Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Plague of Casteism, Part 1

Caste, is quite possibly the next worse thing next to slavery in terms of what society as a whole can do it to its own people. The western world has some idea of caste if you have read the Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Basically, it is a division of society based on birth. In Brave New World, the civilized world is divided into Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. This division is based on ones genetics, the people with the best genes are Alpha, better than average is Beta, average is Gamma and below average is Delta. Each caste can only take certain jobs and mate with people of their own caste. This is what the Indian caste system was like but worse.

The Indian caste system is based on the idea that one is born into a certain caste due to karma from previous lives. There are four castes in Hinduism: Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra. Brahmanas are the priests, philosophers, teachers, intellectuals and religious leaders. Kshatriyas are the warriors, nobles, soliders, kings, rulers and so on. Vaishyas are the farmers, merchants, money lenders, voyagers and so on. Sudras were the artisans, servants, menial workers and laborers. Finally, there are the outcastes or the untouchables, these people were treated just as their names imply. They were given jobs such as sewage cleaners, funeral workers and other such jobs. The castes according to medieval indian society/texts were not allowed to intermarry and in some cases interdine. Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas were given superior education and spiritual roles/rights. Sudras were not allowed to partake in many of the religious training or rituals, let alone untouchables. Untouchables were considered soo polluted that if their shadow fell on you, you would have to take a bath. Next time i'll continue with this.

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