it is practiced among Hindus, though with time, as far as India is considered, other religions such as Islam, Sikhism, Christianity etc. Varna, jaati and caste. They are labourers, peasants, artisans, and servants. One of the main characteristics of caste system is Endogamy i.e. They were ‘untouchables’, the outcastes; because they were not considered part of any of the said four Varnas. According to this theory, Dravidians were the original inhabitants whom Aryans pushed into the Southern India. In the caste hierarchy, the dark skinned were outcasts. All the privileges were for Brahmanas and Kshatriyas. They are followed by … Inscriptions attest the beginnings of a caste system during the Licchavi period. Kshatriya was defined as kseeyate traayate iti ksatriya. This project will seek to trace the origin of the Varna system via three different theories namely the Western theory, the Brah… The Varna system forms the basic structure of Hindu society. The Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata also holds the view that an individual can attain a superior Varna by performing righteous acts, i.e., by adhering to the three ideals of Varna, Ashram and Moksh. ... Untouchable Outcasts and the Varna System. During the rule of Chandragupta Maurya (320 BCE – 298 BCE), Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to Chandragupta Maurya's court in India came up with his own classification. For generations of Indians, the ancient code of social stratification known as the caste system has defined how people earn a living and whom they marry. google_ad_slot = "1982849078"; This … Thus, the Brahminical Varna ideology was a clever devise for the regulation of production, tax/gift collection and distribution. placement: 'Right Rail Thumbnails', Four basic categories are defined under this system - Brahmins (priests, teachers, intellectuals), Kshatriyas (warriors, kings, administrators), Vaishyas (agriculturalists, traders, farmers ) and Shudras (workers, labourers, artisans). It’s a big shame that even in a 21st century and in this age and time when human society has so progressed scientifically that people are planning to buy lands on planet Mars, Indian society believes in a system as archaic as the caste system. Caste system is a unique type of class system in which the social ordering is done on the basis of birth. This system further disintegrated with the emergence of the use of iron plough and creation of surplus produce. When the caste system started, there weren't many professions. Varna’s are only four in number i.e. The schematic arrangement of varnas is for the integration of the society and not for its division. But it was so ingrained in our social fabric that it was next to impossible to change the situation on ground. Most of these changes took place between 800 BC and 500 BC when constant social and economic complexities emerged as new challenges for Varna-based allocation of duties. The skin color was an important factor in the caste system as the word varna itself refers to color. The laws are clearly against discrimination of any kind, but they are not uniformly or co… As the later Vedic phase was based on agriculture and the limited use of iron, it marked the transition of the tribal states into territorial states and the gradual disintegration of the society into class and occupational groupings. The present day caste-conflicts are largely because of the misunderstanding of the varna system. a person’s social status is defined on the basis of his/her caste in which he/she took birth and that is the sole criterion of establishing his/her social status. Caste System (varna) The hierarchy of the Hindus that began as far as 2000 B.C.,is one of the things that greatly distinguish it from other religions. Purpose of the VARNA System. Thus, it was based on their occupation. There are perhaps more than 3000 jatis in India and there is no one all-Indian system of ranking them in order of status. It is a hereditary system; thus, a child gets the caste of his father on its birth. People who term caste discrimination as “Hindu” Evil, primarily base their argument around Varna system mentioned in Purush Sukta, given in Rigveda. Thus, ‘caste system’ as a rigid hierarchical social institution with an embedded element of discrimination is often considered as a hallmark of Hinduism. The caste system is a check on economic and intellectual advancement and a great stumbling block in the way of social reforms because it keeps economic and intellectual opportunities confined to a certain section of the population only. We would like to take some respite from this oft-trampled path of inquiry and try to gauge what varna could possibly mean and what it could signify. The luxurious lifestyle of the ruling class and wars etc were maintained on the cost of Vaishyas. Their influence can be seen in every aspect of India’s social, political, economic and cultural milieu, from films to politics. The problems of India’s caste system are the same as those of social inequality everywhere in the world, rooted in ego, money and power, not in the yogic values and dharmic practices. The different Varnas (groups or castes) were created from different parts of his body. Caste which is also known as Varna or Jati can be understood as an identification on the basis of birth. Next in the hierarchy are the Vaishyas, or merchant class. India cannot become a truly modern country in the 21st century, if it fails to abolish this discriminatory practice based on caste. Like any branch of knowledge, the essential requirement of History is the pursuit of truth. The origins of the caste system in India and Nepal are not fully known, but castes seem to have originated more than 2,000 years ago. Literally ‘Varna’ means colour and originates from the world ‘Vri’ meaning the choice of one’s occupation. Class system is also a discriminatory system. The Brahminical theory gives divine sanction to the varna system. He is the author of much of what we know about our civilization today. Similarly, there is no mobility in the caste system, whereas the Varna system is mobile. Because law can provide protection from exploitation but it cannot bring attitudinal change in so-called upper castes. Thus, when India got independence and the Constitution was being framed, our founding fathers were of the opinion that such provisions should be added in the text which would lessen the ills of caste system and bring about equality in social field. The Caste System of India A Very Rudimentary Summary Background The caste system in India is an important part of ancient Hindu tradition and dates back to 1200 BCE. And the sanction or validity to this superiority was provided by various religious writings so that no one should question this position. [7] [8] Jāti may be translated as caste, and refers to birth. The reference to a division into four social classes appears in the late Rigvedic Purusha Sukta. Further, the Constitution guarantees protection from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Art.46). Class system is based on many different factors such as wealth, power, prestige, ancestry or birth, religion, and occupation. Where does this system come from? The existing Brahminical ideology gave the necessary religious and legal sanction to the emerging caste based social system. Certain castes still enjoy better social and political privileges in practice, while in theory the constitution guarantees equal treatment. It is very formal, rigid and well defined system. This theory seems to be the most logical theory explaining the origin of varna system. This project will seek to trace the origin of the Varna system via three different theories namely the Western theory, the Brahmanical theory and the Marxist theory. 335). The modern day class and caste conflict in India traces its root to the Varna system. Indian Constitution also provides several provisions to secure rights of socially backward persons and there are laws too in this regard but there is lot to be done still. Given that Rigveda is one of the primary authoritative text in Hinduism and considered absolute truth, if Varna system is really a basis of the caste based discrimination, then it is clear that caste system has deep roots in Hinduism philosophy. To make this point clearer, I will show specific examples where the prevailing ideas of a caste … Caste, any of the ranked, hereditary, endogamous social groups, often linked with occupation, that together constitute traditional societies in South Asia, particularly among Hindus in India. It has had several exploitative and discriminatory effects on our social order throughout the ages. Traditional theory,IIt says the caste system is an extension of the varna system, where the 4 varnas originated from the body of Bramha. Their castes are assigned by birth, and cannot be changed. It’s like a designation given to you without your asking for it. The varna system divides people into hereditary groups with specific limitations and … Ambedkar Reference – Books of Dr. B.R. The earliest known mention of caste is found in the Aryan’s Vedic hymns, perhaps dating from about 1000 B.C.E. Its origin, evolution and existence are peculiar to India. A few of those legislations are as follows: It is another social welfare legislation whose objective is to bring manual scavengers or caste Valmikis or Bhangis in social mainstream and to protect them from various socio-cultural and economic discrimination. The Dashuds may be considered as the ancestors of the Shudras who are the fourth caste in the varna system. 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