Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 103

A Christian Response to Nietzsche�s The Genealogy of Morals

by Caleb Colley, M.L.A.

Printer version | Email this article

A major debate in apologetics centers around the origins of morality. Those of us
at Apologetics Press have argued that the very existence of morality proves the
existence of God (see Jackson, 1995). On the other hand, Friedrich Nietzsche was �a
German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of
Christianity and traditional morality� (Wicks, 2010). It is important for
Christians to understand Nietzsche�s perspective, as it still is regularly taught
as an important critique of religion (e.g., Solomon, 2008, pp. 177-182).

He wrote The Genealogy of Morals in 15 days (2003 reprint). This work developed
some of the ideas he introduced in previous works (see �The Perspectives of
Nietzsche,� n.d.). A statement of Nietzsche�s nihilist thesis is repeated in the
last line of the work: �I said at the beginning�man will wish Nothingness rather
than not wish at all� (p. 118). Nietzsche concluded that animals and men share the
fundamental ability to exert their will, and that such a willingness is the primary
function of both animals and men (2006, p. 355; see Cavalier, n.d.). This article
will explicate Nietzsche�s position concerning the origins of morality, showing how
they conflict with Christianity. Then, areas of Christian agreement with Nietzsche
will be noted. Finally, his assessment will be critiqued from a Christian

Nietzsche made clear from the outset his goal to assess the relative value of
values. He believed such an assessment is possible via a study of the origins of
morality itself: �[F]or this purpose a knowledge is necessary of the conditions and
circumstances out of which these values grew, and under which they experienced
their evolution and their distortion (morality as a result, as a symptom, as a
mask...as disease, as a misunderstanding; but also morality as a cause, as a
remedy, as a stimulant, as a fetter, as a drug)� (p. 5, parenthetical item in

Nietzsche attached value to that which affirms life rather than anything life-
denying. �No one has, up to the present, exhibited the faintest doubt or hesitation
in judging the �good man� to be of a higher value than the �evil man,� of a higher
value with regard specifically to human progress, utility, and prosperity
generally, not forgetting the future� (p. 6). Nietzsche made clear his conviction,
that human morality prevents man from reaching the �maximum potentiality of the
power and splendour of the human species� (p. 6). In this way, Nietzsche introduced
the possibility that morality may be �the danger of dangers� (p. 6). That which is
of value is that which is beneficial to the race in a physical way, not that which
is �good� by any moral standard (see p. 10). Nietzsche emphatically asked, �Under
what conditions did Man invent for himself those judgments of values, �Good� and
�Evil�? And what intrinsic value do they possess in themselves? Have they up to the
present hindered or advanced human well-being?� (p. 3, emp. added).

As a practical example of his general value system, Nietzsche accepted the

�worthlessness of pity� (p. 5). For Nietzsche, to feel pity is to do two things:
(1) assume a status elevated above the one being pitied, and (2) share the concern
of another. Since neither of these things specifically promotes the strength of
human life and the development of the species, Nietzsche rejected pity (see p. 5).

Nietzsche accounted for the development of morality in a physical world controlled

by nature (developing according to natural selection). Essentially, Nietzsche
believed that good and evil, as concepts, were brought into being by weaker
individuals who developed a clever method of placing guilt�a sense of
indebtedness�upon stronger individuals. This was the method used by the weak to
make themselves equal to those superior in power.

For Nietzsche, the ancient Hebrews embodied this approach. �It was the Jews who, in
opposition to the aristocratic equation (good = aristocratic = happy = loved by the
gods), dared with a terrifying logic to suggest the contrary equation, and indeed
to maintain with the teeth of the most profound hatred (the hatred of weakness)�
(p. 17, parenthetical items in orig.). It is possible for the weak to hate and
eventually overcome the strong in some cases, as evinced by the children of Israel
escaping Egyptian slavery (see p. 17). �[I]t was, in fact, with the Jews that the
revolt of the slaves begins in the sphere of morals; that revolt which has behind
it a history of two millennia, and which at the present day has only moved out of
our sight, because it�has achieved victory� (p. 17).

Similarly, Nietzsche thought that Christians are guilty of perverting the natural
order, because Christianity sprung forth from Judaism. �This Jesus of Nazareth, the
incarnate gospel of love, this �Redeemer� bringing salvation and victory to the
poor, the sick, the sinful�was he not really temptation in its most sinister and
irresistible form, temptation to take the tortuous paths to those very Jewish
values and those very Jewish ideals?� (p. 18). On Nietzsche�s view, only through
Christ has Israel �really obtained the final goal of its sublime revenge, of a far-
seeing, burrowing revenge, both acting and calculating with slowness�so that all
the enemies of Israel�could nibble without suspicion at this very bait� (p. 18).
Christ brought what Nietzsche called the dangerous �revolt of the slaves in morals�
to the whole world (p. 19; cf. p. 21). Nietzsche illustrated his position in a
historical fashion:

The symbol of this fight, written in a writing which has remained worthy of perusal
throughout the course of history up to the present time, is called �Rome against
Judaea, Judaea against Rome.� Hitherto there has been no greater event than that
fight, the putting of that question, that deadly antagonism. Rome found in the Jew
the incarnation of the unnatural, as though it were its diametrically opposed
monstrosity, and in Rome the Jew was held to be convicted of hatred of the whole
human race: and rightly so, in so far as it is right to link the well-being and
future of the human race to the unconditional mastery of the aristocratic values,
of the Roman values (p. 31).

The analogy of Rome versus Judea served Nietzsche because Rome was the very essence
of strength and aristocracy.

Nietzsche thought that part of the reason why the weak won at various times such a
magnificent victory is the strong people�s inability to �take seriously for any
length of time their enemies, their disasters, their misdeeds� (p. 21). The weak,
on the other hand, busy themselves creating an enemy, in order that they may
fulfill their goal of loving their enemies. Weak people call themselves good and
consider their enemies evil (p. 21). �And when the lambs say among themselves,
�Those birds of prey are evil, and he who is as far removed from being a bird of
prey, who is rather its opposite, a lamb,�is he not good?�� (p. 25). According to
Nietzsche, the lambs� assessment is wrong because their standard of good and evil
is imaginary. They should, according to Nietzsche, respect and emulate the strong
because only this way may excellence in the human race be advanced. To accuse the
stronger of wrongdoing is to reject the natural order of human development, and to
attempt to prevent the advent of the �superman.�

Nietzsche located as the ultimate rejection of human growth and progress, and most
obvious promotion of morality, the ascetic ideal. This ideal, according to
Nietzsche, �has no meaning� (p. 71; cf. Wimbush and Valantasis, 1998). �[P]olitical
superiority always resolves itself into the idea of psychological superiority, in
those cases where the highest caste is at the same time the priestly caste, and in
accordance with its general characteristics confers on itself the privilege of a
title which alludes specifically to its priestly function� (p. 15). It is at this
point that �there develops a �good� and a �bad,� in a sense which has ceased to be
merely social� (p. 15). Nietzsche explained how ascetics construe their philosophy
as affirming life (p. 86), but maintained that the ascetic life actually is life-
denying. �[I]t can fairly be stated that it is on the soil of this essentially
dangerous form of human society, the sacerdotal [priestly or relating to
asceticism�CC] form, that man really becomes for the first time an interesting
animal, that it is in this form that the soul of man has in a higher sense attained
depths and become evil� (p. 16). Man is interesting, according to Nietzsche,
because he is able to deny himself (see p. 16), and become self-destructive (see p.

For Nietzsche, the ultimate glorification of suffering came in the concoction of

the notion of �sin�:

Imagine man, suffering from himself, some way or other but at any rate
physiologically, perhaps like an animal shut up in a cage, not clear as to the why
and the wherefore!... [L]o and behold, he gets a hint from...the ascetic priest,
his first hint on the �cause� of his trouble: he must search for it in himself, in
his guiltiness, in a piece of the past, he must understand his very suffering as a
state of punishment.... The sick man has been turned into the �sinner� (p. 102).

As Nietzsche developed his concept of guilt as it relates to the faultiness of the

ascetic ideal, he turned to the origin of a specific, traditionally accepted moral
virtue, namely justice. �[P]unishment developed as a retaliation absolutely
independently of any preliminary hypothesis of the freedom or determination of the
will� (p. 39). According to Nietzsche, the �cardinal moral idea of �ought�
originates from the very material idea of �owe�� (p. 39). There was no abstract
moral ideal of justice (let alone a divinely ordained standard of justice), but
only a sense of retaliation based on debt:

Throughout the longest period of human history punishment was never based on the
responsibility of the evil-doer for his action, and was consequently not based on
the hypothesis that only the guilty should be punished;�on the contrary, punishment
was inflicted in those days for the same reason that parents punish their children
even nowadays, out of anger at an injury that they have suffered, an anger which
vents itself mechanically on the author of the injury�but this anger is kept in
bounds and modified through the idea that every injury has somewhere or other its
equivalent price, and can really be paid off, even though it be by means of pain to
the author (p. 39).

This relationship between �creditor and ower,� according to Nietzsche, is the

origin of traditional justice. The justice Nietzsche would prefer consists of the
strong imposing their will upon the weak (see p. 47). This accords with the
Darwinian principle of the survival of the fittest (cf. Thompson, n.d.).

Nietzsche expands his idea that Christian morality requires destruction: �The two
opposing values, �good and bad,� �good and evil,� have fought a dreadful, thousand-
year fight in the world� (2003, p. 31). Nietzsche also misrepresents Thomas Aquinas
as suggesting that the saved will glory in the destruction of those who will be
condemned (p. 29; cf. Aquinas, pp. 93-94).

Before critiquing Nietzsche, it is essential to note several points from The
Genealogy with which the Christian would agree. First, the ascetic ideal may be
abused and may not be the highest ideal (however, the ascetic ideal does not
necessarily imply nihilism or a glorification of suffering). Second, there is
little debate concerning Nietzsche�s historical point that up to his time, �the
ascetic ideal dominated all philosophy, because Truth was fixed as Being, as God,
as the Supreme Court of Appeal�� (p. 111). Third, Nietzsche is wholly correct in
his minor observation that science is not without presupposition (p. 110).

There are many levels on which Nietzsche�s critique of the Christian conception of
the origins of morality (as far as it goes in The Genealogy) fails. Such problems
may be summarized in three general objections. First, Nietzsche was wrong to base
his moral philosophy solely upon a rejection of the supernatural, and especially a
supernatural origin of morality. Only in such an atheistic framework can
Nietzsche�s ideals succeed, because they presuppose that humanity may continue to
evolve until a superman emerges as the result of many natural selections. However,
Nietzsche merely assumed the naturalist perspective in The Genealogy, without
offering justification.

For Nietzsche, God is imaginary, and heaven is a �phantasmagoria� (2003, p. 28).

This conviction was influenced largely by Darwinism (see p. 6). If, however, it can
be proven that God exists (and it can; see Warren and Flew, 1977), and if there is
a spiritual realm that is superior to the merely natural realm, then Christianity
immediately becomes superior to Nietzsche�s naturalism, because Christianity�s
central focus is helping man to prepare for a greater, immortal existence after
earthly life ends. Furthermore, one wonders why Nietzsche feels it is his right to
critique Christianity, if Christianity is merely an authentic, natural result of
evolution. Perhaps Nietzsche senses that something like Christian morality could
not exist if there is no God.

Perhaps the naturalistic feature of Nietzsche�s critique explains why Nazis used
some of his principles in developing their ideology, which had as its goal the
preservation of a superior race (see Santaniello, 1994 pp. 144ff.). The Nazi goal
was a secular, humanistic objective that required the validity of atheism as a
philosophical ground. Nietzsche ironically rejected antisemitism in his own day, at
least partially due to his assessment of Nazism itself as �a slave revolt� (see
Santaniello, p. 138). Nietzsche�s frustration with ancient Jewry conflicts with his
sympathy for modern Jewry in such a way as to make the philosophy in The Genealogy
inconsistent, not to mention unappealing to anyone wishing to avoid racism.

Second, Nietzsche was wrong when he disallowed that there is any strength other
than brute, physical power. Inherent in this rejection is a contempt for �that
earthly life �in faith,� �in love,� �in hope�� (2003, p. 28). Nietzsche is forced
to deny that there is any good at all in the ascetic ideal. For example, Nietzsche
denies that strength is involved in grace.

The justice which began with the maxim, �Everything can be paid off, everything
must be paid off,� ends with connivance at the escape of those who cannot pay to
escape�it ends, like every good things on earth, by destroying itself.�The self-
destruction of Justice! We know the pretty name it calls itself�Grace! It remains,
as is obvious, the privilege of the strongest, better still, their super-law (p.

In response, consider the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as the primary

expression of grace in the religious context. Christ showed a great deal of
spiritual and psychological (not to mention physical) strength as he willingly
accepted death by crucifixion (Luke 22:39-23:47). Christianity does not exalt
weakness in itself, but neither does it exalt physical strength in itself. Rather,
the human being is to care for his body in order to use it in religious service,
recognizing that spiritual strength is more important than bodily strength (1
Timothy 4:8; cf. John 6:27; Matthew 6:19-34). The New Testament calls for us not to
be supermen, but humble servants who will receive glorification in the life to come
(Matthew 16:26-27; 25:31-40; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Pity, considered in the
context of compassion, is laudable and not a sign of weakness (see Matthew 18:23-
35; 20:34; Mark 1:41; cf. Jonah 4:11).

Third, Nietzsche was wrong in his conviction that Christianity is responsible for
atrocities. While some have evoked the name of Christ as they have carried out
sinful actions, a careful study of the Bible reveals that righteous living is never
responsible for unjust destruction (see Butt, 2009, cf. Colley, 2010). Furthermore,
for all of Nietzsche�s criticism, expression of ascetic ideals frequently has been
characterized by features of stoicism, and many ascetics who style themselves
Christian have been peaceful (Hardman, 1921, pp. 33-34,186ff.). Would Nietzsche
have ascetics assert themselves in the name of fitness, or retreat in peacefulness
in order to absolve religion of the charge of vicious wrongdoing?

Nietzsche�s naturalist account of the origins of morality turns the biblical
account on its head, and may seem plausible on first reading. However, further
study reveals that it is based upon false assumptions. Nietzsche thinks the
biblical God is �god of the sick, God as a spider, God as spirit...among the most
corrupt concepts of the divine the world has ever accepted� (1990, p. 140).
Christians must be prepared to answer such charges, while wishing that Nietzsche
had taken more care to examine the contours of God�s nature and of the goodness He
prescribes, and to conform his life and philosophical work to them.

Sin embargo, Nietzsche va m�s all� en su cr�tica al darwinismo. Para �l es un error

evidente de Darwin el suponer que en la �lucha por la existencia� vence siempre el
m�s fuerte:

�Nada me sorprende tanto, al alzar una mirada sobre los grandes destinos de los
hombres, como encontrarme delante de m� lo contrario de lo que hoy ven Darwin y su
escuela, o de lo que quieren ver: la selecci�n a favor de los m�s fuertes, de los
mejor logrados, el progreso de la especie. Precisamente es lo contrario lo que se
toca con la mano: la supresi�n de los casos felices, la inutilizaci�n de los tipos
mejor logrados, el inevitable gravitar de los tipos medios y hasta de los tipos
inferiores a la medida.�[1]

Nietzsche considera que no hay una progresi�n desde el m�s d�bil hacia el m�s
fuerte; por el contrario, para �l es evidente que los m�s d�biles triunfan sobre
los m�s fuertes:

�los m�s fuertes y los m�s afortunados no son mucho cuando tienen en contra suyo
los instintos del reba�o, la pusilanimidad de los d�biles y la preponderancia del

Las palabras de Nietzsche est�n claramente influenciadas por su sensaci�n de que

est� rodeado de una humanidad que aun no est� preparada para su filosof�a, para el
asumir �la muerte de Dios� como un reto a vivir con la frente en alto, creando los
propios valores, y dejando de depender de valores externos, trascendentes e
inexistentes. Nietzsche ve a su alrededor que es el cristianismo y su �instinto de
reba�o� el que ha triunfado. La humanidad ha seguido una ruta de auto-degeneraci�n,
y no de constante superaci�n, no de constante evoluci�n (como propone Darwin).

A mi juicio, esta cr�tica al darwinismo est� condicionada por una mala comprensi�n
de lo que en el darwinismo se entend�a por la victoria y supervivencia del m�s
fuerte. El m�s fuerte en el darwinismo es simplemente aquel que progresa
fisiol�gicamente sobre el que no lo hace. Para Nietzsche el fuerte y el d�bil est�n
siendo entendidos mucho m�s all� de las disposiciones biol�gicas. �l entiende al
fuerte y al d�bil de acuerdo a las categor�as de su filosof�a. Lo d�bil no es
entendido por Nietzsche como lo que tiene poca capacidad para sobrevivir
biol�gicamente, sino como lo que tiene poca capacidad para ser un esp�ritu libre,
para tomar las riendas de la existencia, para comprender que ella carece de
esencias trascendentales. La sensaci�n que a m� me queda de esta cr�tica
nietzscheana al darwinismo es que en ella no hay una verdadera referencia al
darwinismo. La cr�tica sirve para comprender qu� es lo que Nietzsche quiere decir,
pero pareciera estar jugando otro �juego de lenguaje� que el que juega el
darwinismo. Nietzsche habla de fuerza en el sentido de las fuerzas emocionales o
espirituales, el darwinismo habla de fuerza en el sentido de fuerzas fisiol�gicas
formadas naturalmente. Esto se hace evidente cuando Nietzsche acusa a Darwin de
olvidar que la verdadera fuerza del ser humano radica m�s en el esp�ritu que en la
fisiolog�a[3]. Los esp�ritus libres no requieren de fuerza fisiol�gica para
superarse, requieren de fuerza espiritual. Aqu� es evidente que Nietzsche se posa
en un campo totalmente diferente de aquel sobre el que est� posado el darwinismo.
El progreso en el darwinismo no se entiende en el mismo sentido que en Nietzsche.
En este �ltimo �progreso� se est� entendiendo como una evoluci�n que tiene que ver
m�s con la autonom�a y la liberaci�n que con la supervivencia.

La sensaci�n que me queda de la cr�tica que hace Nietzsche es de un escupitajo que

cree haberse direccionado en una direcci�n determinada pero que en realidad no roza
siquiera a aquello que quer�a humillar. Aun as�, la cr�tica vale para entender c�mo
Nietzsche est� en una dimensi�n muy, muy distinta a en la que est� el darwinismo,
por lo que las comparaciones en este respecto no podr�an ser hechas; no porque haya
contradicci�n, sino porque no se refieren a la misma cosa: Nietzsche no se da
cuenta de eso, �l cree estar asestando un golpe en lo profundo del darwinismo (y
probablemente este tambi�n crey� que estaba siendo golpeado).

What Did Friedrich Nietzsche Take from Charles Darwin?

Posted on December 26, 2009 by Santi Tafarella
Answer: A lot. Most specifically, contingency (chance), and the implications of
contingency upon meaning.

Prior to Charles Darwin there were a lot of 19th century people who believed that
evolution must have occurred in some form, but they thought about evolution in
theistic, deistic, or Platonic terms. In other words, evolution had occurred, but
it was guided by telos (some sort of purpose).

But here�s the kicker.

Friedrich Nietzsche saw that Charles Darwin had landed upon a mechanism, natural
selection, that accounted for evolution absent purpose. And Nietzsche saw that the
metaphysical consequences of this discovery could not be more profound. Darwin, by
putting an evolutionary mechanism in place of telos had irretrievably set human
beings into the realm of the contingent. Darwin had divorced life�and by extension,
humankind�from metaphysics and wedded it to history. Thus human morality was no
more grounded in some transcendent purpose than any other natural phenomenon.
Instead of tracing morality to heaven, Nietzsche traced it to earth�to the
historically contingent (hence Nietzsche�s On the Geneology of Morals ). Here�s how
one of Nietzsche�s seminal biographers, R.J. Hollingdale, put it in his now
classic, and still much read and praised biography, Nietzsche: The Man and His
Philosophy (Cambridge, 1965, rev. 1999, 72-73):

Darwin had shown that the higher animals and man could have evolved in just the way
they did entirely by fortuitous variations in individuals. Natural selection was
for Nietzsche essentially evolution freed from every metaphysical implication:
before Darwin�s simple but fundamental discovery it had been difficult to deny that
the world seemed to be following some course laid down by a directing agency; after
it, the necessity for such a directing agency disappeared, and what seemed to be
order could be explained as random change. �The total nature of the world,�
Nietzsche wrote in Die frohliche Wissenschaft, �is . . . to all eternity chaos� (FW
109), and this thought, basic to his philosophy, arose directly from his
interpretation of Darwin.

The implications of this were enormous. Hollingdale again (73):

Nothing that existed in the phenomenal world could have come from �outside�: if the
universe were intelligible, it must be intelligible from within. Part of that
intelligibility had been expounded by Darwin: the �divine� attributes of man had in
reality descended to him from the animals. Man was in touch with no �beyond�, and
was no different from any other creature. But, as God had been the meaning of the
universe, so man had been the meaning of the earth. Now God and man, as hitherto
understood, no longer existed. The universe and the earth were without meaning. The
sense that meaning had evaporated was what seemed to escape those who welcomed
Darwin as a benefactor of mankind. Nietzsche considered that evolution presented a
correct picture of the world, but that it was a disastrous picture. His philosophy
was an attempt to produce a new world-picture which took Darwinism into account but
was not nullified by it.

And where did Nietzsche, in the light of Darwin, go to produce his �new world-
picture�? Answer: pre-Socratic Greece. Nietzsche saw in pre-Socratic Greece a
period in history comparable to the post-Darwinian late 19th century. Pre-Socratic
Greece was a time prior to the Platonic idea of telos (just as the late 19th
century was a time after the collapse of Platonic telos ). As Hollingdale puts it

Philosophy from Plato onwards had been founded upon suppositions that were no
longer valid, and to find philosophers who had faced their problems without
presuppositions one had to go back to Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Socrates.

And what did Nietzsche find there? Survival of the fittest and cruelty (74-75):

Not only did Nietzsche discover the nature of his dilemma among the Greeks, he also
discovered the key to its solution. Long before he had formulated the theory of the
will to power he had discovered that the driving force behind the culture of Hellas
had been contest, agon, the striving to surpass. . . . The Greeks were cruel,
savage, and predatory; yet they had become the most humane people of antiquity, the
inventors of philosophy, science and tragedy, the first and finest European nation.

In short, concludes Hollingdale, it was Darwin, and his leading of Nietzsche to

antique Greece, that led to mature Nietzschean philosophy (78):

Darwin and the Greeks, then, and not Wagner and Schopenhauer, were the starting-
point of Nietzsche�s philosophy; and the reason his early works represent a false
start is that he sought to interpret the Darwinian problem and the evidence of
ancient Greece in the light of Wagnerian aesthetics and Schopenhaueran metaphysics.
Not until he had put both behind him did he enter into his own proper field.

And what Nietzsche also put behind him, in his attempt to work out the consequences
of Darwin�s discovery, was �slave morality� (Christianity) and democracy. As Thomas
Nagel, in his essay on Nietzsche in his recent excellent collection of essays, puts
it (37-38):

The conflict of perspectives and competing wills that is the true reality is
obscured and flattened out by the social imposition of a common standpoint, in
language, thought, morality, and politics, which presents itself as simply or
cosmically true by concealing its true sources. The inquiry into the geneology of
these ruling ideas is therefore a vital part of their unmasking. The proposed
geneology of Christian morality, as the expression not of universal love but of the
slave revolt of the base against the noble, motivated by fear, hatred, and envy, is
Nietzsche�s most famous thesis, expounded in Beyond Good and Evil and On the
Geneology of Morals. . . . He regarded modern morality, which speaks with the voice
of the community or even of humanity as a whole, as particularly dangerous, because
it requires suppression of the cruelty and recklessness that distinguishes the
strong individual. The height of self-realization cannot be reached by someone who
is too concerned with the reactions of others, or his effects on them. There is a
fundamental conflict between the pursuit of individual creativity and perfection
and the claims of the general welfare.

For this reason, Nietzsche was not a democrat. Already at the time of writing The
Birth of Tragedy, he defended slavery as a condition of the possibility of great
cultural achievement by the few, as in ancient Athens. And he defended its modern
counterpart, the economic oppression of the masses, for the same reason. He opposed
shortening the workday from twelve hours to eleven when it was proposed in Basel,
he approved of child labor, and he opposed the educational groups for workers. When
in 1871 he heard the false rumor that the Paris communards had pillaged the Louvre,
he called it �the worst day of my life.� Equality meant nothing to him; he believed
it would inevitably push everything down to the lowest common denominator, that of
the �democratic herd animal.� Life, he insisted, is tragic; it is necessary to
choose between justice and aesthetic perfection. And in his latest writings he
expressed fantasies of annihilation, with �degenerates� being got rid of to make
room for the highest type of man.

So Charles Darwin�s survival of the fittest brought Nietzsche to antique Greece

(prior to democracy), and thence to his notion of the lone and cruel Ubermensch,
the �highest type of man�, the creative supremacist triumphant over the degenerate
masses. Though Nietzsche might�and I emphasize might here�have regarded the Nazis
as (in Nagel�s phrasing) �an extreme manifestation of the herd instinct� (39), it�s
hardly surprising that the aesthetic loving and scientistic Nazis found in him�and
in Charles Darwin�key pieces to the puzzle of their intellectual justification for

What is the Indian caste system and how does it work?

It didn't develop in one shot and evolved over time by merging many different
social groups. The caste system is not a well-defined entity, but an amorphous
grouping of people with different origins that all got mixed over time. Indian
varna system is also very similar to the Confucianist system of grouping
occupations into 4 groups [Four occupations] - scholars, farmers, artisans and
traders and systems elsewhere the world.

Humans, like many other mammals, live in various social groups. We often build a
web of relationship known as the Kinship. Initially we were all in small bands or
tribes & we were not in close contact with other groups. As we kept coming together
to form more complex societies, some wanted to organize & formalize the group.

Band - Bands are the smallest units. It is an informal group of a few dozen people
who work together. It might not have a leader.
Clan - This is a slightly more matured group with a belief in a common origin &
descent. In India, this roughly translates to Gotra. For instance, my family
believes that we are descent of the 3 saints of Viswamitra-Ahamarshana-Koushika.
Such clans were in most ancient human societies. The clans formed a strong kinship
& bonding among themselves. Also, most clans thought of others in the clan as
brothers/sisters & thus would not marry within the clan. The Khaps in Haryana take
to this the extreme & can even give death sentences to those who marry within the
Tribe - Mulitiple clans can come together to form a tribe & tribes can often be
quite well structured. They can have their own leaders & build common cultural
practices. In many ancient societies, people married within the same tribe. In
short, you marry out of a clan and within a tribe. In India, this roughly
corresponds to Jati.
Nations - Tribes formed even bigger groups named the nation. For instance, in the
Battle of the Ten Kings the tribal groups formed the nation of Bharatas that won
over the confederation of 10 tribes in north India. Thus, we call our nation
Division of labour - As we started forming civilizations, we also found it quite
useful to divide work. Thus, some would produce milk, some would farm, others would
weave etc. Like in other civilizations, India had this division of labor too. These
divisions then got superimposed over the much older clan & tribal divisions.
Some of the tribes/jatis are as big as most nations. For instance, the peasant
caste of Jats numbers about 83 million people - a little bigger than Germany &
Mongolia combined. Other castes like Yadavs, Minas and Rajputs also have millions
of people have built a formidable political force.

Building Social Hierarchies

Almost all societies eventually turned into building hierarchies in a pyramid

system. The tribes had no ranking system before this & somehow people felt that
there needs to be a rank. Such rankings are somewhat present in our mind always.

For instance, if you ask a kid to rank the professions of plumber, soldier, doctor
and shopkeeper in terms of attractiveness/usefulness, he/she might instinctively
say doctor > soldier > shopkeeper > plumber. We have some universal notions of the
relative worth of different professions & this bias reflected in the social

Around 3500 years ago, the various tribes that were creating the Rig Veda was
grappling with a way to organize all the different systems - since there were 100s
of tribal groups & occupation groups. Rig Veda did it this way.

Brahmins (with all the different clans who were in priest related occupations)
Kshatriyas (the warriors)
Vaishyas (merchants)
Shudras (workers)
Such a pyramid organization was not unique to the Rig Vedis. Plenty of societies
around the world had stratified their society. Europe had Estates of the realm.

Egypt had 8 levels with more fine grained.

Japan also had 8.

Mesopotamia had 6.

While north India had a more formalized social stratification systems, south India
didn't get as formalized. It turned out to be quite binary - brahmins and non-
brahmins. Only recently many jatis like Reddys, Thevars and Lingayats started
grappling with where they fit into the varna system.

In short, there was no single system and people often made up the rules on the go.
Many also used obscure texts like a 2000 year old Manu Smriti [that is hardly read
by anybody] to define their position in the outdated hierarchy.

Dealing with the "outsiders"

Now, the question is what to do with those who were not part of their civilization.
Almost every civilization thought of people outside their own culture/civilization
as inferior and almost inhuman. Romans called the Germans, Scandinavians and others
as "barbarians".

Throughout the world, societies marked the older natives as outcasts. Burakumin
[Japan], Baekjeong [Korea], Tanka people [China], Cagot [France], Al-Akhdam &
Yazidis [West Asia] Romani people [Gypsies of Europe], Aboriginal Australians &
Native Americans were all treated as "untouchables" and outcasts. A lot of it stem
from them having a different practice, different color or due to the perceived
inferiority of their civilizations. India's equivalent of this discriminated people
is the Dalits. Their fight for rights is similar to the other groups all over the

The ancient Indians put the others into different buckets:

Mleccha - There were many types of "barbarians" from outside of the Indian
subcontinent - You can click through some of these groups: Sakas, Huns, Yavanas,
Kambojas, Pahlavas, Bahlikas and Rishikas
Dasa - These were the outsiders within India, but were not a part of the rig vedic
civilization. These groups also had a superior culture but were eventually subdued
by the Vedic people.
These "outsiders" were often treated inhumanly & these were considered out of
bounds for the Indian civilization. While the rest of the world eventually accepted
many of their "barbarians" [like Italians becoming friendly with Germans and
French] in India the social classifications of the yore became set in stone.

The fight for equal rights for black people & native americans in the US is still
going on. In case of ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia, the civilizations themselves

Strength of the Tribes

In most parts of the world, tribal units generate the highest degree of passion.
For instance, Hitler and various German leaders before him worked hard for
centuries to bring all the Germanic tribes together. Africa is rife with 100s of
tribal warfare. Scotland almost split with the rest of UK as they value their
identity more than their nationstate. In the US, politics often happen at the level
of races - Democrats often get the blacks, asians & hispanics, while Republicans
get sizable whites.

India too faces the strength of the tribes. Many tribes/jatis have a strong
political identity & a pseudo warfare is constantly going on among many powerful

How the Caste system became harmful

If we just say doctors > plumbers, it is somewhat harmful, but still tolerable.
However, if we combine that with clan blased work [for instance, some clans would
take up medicine and others would take up plumbing] it gets quite harmful. In
various parts of the world, the strata and guild formation existed somewhat
separate. In India, these two got merged & that is the reason for all that harm. It
means that some will always be doctors & since doctors are considered superior,
they will always be a group who are born superior.
To prevent this, we need to both prevent clan based occupation selection and also
understand the dignity of labor - every type of labor is good for the society.
Doctors are no more important than plumbers or farmers.


The Indian caste system is a complex amalgamation of many different social groups.
It includes clans called gotras, tribes & ethnicity called jatis and a defined
social hierarchy in Rig Veda called varnas.

None of these were unique to India and is present in most civilizations. What is
unique to India is how rigid these social classifications have become and how
immobile the different strata are.

While many educated Indians have little trouble understanding why the social
stratifications [varna] are outdated & harmful, they still have passions for their
tribe [jati] - as a tribe is a unit of culture. This is also true in many parts of
the world. For instance, while English, Welsh, Irish and Scots may live in the same
nation of UK, there is still some strong identity between those individual tribes
[we got some glimpse of it in the Scottish referendum process]. In the same way,
while Blacks, Whites, Asians and Hispanics may all be the citizens of the US, each
have their own culture and often marry within their group. You can see such
tribal/ethnic identities in Europe, Africa and Asia.

India is sort of many nations superimposed into one & the tribal passions that come
from being a particular caste can be quite high.

This answer is based on a classic historical investigation into Indian Culture,

penned by Maria Misra : Vishnu's crowded Temple, which deals, among other things,
quite extensively and deeply with this topic - that of caste divisions and their
modern interpretations.

This seminal piece of investigation belongs on every Indologist's book shelf, its
downsides notwithsatnding! This is a book I am currently reading, and is a page
turner, a stupendous, brutally blunt and searing analysis of Colonial Brutality.
Colonialism's problems are thought to be economic in nature...

Here is a work proves beyond all reasonable doubt that Casteism, Regionalism,
Nepotism and Corruption are all directly due to colonial policies - India as we
know it today is a direct result of The British Rapists. Be it Casteism and its
evils, or the fractured caste-ridden politics, or be it Hindu-Muslim Divide
{Covered in Other Indian Works Extensively; peripherally mentioned here}- each and
every thing of the Modern Day can be traced back to The British Raj...

This is a tale of how the British and The White Man destroyed everything in India -
Industry, Agriculture, Culture, Arts, Societal Structure - everything. This is a
brutal no-holds barred account of the reality...

One that is not well known even in India, which believes Casteism to be an ancient
evil, little realising that the scenes we see today have their direct origin in the
horror of Colonialism...

This answer is not based on internet records, or websites, but on a deep reading of
more than 30 books on Indian History spanning Vedic times to the Modern Day Kargil
War. These books are based on authentic records, and provide crystal clear proofs
of their sometimes explosive content. IMO, there is no replacement for books -
provided they mention the source clearly in the Bibliography, and provide well-
constructed end-notes with links to authentic official proofs. Most of the books I
recommend pass these tests

This is not conjecture - other famous authors and investigators have dealt with
this quite extensively; for example -

Book Review: Becoming Indian by Pavan K Varma by Vishal Kale on reflectionsvvk

This book, Becoming Indian, proves with numbers taken from authentic colonial
records, how Indian Arts were summarily destroyed, with planning and forethought.
The records leave no room for any doubt whatsoever; the Britishers habit of
metilculous recordkeeping has exposed them fully and finally.


Coming to casteism, I point everyone to yet another resource, which also uses
documented and authentic records to raise the veil from the reality. This book is
Operation Red Lotus by Parag Tope -

Book Review : Operation Red Lotus by Vishal Kale on reflectionsvvk

I am giving these references at that start, since my claims are nothing short of
shocking to the uninitiated, Tejasvita Apte being a notable exception

Refer to the endnotes in this book above {Red Lotus}. There is a document sheet
from late 1700s India, a schooling record, maintained castewise by the East India
Company. This shows a stunning reality : equal representation of all castes in
schools; this data snapshot is conclusive evidence that there is a lot more than
what meets the eyes.

This brings me to the current book - which examines in excruciating detail how the
British created the entire modern caste edifice by their interventions, which were
not for purposes of good or benefit; the games they played led to a massive
upheaval in the entire structure of society as it existed. I cannot state in a
quora answer what has taken 4 chapters spanning 200+ pages, and innumerable records
and historical documents. You have no choice but to read the book. I can only give
an excerpt, and try to summarise, as I have attempted to above.

This excerpt is taken from the Chapter Topical Gothic; a reference to its
bibliography shows a literally endless series of references : I stopped counting at
52. {This is a habit with me - before I recommend a book, I always check its
sources}. These references are from the period 1794 - 2000+. We are talking about a
detailed investigative paper here, not a newspaper article.

"The Casteization of Indian Society was not simply a by-product of of taxation

policy, or the machinations of wily brahmans' an enthusiasm for the application of
science to government also drove the craze to order and classify society.

This data gathering was not merely a sign of idle curiosity, it was directly linked
to power.... The Army was issued caste handbooks... have detailed accounts of the
physical, mental and moral capacities...other beneficiaries of the new
classification were the members of the village councils or Panchayats, charged with
Tax Collection... membership of whom was determined by high caste status... "

It is a fact that before the British, the caste construct was fluid and
interchangeable, as exposed by Tajesvita Apte here on Quora. That is, howsoever
much anyone may deny it, a simple truth. The British intervened with their coloured
glasses, and created a system of differential treatment of various classes and
castes, differential economic treatment and power-sharing, combined with labelling
of some tribes as criminal {who could be imprisoned on suspicion alone}.

This led to a cascade impact, as a caste identity became the key to economic,
political and social status under the new dispensation. This is not conjecture; the
books make it plain that this is a British Creation. Internet resources can be
found; but you will not find the corroborative evidence in the internet, which can
only be gleaned from a deep study of books. Please read the material above. A Quora
answer will take weeks to write; this is an extensive matter spanning taxation,
agrarian policies, census rules and methods, religion, international politics and
economic planning in the 1700s and 1800s.

The one challenge to this is genetic studies, which look at inbreeding within
castes to jump to the conclusion that the British did not create caste. Well, The
British did not create caste; they only solidified it into the current form. The
presence of strong social groups is a known fact in India. The presence of a strong
class of traders is also a known fact, for example, with thousand-year-old trading
empires along caste lines, as superbly analysed by Romila Thapar in her book Early
India in one entire detailed chapter.

The only point that the pre-colonial castre construct was far more fluid, and non-
determinative in nature..

Please read the books for more. I cannot state more on Quora, or on my blog; which
I why, despite having read these books for some time, I have not placed it on my 3-
year-old blog. Interested parties can visit my blogger site Reflections or my quora
blog reflectionsvvk where I have reviewed more than a hundred books, including
around 56 on Indian History, Economics and Current Affairs...

cc Balaji Viswanathan

A humble request: there is no substitute to books and reading. I am a techie, a

person in telecom whose lifeblood is the internet. But for some things, you cannot
beat books.


For a complete analysis spanning socio-economic and political aspects, read this
blog post : Casteism - A Fresh and Objective Analysis by Vishal Kale on

Cast System - Material Diversity, Spiritual Equality

Caste system is probably among the most talked about and most misunderstood current
social controversies; misunderstood because it is based on a false premise � caste
determination by birth. .

The Social Body � Discrimination or Cooperation?

Interestingly, the original Vedic scriptures don�t consider birth � the basis of
casteism discrimination in modern Hinduism � as the criterion of social
classification. The Bhagavad-gita (4.13) declares that this social division, known
as varnashrama, was based on qualities and activities (guna-karma). The Rig Veda
(10.90.12) compares society to the human body. The brahmanas (thinkers and
teachers) are compared to the head, the kshatriyas (governors and protectors) to
the arms, vaishyas (producers and traders) to the belly and shudras (workers and
general assistants) to the feet. In our body, one part may be positioned higher
than the other, but that is just to facilitate its optimum contribution to the
body. Ultimately all parts need nourishment and are necessary for proper bodily
functioning. If any part is neglected or malfunctions, the whole body suffers.
Similarly, in the social body, brahmanas (determined by qualities, not birth) are
higher in the social hierarchy, but that is just to ensure optimum social
utilization of their intellectual abilities. Ultimately, every class is valued for
its contribution to society. If any class is exploited or is lethargic, the entire
society is adversely affected. Importantly, these four social classes, known as
varnas, are not discriminatory man-made divisions. Essentially they are four human
types found in every human society. Most people exhibit qualities that reflect an
overlapping of these categories, but one occupational inclination eventually
predominates. Interestingly, we find similar divisions in a modern MNC �
researchers, managers, financers and workers. This division is not discriminatory,
but fair, because people are classified not forcibly, but as per their abilities.

Intriguingly the Greek philosopher Plato in his The Republic echoes this principle.
Though he mentions three classes instead of four � philosopher-kings, warriors
(called as auxiliaries), and merchants and workers together as one, his basis for
classification is the same � natural propensities. He compares rulers to gold,
auxiliaries to silver, and those in the third class to brass and iron.

Engaging people as per their psychophysical natures has several benefits:

1. Provided individual job satisfaction and security

In Vedic times, experienced elders would identify the natural inclination of a

child and train him accordingly, thus empowering him to excel in his vocation and
thus become emotionally satisfied and economically secure.

2. Avoided needless competition and maximized social productivity

When people are trained according to their natures, all members of society �
teachers, administrators, traders, artisans � pursue their respective professions
without having to compete with each other and contribute constructively to society.

Nowadays, when certain professions � engineering and medicine, for example � are
glamorized, everyone chases after them. This leads to:

Students in those fields undergo intense, often maniac, competition. Even

successful students fear unemployment as too many candidates vie for too few jobs.
When students are educated contrary to their natures, they are unable to develop
the competence expected of their profession, leading to harm or even havoc. Most of
us have heard of incompetent doctors prescribing wrong medicines. Dearth of talent
in other fields leads to decreased overall social productivity.

3. Satisfies everyone�s material needs in an efficient and uncomplicated manner.

Communities whose members specialize in different fields can trade internally and
become self-sufficient, thus avoiding the complications attendant with external

Sir Sidney Low in his book, A Vision of India refutes the stereotyped portrayal of
varnashrama as an elitist, exclusivist social order:

�There is no doubt that it (caste) is the main cause of the fundamental stability
and contentment by which Indian society has been braced for centuries against the
shocks of politics and the cataclysms of Nature. It provides every man with his
place, his career, his occupations, his circle of friends. It makes him, at the
outset, a member of a corporate body; it protects him through life from the canker
of social jealousy and unfulfilled aspirations; it ensures him companionship and a
sense of community with others in like case with himself. The caste organization is
to the Hindu his club, his trade union, his benefit society, his philanthropic

How Did Varnashrama Avoid Exploitation?

1. All people � irrespective of their social position � were spiritually equal as

servitors of God.

The lower castes would serve the upper castes, but the upper castes would serve God
� visibly. The brahmanas � the socially most powerful class before whom even the
kings would bow down and offer handsome charity � would prefer voluntary material
poverty to not be distracted from their absorption in devotional service to God,
studying and teaching of scriptures and performance of sacrifices. A well-known
example is Chanakya Pandit, who was instrumental in installing Chandragupta Maurya
as the monarch of Northern medieval India, lived in a simple hut. Similarly the
kings would understand and demonstrate that the kingdom belonged to God and they
were servitor-caretakers on his behalf. For example, as per time-honored
traditions, many kings would personally sweep the streets in front of the
processions carrying the Deities. When people would see, �Our masters are as much
servants as we are, albeit serving in a different role�, they would unhesitatingly
execute their role, decided according to their God-given talents. Envy and conflict
arises only when people see, �I am being deprived and another is enjoying at my

2. The most powerful social classes had to be the most renounced.

It was imperative for the upper castes � the brahmanas and kshatriyas � to renounce
the world at around fifty and focus fully on self-realization. This not only
ensured that they successfully achieved the spiritual goal of life, but also
checked them from becoming exploitative.

Thus the seemingly discriminatory varnashrama system functions by enlightened

cooperation. Throughout history, thinkers have tried various means to organize
human society to maximize individual and social satisfaction and growth. In our
times, the left attempted � at least in principle � to bring about social equality
by fiat. But the differences vis-�-vis attitudes and aptitudes among people are
inescapable. The communist attempt at artificial equality failed as it choked the
talented by rewarding them no more than the mediocre. The right provided an open
field for the resourceful, leading to industrial and economic growth � and
cutthroat competition, untrammeled greed and exploitation of the needy by the
wealthy. The varnashrama system ingeniously reconciled and integrated the absolute
spiritual equality of all people with their relative material differences. Gerald
Heard in his book Man, the Master calls varnashrama as �organic democracy� � �the
rule of the people who have organized themselves in a living and not a mechanical
relationship; where instead of all men being said to be equal, which is a lie, all
men are known to be of equal value, could we but find the position in which their
potential contribution could be released and their essential growth so pursued.�

Mark Tully, the BBC correspondent in New Delhi, explains the superiority of
varnashrama over the current seemingly equal social system in his book No Full
Stops in India, �The alienation of many young people in the West and the loneliness
of the old show the suffering that egalitarianism inflicts on those who do not win,
the superficiality of an egalitarianism which in effect means equal opportunities
for all to win and then ignores the inevitable losers. For all that, the elite of
India have become so spellbound by egalitarianism that they are unable to see any
good in the only institution which does provide a sense of identity and dignity to
those who are robbed from birth of the opportunity to compete on an equal footing �

Birth-Right Made It All Wrong

The caste-by-birth idea � the bane of Hindu casteism � is decidedly non-Vedic. The
Vedic texts abound with examples of qualified people, even if low-born, being
elevated to respectable places in society.

The Chandogya Upanishad narrates how Gautam rsi declared a maidservant�s son,
Satyakama Jabali, to be a brahmana as the boy was unhesitatingly truthful � the
hallmark of a true brahmana.

Furthermore, Suta Gosvami, Kanaka, Kanchipurna, Tukaram, Thiruvalluvar, Sura dasa

and Haridasa Thakura were all revered as saints, despite being low-born.

A famous Vedic aphorism reiterates: janamana jayate shudra samskarad bhaved dvijah
veda-pathanat bhavet viprah brahma janatiti brahmana �By birth everyone is a
shudra, meaning everyone is unqualified. By spiritual initiation, one becomes a
twice-born, that is, one begins his spiritual life. By study of Vedic scriptures,
one becomes a learned scholar. By realization of the Absolute Truth alone does one
become a brahmana.�

Plato adds an interesting dimension to his social classification: golden parents

will tend to have golden children, as silver parents will naturally have silver
children, and so on. Similarly, in varnashrama often the occupation of a person
would turn out to be the varna of his birth � partially due to the childhood
upbringing and training. So, a child born in a brahmana family would generally
become a qualified brahamana. Consequently the varna would normally be determined
by birth, but it could be retained only by behavior. So if a son of a brahmana did
not develop brahminical qualities, he would no longer be accepted as a brahmana,
but as a brahma-bandhu, unqualified relative of a brahmana. Conversely if the son
of a shudra exhibited brahminical qualities, he would be accepted as a brahmana.
Plato also recommends this flexibility. If an iron parent has a golden child, then,
says Plato, we must acknowledge that a golden child born to an iron parent, for
example, is indeed golden�his birthright should be disregarded in favor of his
natural quality.

Then how did the widespread perversion of caste-by-birth originate? In medieval

times, a coterie of brahma-bandhus, wanting to hold on to brahminical privileges
without developing the required character, started claiming that caste was decided
by birth and was unchangeable. Further they misused their social influence to
deprive lower castes of access to the practices of self-realization. And thus began
the unfortunate history of casteist discrimination. Genuine Vedic teachers
categorically disown this caste-by-birth system as non-Vedic and label it as , the
demoniacally-conceived system. Author Micheal Pym echoes in his book The Power of
India: �Caste is the secret of that amazing stability which is characteristic of
the Indian social structure. It is the strength of Hinduism. Naturally, it can be
abused. The moment a Brahmin treats a sweeper cruelly because he is a sweeper, he
departs from his Brahminhood. He becomes a usurper and a social danger. And in due
course, he will have to pay for this mistake. Because men are imperfect, and
because power is a deadly intoxicant, such abuses may and do occur, but they are
not inherent in the institution � they are contrary to its principles, though they
may be inherent in the make up of the individual.

Spirituality is the Solution

The ultimate purpose of the original varnashrama, known as daivi varnashrama, the
divinely-ordained system, was not just material social organization, but systematic
spiritual elevation. As eternal souls, beloved sons and servants of God, Krishna,
we can attain eternal happiness only in His devotional service. This selfless
divine love enables us to live as happily as is ever possible in this world and
finally transports us to our original home, the spiritual world, where we live in
eternal ecstasy, reciprocating love with Krishna. Varnashrama offers the best
springboard to catapult us to our spiritual birthright. Hence cultivating genuine
spirituality � Krishna consciousness � and returning back to the spiritual world is
the only real solution to all problems, including the problem of discrimination and

Undoubtedly in this world, discrimination must be prevented and redressed. But is

varnashrama its cause? Untouchability and similar Hindu inequities are portrayed as
the ultimate horror, yet racial groups like American Indians or Australian
Aborigines in modern societies were treated worse than untouchables; they were
isolated, crowded into reserves, where they could only atrophy and disappear.

Many countries today are witnessing xenophobia. And discrimination, if we may use
the word, based on economic power is ubiquitous in the current consumer economy.

What causes discrimination? Almost always materialism. When people imagine that
material things � wealth and comforts, power and prestige, positions and
possessions � are the only way to happiness, they seek to acquire these by any
means. As we live in a world of limited resources and unlimited wants, plenty for
one causes scarcity for another. When the powerful become materially-minded, they
encroach upon the quota of the weak, leading to social inequities. Depending on
time, place and circumstances, this materialistic agenda masks itself in racial,
nationalistic, religious � and casteist rationalizations.

The antidote for materialism is spirituality, which provides inner fulfillment and
cures the exploitative mentality. And varnashrama is the best social order to
foster spiritual enlightenment and experience. Therefore, while striving to remove
the cataract of casteism, let us ensure that we don�t pluck out the eye of Vedic
spiritual wisdom. When the whole world is recognizing the value of ancient Indian
wisdom in the form of yoga, meditation, vastushastra and chanting of holy names,
let us not reject the profound and universal spiritual teachings of ancient India
while correcting the social evils of Hinduism. Late British historian reminds us,
�It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will
have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the
human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in history, the only way of
salvation for mankind is the Indian way.�

Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, remarked, �Without the awakening of divine
consciousness in the individual, there is no use of crying for world peace.�
Therefore Srila Prabhupada declared his mission to the West to be �finding
brahmanas.� Far from reviving the demoniac caste-by-birth perversion, he wanted to
revitalize the modern social body with its missing head. He wanted to create, among
the so-called lowborn Westerners as well as everywhere else, a class of genuine
spiritual intellectuals, by education, culture and training. Hundreds of such
spiritually transmuted intellectuals are pioneering a non-sectarian spiritual
revival all over the world. When these detached devoted leaders guide society,
their examples, words and policies will eradicate the material greed that causes
all inequities. Hence practicing and sharing Krishna consciousness constitutes
egalitarianism in its most pure, potent and practical form, the panacea for all
forms of discrimination.
It honestly isn't all that different from the American class system, or the class
system in other cultures.

More rigid, ritualized, codified, fine-grained and arguably more oppressive, but
basically the same sort of thing, that exists for the same sort of reasons.

So just review your basic intuitions about class (see for example, "Class
Dismissed" in the Atlantic Monthly: http://www.theatlantic.com/magaz... ) and
ignore the complexity, and you'll have a good 101-level understanding.

Not trying to condone the Indian caste system by comparison with a similar
construct, or explain it away. Just giving you a "good enough" starting point so
you stop thinking of it as "completely unfamiliar." Beneath the arcane Sanskrit and
incomprehensible rituals, it is still the psychology of homo sapiens after all.

Though the caste system is fading away slowly due to western exposure,
industrialization, international competence, still there are doubts in Indian�s
mind how it got originated and what is the solution to get rid of it.

1. Introduction:

Our Veda (the Sruti), the only Hindu authority, does not mention anything on caste
system. It just mentions (for example Rig Veda Purusa Sukta - brahmanosya
mukhamasit, bahu rajanyah kritaha, uru tadasya yadvaishyaha, padhyagam shudro
ajayata etc) four keywords (called Varna, color, class) Brahmana, Kshyatriya,
Vaisya and Shudra with their definition based on Guna-Karma. This is also called
Svabhavaja Karma or action based on mental inclination. Later texts like
Mahabharat, Gita(Sloka 4.13 - Chatur Varnyam Maya Sristam Guna Karma Vibhagasah)
also defines these keywords based on Guna-Karma.

These Guna-Karma divisions as per Sankhya darshan is:

1. Activities done by a person with dominant Satwa guna called as Brahmana.

2. With dominant Rajo guna mixed with Satwa guna called as Kshyatriya.
3. With dominant Rajo guna mixed with Tamo guna called as Vaisya.
4. With dominant Tamo guna is called Shudra.

Veda and Gita �do not� command to divide the society based on Guna-Karma. People
choose this as a formula to divide the society. Other formula could have been based
on economy (high class, middle class, low class) as it is done in USA. Due to
advancement of technology, we can think of dividing people based on genetic
pattern. Twenty-three human chromosomes can provide all details of mental,
psychological inclination of a person.

So this caste system is neither the God created, nor a vision of Veda. It is a
human creation. Interestingly Upanishads and Mahabharata say in the beginning all
humans were with dominant Satva guna, pure mind. Later their mind got corrupted
when Greeks opened the Pandora�s box. This is in contradiction with what we study
about primitive humans from western study: living in jungle, taking raw meats,
barbaric life etc. Our civilization says the first set of humans born with pure
mind, called as Risis. And we are all the Risi-putra(children of saints).

Unfortunately there are smritis(e.g. Goutama smriti, Manu Smriti etc) which say
such fierce words as these: �If the Shudra hears the Vedas, fill his ears with
molten lead, and if he remembers a line, cut his tongue out. There is no
purification rites for Sudra.� This is diabolical old barbarism no doubt. These
books are not aligned to Veda. However people thought that Smriti is a Hindu
scripture. But those are not. During 200 BCE these kinds of Smritis were written to
suppress Vedic Varna system. Unfortunately those books are instrumental in diving
people till date.

2. How it got adopted into Hindu society?

Given the definition in Veda, Gita (like IEEE-LRM), how it got implemented in Hindu
society? That is the trick of specification vs implementation inconsistency.

1. At some level of our parent generation the caste was a �self-declared� or a

�voluntary� designation based on what kind of profession they choose. There are
instances mentioned in Purana, Mahabharat(in Ajagara, Uma and Maheswara story). And
it was not hereditary.

2. Later it was a political (Kings) decision to allocate caste to individual to

give it a permanent shape. In Mahabharat, King Yudhisthira is saying �it was
difficult for him to determine the caste of an individual based on mental
inclination�. Here also it was not hereditary. There was choice for profession and
change in caste.

3. Wherever politics enter, the thing gets spoiled. Same happened here also. And
caste became a matter of (a) privilege, later (b) hereditary and tied to some (c)
old customs. Individuals were imposed a caste forcefully to get the low profile
jobs done. This became a hereditary system.

4. History says there are many royal communities once they became powerful, they
declared themselves as Brahmin caste as a whole community and ruled over rests. And
others were dominated for their selfish gain. Evidence says this self-declaration
is done till recent years in Tamilnadu and Kerala.�Mighty is the right� is proved.

5. Hindu society was so conservative and social customs were very tight. Anybody
violated any custom was thrown out of village, property and made untouchables. Many
communities were made religiously impure by birth. History says even many Brahmins,
who wanted to be liberals or violated any custom; they were forced to become
untouchables as a punishment. It more similar to honor killing of married couples
from different communities in today�s India.

6. On one side the rulers made rules to make a concrete infrastructure to divide
people. On the other hand the priest-class did not leave any stone unturned.
Various tags were discovered to identify people using (a) Surname (b) Gotra (c)
Sutra (d) Caste/sub-caste (e) external symbols like sacred thread, Tilakam, Tulsi
necklace (f) false rituals with wrong notion like Pinda-dana (g) fear of eternal
hell on mixture of community, even if Veda do not mention of any hell etc. False
rumors were spread through folk songs, on sharing of �Roti and Beti(common dining
and marriage)� will incur sin.

For example Manu Smriti says on naming of various Varna -

Sloka 2.31. Let (the first part of) a Brahmana�s name (denote something)
auspicious, a Kshatriya�s be connected with power, and a Vaisya�s with wealth, but
a Sudra�s (express something) contemptible.

Sloka 2.32. (The second part of) a Brahmana�s (name) shall be (a word) implying
happiness, of a Kshatriya�s (a word) implying protection, of a Vaisya�s (a term)
expressive of thriving, and of a Sudra�s (an expression) denoting service.

7. Some of our Mahapurusha(saints) directly or indirectly helped to give it a

shape. Started with, Buddha (800 BCE) strongly condemned any division of Humanity.
During his time 99% of Brahmins and Kshatriyas were converted into Buddhism. This
practically abolished castism and Vedic rituals from India. Later Adi Sankaracharya
(8th century) was a great advocate of Brahmin caste and caste maker, for which he
is criticized most. Ramanujacharya (13th century) tried to eradicate and declared
all of his followers as Brahmins. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (17th century) followers
themselves declared as Vaisnava-Brahmins. Rammohan roy, Swami Dayananda (19th
century) were strong condemner of caste-system. Swami Vivekanand (19th century)
converted few thousands dalits into Brahmins by initiating them into Gayatri.It is
said an individual who is initiated into a Mantra from an eligible Guru, will be
considered as Brahmin. Many, including untouchables, followed these saints, took
Mantra and got converted into Brahmins. All most all saints have put their maximum
energy (by initiating through Mantra) to fix this social disorder. Still this is an
unsolved problem. So why to blame the limitations of Semitic religions, where they
have only one prophet?

3. What is the Consequence of Indian caste system?

1. Due to this wrong implementation of Vedic definition, the Varna (class,

color) systems converted into caste (Jati) hereditary systems.

2. India lost its patriotic feeling. Rather it was just a combination of few
separated communities without any coherence. All the feeling and enjoyment and
marriage were limited to same narrow community.

3. The only way the human breed can mix is through marriage. This cross-
community marriage got blocked in fear of losing property and privilege. Even in
some communities only elder son was allowed to marry. Youngers were advised to
practice polyandry e.g Kerala Namboodiri Brahmins. Later again each community gets
divided and sub-divided into many smaller castes to protect the selfish and
narrowness among themselves. So where is the Indian-ness?

4. Women were considered as Sudra as mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam. They were

deprived of Vedic rights and temple worships. Though there are twenty five women
risis (Gargi, Maitreyi, Vak etc) mentioned as editors of Veda, not sure why women
were not allowed to chant Vedic Mantra. Even today many women are scared to chant

5. Many including Swami Vivekananda, Dr, B. R. Ambedkar pointed out; this

disjoint communalism was the cause of Mohameddan and Christian invasion into India.
Because the downtrodden, the major population, during that time cooperated them to
find an escape route of suffering.

6. History says when a pariah (Chandala) gets converted into Islam and
Christian, nobody was hesitating to do hand-shake and offer a chair. Most of the
religious conversions were voluntary. Foreigners come with few thousands soldiers
and gets multiplied into many millions in a few years.

7. Foreign rulers did not try to solve this social disorder. Rather they had
tried to make it sticky by following Smrities and took advantage of this Indian
weakness. Because their colonization policy was based on �divide and rule�. And we
were succumbed to our own faulty system.

8. Even today Christian missionaries are targeting the downtrodden, rural, poor
lower caste people to convert into other religion. And this has a strong impact on
Hindu population and Hindu civilization. Unless they are uplifted, there is no
solution to this conversion issue.

4. What is the solution as given by Swami Vivekananda?

1. Remove false notion: Though our castes are apparently linked with our religion,
but they are not so. In religion there is no caste. Caste is social custom. Same is
told by Mahatma Gandhi also to the nation.

2. Revert back to Brahmin-hood: We are all Risi-putra. The solution is not by

bringing down the higher, but by raising the lower caste up to the level of the
higher. The goal is to uplift everyone into Brahmin Varna. After independence
Dalits were given special privilege as compensation under constitution. We need to
reach a civilization where everybody will be treated equally without any special
privilege to any community. Then only caste-less Indian society will be possible.

3. Continue self-declaring: There are thousands of castes, and some are even
getting admission into Brahminhood, for what prevents any caste from declaring they
are Brahmins?Instead of crying foul, people can self-declare or correct their
castes based on Vedic definition.

4. Rename the whole Community: Thus caste, with all its rigor, has been created in
that manner. Let us suppose that there are castes here with ten thousand people in
each. If these put their heads together and say, we will call ourselves Brahmins,
nothing can stop them; I have seen it in my own life. Some castes become strong,
and as soon as they all agree, who is to say nay?[CW-III page-295]

5. Expose to western science: Keep harmony between Vedantic theories and western
science. Science and technology is a greatest gift from western civilization. All
Indians need to be exposed to modern developments across globe. This will help in
removing the narrowness about our own civilization, customs and way of life. Till
date Indian caste system is suppressed due to exposure to western Industrialization
and international competence. India must keep foreign direct investment (FDI) up to
eradicate local monopoly in profession and economy.

5. Conclusion:

So your caste was voluntarily declared by your own forefather. Now it is your turn
to undo the mistake.

Anything that does not show dynamism (we call it evolution) will eventually die.
For example there is a huge water pool and it is decided not to allow any water
enter into it thinking that its purity will be lost. Eventually this water pool
will be stinky. Similarly if you don�t allow other community (caste) to enter into
your family life, then whole genetic system, immunity system and cultural system
will fall apart. The aroma has vanished and only the stinky ugly part is poisoning
the mind of society. Don�t propagate this ignorance to your next generation, your
sons and daughters.

Historically, the caste system in South Asia is not at all unique.

Most of the Greek states had a system that segregated society. Spartan society had
a concept of priestly class, warriors and serfs/slaves. The Persian empire also had
a very similar structure, with a priestly nobility differentiated from other
classes. Egypt, Rome, Arabia - pretty much every ancient civilization that I can
think of had some form of stratification (not too sure of Chinese civilization)

When did it first form?

References to the caste system are found in both Hindu epics - Ramayana and
Mahabharta. So the origins are thousands of year old.
Did it vary in implementation?
The same Hindu epics also have references to instances of people crossing caste
boundaries. The Ramayana itself was supposedly penned by Sage Valmiki who was born
of a low caste.

So historically, the caste system seems to have some mobility built into it. But
for the most part, it has remained relatively rigid and has not changed in its
basic four tier structure.

How did it interact with foreigners such as in commerce or diplomacy?

In ancient India, the caste system was a means to lock down tribal customs and
loyalties. Each caste had it's own sub-gods that they worshiped, particular
tasks/skills that they specialized in, and it's own subculture.

Except for certain employment related interaction, each of the castes were fairly
independent. So despite the lop-sided rights attributed to each layer, the system
was not overbearing enough to trigger revolts. Most lower classes never knew
anything different. They typically had their own village where everyone else was of
the same caste. They had their own temples and their own wells. The son typically
learnt the task/skill from his father. The daughters were married off to others
from similar castes/tribes in nearby villages.

The system was not benevolent. But as long as you obeyed the "rules", it was not
malevolent to you either. It allowed Hindu society to assimilate varied set of
foreign tribes and religions.

However, it also prevented Hindu society from properly mobilizing itself against
foreign invasions. In response to invasions, only a fraction of the population
could be mobilized. The priests and warriors formed the officer core, while the
lower castes often were the foot soldiers. The entire trader class usually had
nothing to with the defense of the land.

Indian caste system was just a vocabulary, which used to divide all professions
into 4 major categories Varna (Hinduism) [Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra].
Your caste is just what you do and not what your father used to do. If you used to
teach, then you were a Teacher [Brahmin] and if you used to do trade then you were
a trader[Vaishya].

What went wrong: Initially everybody was free to choose their profession and their
profession used to be their caste. With time, more and more people started
accepting their father's profession ( as it gave them advantage like free
education, business contacts, free tools etc over those who were totally new into
that profession). Also those parents, who were in better professions, started
favoring their own children by selecting them for the jobs, who were meant for the
best candidates from the society. Like, a king makes his own son the next king,
instead of selecting the best suitable young person from the kingdom.
This went up to the extent, that people started believing [still most of us
believe this way] that your caste is what your family's caste and you get it at the
time of birth. This created a big divide in society and led to the inhuman
treatment of Lower caste people.

Advantage : Caste system is noting, but the names of your profession and we still
use them around the world with different names [I am a Doctor, I am an Engineer].
It just a convenient tool to tell others, what your profession is. So you say You
are a Plumber, instead of saying 100 sentences about what Plumbers do.
Disadvantage : Original Caste system doesn't have much disadvantages. But the caste
system which is currently getting practiced in the our society, is one of the
biggest problem of India.
1. It denies equal rights between different castes.
2. It takes away fair chance of selection from government jobs.
3. It suppress the best talent of society, by giving opportunity to people who
are not really qualified for the job.
4. It created hatred between different castes, which led to a weak society and
the country.
5. Caste System gave birth to caste based reservation, which lowered the quality
of Government Service and led to more corruption.

The caste system is one of the greatest social evils plaguing our country today. It
is acting as a powerful social and political divisive force in our country at a
time when it is absolutely essential for us to be united if we wish to face our
nation�s challenges. It is a curse on our country which must be speedily eradicated
if we wish to progress.


We may consider a few facts to realize how strongly caste is still entrenched in
our society today.

Our politics is largely governed by caste vote banks. When the time comes for
selecting candidates for the elections a study is made of the numerical caste
distribution in a constituency, because voters in most areas vote on caste basis.
What to say of the illiterate people, even the so called intellectuals tend to
operate on caste lines. Thus, in the elections to many bar associations the lawyers
tend to vote for the candidates of their caste.
Many castes want to be declared as O.B.C.s or Scheduled Castes, to get the benefits
of reservation. Even some O.B.C.s strive to be declared as M.B.C.s (most backward
castes) or Scheduled Castes.
Fake caste certificates have become rampant, as is often witnessed in our law
courts, to get jobs or admissions in educational institutions.
Marriages are still largely performed within one�s caste.
Violence often occurs between castes, as was noticed in the recent fight between
students of different castes in a University in Chennai, while the policemen looked
on as silent spectators.
Even Muslims, Christians and Sikhs often have castes, although their religions
preach equality.
We can multiply these facts manifolds. Many books and articles have been written
about the caste system in India, but a scientific study is still wanting. An
attempt shall be made here to explain the origin, development and future of the
caste system.

Origin of the Caste System

The origin of the caste system was in all probability racial. It is said that caste
originated when a white race, the Aryans, coming from the North West, conquered the
dark coloured races inhabiting India at that time, probably 5000 years ago or so.

Some persons deny that the Aryans came from outside India and assert that India was
the original home of the Aryans (Aryavarta) from where a section of them migrated
to Europe. It is difficult to accept this view because people migrate from
uncomfortable areas to comfortable areas (see the article `Kalidas Ghalib Academy
for Mutual Understanding� inwww.kgfindia.com). Why should anyone migrate from a
comfortable country like India which has level and fertile land ideal for
agriculture to a place like Afghanistan or Russia which is cold, mountaneous and
therefore uncomfortable. Indian history bears out the view that almost all
invasions/immigrations were from outside India (mainly from the North West and to a
lesser extent from the North East) into India.

The caste system is called `Varna Vyavastha� and the word `Varna� in Sanskrit
literally means colour of the skin. This also points at the racial origin of the
caste system. Fair skin colour is usually preferred to darker skin even today, as
is evident from matrimonial advertisements.

Subsequent Development of the Caste System

While the origin of the caste system appears to be racial (as mentioned above) it
subsequently developed an altogether different basis according to the needs of the
feudal society in India. In other words, the caste system, though originating in
race, subsequently developed into the feudal, occupational division of labour in
society. This needs to be explained in some detail.

In theory there were only four castes, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.
This, however, was only a fiction. In reality there were (and still are) hundreds,
if not thousands, of castes and sub-castes in India many of which do not fit into
the 4 traditional castes mentioned above e.g. Yadavs, Kurmis, Jats, Kayasthas,
Bhumihars, Gosains, etc. Every vocation became a caste. Thus, in North India badhai
(carpenter) became a caste, and so did lohar (blacksmith), sonar (goldsmith),
kumbhar (Potter), dhobi (washerman), nai (barber), darzi (tailor), kasai (butcher),
mallah (fisherman), kewat (boatman), teli (oil presser), kahar (water carrier),
gadadia (sheep herder), etc.

This was not something unique to India. For instance, in England even today there
are many people with the surnames Taylor, Smith, Goldsmith, Baker, Butcher, Potter,
Barber, Mason, Carpenter, Turner, Waterman, Shepherd, Gardener, Miller, etc., which
indicates that the ancestors of these persons belonged to those professions.

In feudal society, apart from agriculture, there was development of handicraft

industry. This happened in India too, and the caste system became the Indian
variation of the feudal occupational division of labour in society, somewhat like
the medieval European guild system.

As pointed out by Adam Smith in his book `The Wealth of Nations�, division of
labour results in great progress. The caste system in India resulted in great
development of the productive forces, and hence in the feudal age it was a
progressive institution (as compared to the preceding slave society).

It is well known that before the coming of the British, India was one of the
world�s most prosperous countries (at that time). India was exporting Dacca Muslin,
Murshidabad silk, Kashmir shawls and carpets, ornaments, etc. apart from
agricultural products like spices, indigo, etc. to the Middle East and even Europe.
The discovery of Roman coins in several parts of South India show the great volume
of trade from India, which shows the great development of the productive forces in
feudal India. In fact India was once a super power with a 31.5% share in the global
gross domestic production, which came down to 3% in the year 1991.

The Destruction of Handicraft Industry in India

It is estimated that before the coming of the British into India about 40% of the
population of India was engaged in industry while the rest of the population was
engaged in agriculture. This industry was no doubt handicraft industry, and not
mill industry. Nevertheless, there was a very high level production of goods in
India by these handicraft industries before the coming of the British, and many of
these goods were exported often up to Europe, the Middle East, China, etc. e.g.
Dacca Muslin, Murshidabad silk, and other kind of textiles, spices etc.

A rough and ready test of the level of the economic development of a country is to
find out how much percentage of the population is engaged in industry, and how much
in agriculture. The greater the percentage of population in industry and lesser in
agriculture the more prosperous the country. Thus, the U.S.A., the most prosperous
country in the world today has only about 2 or 3% of its population in agriculture,
while the rest is in industry or services.

India was a relatively prosperous country before the coming of the British because
a high percentage of the people (which could be up to 40%) was engaged at that time
in industry (though no doubt this was handicraft industry, not mill industry).
Thus, Lord Clive around 1757 (when the battle of Plassey was fought) described
Murshidabad (which was then the capital of Bengal) as a city more prosperous than
London, vide `Glimpses of World History� by Jawaharlal Nehru (Third Impression
p.416, chapter entitled `The Indian Artisan goes to the wall�).

When the British conquered India they introduced the products of their mill
industry into India, and exorbitantly raised the export duties on the Indian
handicraft products. Thereby they practically destroyed the handicraft industry in
India. The result was that by the end of the British rule hardly 10% or even less
of the population of India was still in the handicraft industry, and the rest of
those who were earlier engaged in the handicraft industry were made unemployed. In
this way about 30% of the population of India who were employed in handicraft
industry became unemployed, and were driven to starvation, destitution, beggary or
crime (the thugs and �criminal� tribes were really these unemployed sections of
society). As an English Governor General wrote in 1834, `the bones of the cotton
weavers are bleaching the plains of India�. At the end of the British rule, India,
which was one of the most prosperous countries in the world, became one of the
poorest, unable to feed itself, with industrial development stalled (as the British
policy was to not permit industrialization of India), low life expectancy and very
low literacy rate. As Angus Madison, the Cambridge University historian points out,
India�s share of world income fell from 22.6% in 1700 to 3.8% in 1952.

In this connection it may be noted that in the revenue records in many states in
our country one often finds recorded: �A son of B, caste lohar (smith), vocation
agriculture�; or �C son of D, caste badhai (carpenter), vocation agriculture�, or
�E son of F, caste kumhar (potter), vocation agriculture�, etc. This indicates that
the ancestors of these persons were in those professions, but later they became
unemployed (although ostensibly they were shown as agriculturists) as British mill
industry destroyed their handicraft. Some people think that if the British had not
come into India an indigenous mill industry would have developed in India, because
the high development of handicraft industry leads to capital accumulation which is
the pre-requisite for industrialization, and India would have become an Industrial
State by the 19th Century, like North America or Europe, but it is not necessary to
go into this here, as there is no use crying over spilt milk.

In England and other European countries, too, the handicrafts were destroyed by the
mill products, but the handicraftsmen got employment in the mills, whereas in India
the British policy was to prevent industrialization of India (see Rajni Palme
Dutt�s `India Today�) with the result that the millions of handicraftsmen either
starved or became beggars or criminals. The Thugs of India or the `criminal tribes�
were those former handicraftsmen who became unemployed.

Handicraft Industry and Mill Industry

In the feudal period there were no engineering colleges or technical institutes,

and the only way to learn a craft was to sit with one�s father from childhood and
learn the craft by seeing how he works, with some tips from him. Thus the father
was not only doing the production work through his craft but also teaching the
craft to his son.

This was totally unlike modern times where the teacher in an engineering college or
technical institute is not a producer engaged in some industry. In other words, in
modern times the vocation of a teacher is separated from the vocation of a
producer, but there was no such separation in the feudal age.

In feudal times one had no choice of one�s profession, one had to follow his
father�s profession, and thus the son of a carpenter (Badhai) became a carpenter,
the son of a blacksmith (lohar) became a blacksmith, etc. In this way carpenter,
blacksmith, potter, etc. all became castes. The same thing happened in Europe too
in feudal times (as mentioned above).

Modern Mill Industry

In the modern industrial age the demand for skilled technical personnel is much
larger than in the feudal age, because the demand of goods is much more (due to
increase in population, etc.). Hence the traditional feudal method of teaching a
craft, in which only a handful of persons, (usually the sons of the
handicraftsman), were taught, no longer sufficed for modern society. Now technical
institutes or engineering colleges have become necessary, where a large number of
students are taught the technical skill. Obviously all these students could not be
sons of the teacher. This destroyed the very basis of the caste system in which one
had no choice in choosing one�s vocation and had to follow his father�s profession.
The caste system, in which one�s vocation is chosen by one�s birth, is thus totally
outmoded in the modern age.

Today a boy of the badhai (carpenter) caste comes from the rural areas in India to
a city where he becomes an electrician or motor mechanic or takes up some other
vocation. If he gets some education he becomes a clerk or even a doctor, lawyer,
engineer or teacher. He does not usually follow his father�s profession, and this
has largely destroyed the basis of the caste system economically.

The caste system is now being artificially propped up socially by some vested
interests e.g. vote bank politics, but when the basis of an institution has been
destroyed (by the advance of technology) how long can that institution survive? To
my mind the caste system in India will not last for more than ten or twenty years
from now (because its very basis has gone).

A modern mill no longer bothers about the caste of the worker it employs, it only
sees his technical skills.

The caste system was a social institution corresponding to handicraft industry. Now
that handicraft industry has largely been replaced by mill industry, the caste
system has today become totally outmoded, and is hindering our progress. The sooner
it is destroyed the better.

Was the Caste System Bad for India?

Many people think that the caste system did a lot of damage to India. This is
undoubtedly true of modern times. But it must also be said that in the feudal age
the caste system did good to India because it corresponded to the feudal
occupational division of labour in society (as pointed out above), which resulted
in the great development of the productive forces (at that time).

It is a myth that the Scheduled Castes of today were always treated with indignity.
In fact upto the coming of British rule, these castes were usually in some
handicraft vocation and were earning their livelihood from that vocation. It was
only when the British mill industry destroyed their handicraft and they became
unemployed that they began to be treated with indignity. An unemployed man becomes
a poor man, and a poor man is not given respect in society.

For instance, the chamars were at one time a respectable caste because they earned
their livelihood by doing leather work. It was only when Bata and other companies
destroyed their handicraft (and thereby their livelihood) that they sank in the
social ladder, so much so that today to call a person a chamar is often regarded as
a word of insult (see the judgment of the Supreme Court in Swaran Singh & Ors. vs.
State through Standing Counsel & Anr. [2008(8) SCC 435, JT 2008(9) SC 60]).

Similarly, other castes whose handicraft occupations were destroyed by the British
mill industry also became unemployed and thereby fell in the social order.

How will the Caste System be Destroyed?

To my mind the caste system will be destroyed (and is in fact being destroyed) in
India by (1) The advance of technology (2) The people�s struggles, and (3) Inter
caste marriages.

As regards the advance of technology, it has already been pointed out above that in
modern industrial society the division of labour cannot be on the basis of one�s
birth but on the basis of technical skills. Hence industrialization destroys the
caste system, and in fact the caste system has become weak in a State like West
Bengal, which was partially industrialized before most other states.

As regards the people�s struggles, these are in fact going on everywhere in view of
the harsh economic conditions in India (price rise, unemployment, etc.). People in
India are realizing that united they stand and divided they fall, and caste is
certainly a dividing force.

As regards inter caste marriages, I have stated in my judgment in Lata Singh vs.
State of U.P. [2006(5) SCC 475, JT 2006(6) SC 173], that inter caste marriages are
in the national interest and hence should be encouraged.

How Does The Caste System Impact Indian Behavior ?

As a keen observer of the Indian Caste System in practice,I could not help but
observe its undue impact on the mindset and attitudes of every Indian, irrespective
of his religious affiliation.In fact every single move of an average Indian is
directed by all the all powerful and pervasive Caste System or Caste Spirit(CS). I
have attempted a critical and well-researched study on the impact of Caste System
on the Indian mindset and attitudes.For such a study to be realistic ,first of
all,one needs to step out of the system and observe through the eyes of a
foreigner.I am sure that you would agree on such a view, once you read the analysis
in full. I would urge the readers to consider this study more as an introspective
exercise than as a charge sheet against Caste System .If this study is considered
as a charge-sheet,then it may unnecessarily prompt the reader to prepare a defence.
After all,we need to know ,that all said and done Caste System undoubtedly remains
as a curse on India, that needs to be mercilessly killed in the interests of the

Caste System is not about people alone!

Often we think that CS applies only to� human beings� !Nothing can be far from
truth than this thinking.If you critically analyse Indian life, you will know that
the tentacles of CASTE SYSTEM extends into every area of human activity in
India ..Eg.The left hand of the body is treated as inferior to the right hand and
is used for cleaning ***.Similarly the leg is treated as� low� as it carries all
dirt of walking etc.Most Indians wash their legs when they return home after going
out.Among drinks' coffee' is considered as �high� and �tea �is considered �low
�.The reason attributed is that tea is normally consumed by people who are into
physical labour category and coffee is taken by �thinkers�! What about cars ?
Maruti 800 is a� low caste� while Dzire will fit into high caste . Among the
snacks, some are considered low and some as high depending on each Site Disabled
certain Hindu families the eldest son is treated like the high caste as against the
youngest who is the servant caste.Similarly between man and woman, a woman is
always the low caste and is entitled only to what is left after the men in the
family have their full. ..Among the animals dogs are considered low and that is the
reason why Indians have the minimum number of dogs as pets per household in the
entire world .Brahmins never have any pets . In (Satapatha Brahmana
14:1:1:31)�women ,dogs and shudra are equated in a verse �-�And whilst not coming
into contact with S�dras and remains of food; for this Gharma is he that shines
yonder, and he is excellence, truth, and light; but woman, the S�dra, the dog, and
the black bird (the crow), are untruth: he should not look at these, lest he should
mingle excellence and sin, light and darkness, truth and untruth.� Among cattle the
poor buffalo is low caste as its� varna� is black ! Cow is a Brahmin among the
cattle.Garden lizards are to be killed as they are anti-Rama and squirrels are
�reverential� as they helped Rama in building the bridge to Lanka!So Caste System
extends to all areas of activities in India.�

Caste Spirit makes one knowledge-proof !

When CS rules ones mind, the person concerned may learn new things but nothing that
is inconsistent with the CS enters their mind. So however high one�s education may
be, he may acquire just academic knowledge but he continues to remain change -proof
when it comes to his opinion or behavior with respect to superstitions, caste
discrimination etc. Indians who are educated in Harvard, when they return back to
India, do not change their behavior in any manner.They continue to practice
whatever they they were practising before their overseas exposure.They observe
caste while marrying. They do not fight against social injustice or
superstitions ,as CS still controls their thought process.Space scientists in India
who are capable of sending rockets into the space ,continue to look for auspicious
omens before launching the rockets ! So CS effectively rules out change in
superstitious culture of the Indian intellectuals,through acquired knowledge.
Compare this with a particular tribes in North Eastern India who used to kill their
enemies and hang their skulls in their verandahs as a statement of valour.When the
Christian missionaries who served among them, taught them that it was not
correct,they changed their century old obnoxious practice immediately .How could
they change a century old practice? Because they are beyond the control of the
powerful CS ! � �Lying� is the mother-tongue of Caste System ! We saw that the
spirit of caste ,over rules every thing else in India.It shapes all your opinions
and views.It determines the direction of your �decisions� as well.Eg. A Painting
Competition was held in Chennai, in an office for the children of the staff of a
PSB.The Paintings were first viewed by the public and given marks..A particular
Painting P1 came first followed by Painting P2 ,in this viewers rating.The viewers
who gave marks were not aware of who painted P1 and P2. Now a Brahmin Judge comes
to finalize the award and he quickly gets to check who painted P1 and
P2.Unfortunately P1 is done by a dark Dalit and P2 done by a fair Brahmin ! The
moment he comes to know this the Spirit Of Caste(SOC) takes over the mind and
commands him to comply with �Caste Dharma�.So the Judge tries and finds out
some�faults� in P1 and declares P2 as the winner of 1st Prize !Here the beauty is
that the Judge himself may not be aware that SOC has taken him over and that his
decision is biased ! So it is not correct to blame the Judge for 'injustice' as he
is not aware of his prejudice.A �foreigner� observing the scene closely can sense
it immediately. Often we find it so exhausting in convincing the Indian
intellectuals,on what is patently acceptable ,if their accepting that fact can go
against the Caste Dharma.The intellectuals draw all their argumentative skills to
the fullest extent and put down any argument that militates against the CD.Suppose
a Dalit argues that the sun rises in the East,the response from the intellectuals
would be �Well,depends on which direction you are sitting !�.The same argument is
put forward by a Brahmin,the response would be something like this�That,of course,
is a universal truth!� This is the reason why Indian intellectuals keep on denying
ground realities relating to �untouchability� � beef ban�etc.They may not be aware
that they are doing it at all,as they are under the spirit of caste.. As a natural
consequence of this imperative,one is required to do any thing or pay any price to
maintain and uphold the �Caste Dharma�(CD).That anything includes �lying/cheating
�and that is why �lying/cheating� is so common in India among intellectuals and
others.When the intellectuals practice �lying/cheating �,others tend to imitate the
same.So� lies� breed �lies� and soon it becomes the official language of the Caste
Kingdom. �Lying� becomes an essential part of Caste System(CS) as it is an easy way
out when the ground realities clash with the mandated requirements of CS. This is
the basic reason for lack of integrity among the intellectuals of India.While in
foreign countries,it is very common to find the accused in criminal cases admitting
to charges, the accused in India never admits to his guilt on his own.�

Caste System controls Judgment/Justice/Law

Caste System prevails over all individual judgments including all judicial
decisions.Let me illustrate the hold CS has over judicial �judgments� with the
following explanation.The western concept of ' justice' implies the following: 1)
just 2) equal 3) neutral 4) impartial 5 )without prejudice 6)fair 7) crime-based
The Indian concept of �Dharma� is concept unknown to the west. �Dharma� implies the
following.1. Based on one�s birth in a �caste �,each caste is assigned a duty. The
Caste Dharma is to do that duty sincerely. If they do not do their assigned duty
and try do the duty of some other caste it is called �Adharma�.2.�Adharma� is
punishable under Hindu law.3.The punishment for any crime committed,as per this
dispensation, depends on the� caste of the criminal �and not �on the crime�. This
means for the same crime, different punishments are applicable according to the
caste of the criminal. For illustration, let us assume that X murders Y in England.
The punishment for murder as prescribed in the criminal law of the land will be
awarded to X in England irrespective of his race or colour.1. But suppose the same
X murders Y in India.Let us see how Dharma works.First of all the caste of X will
be ascertained The punishment will be as under.a)If X belongs to Brahmin caste
( priestly caste) -Punishment will be very low ,say something like � plucking a few
hairs from his head� etc.b)If X belongs to Shudra caste(servant caste) punishment
will be severe like capital punishment.The lower the caste, higher is the
punishment Hence Caste Dharma practically translates into� injustice�.So Caste
Dharma is the opposite of 'Justice�.It is not crime-based but person-based.It is
unfair,unjust,prejudiced,,partial and unequal . Now ,how does the concept of �Law�
fit into Caste System ?

Law & Practice According to the constitution of India, India is a Sovereign,

Secular, Democratic Republic.While the de-jure position is amply clear, what is the
de facto position? Is the country secular and democratic as claimed and declared?
Does rule of law prevail or rule of religion prevail?Let us examine.

Interpretation As A Powerful Weapon!

After completing the longest Constitution in the world,written after studying 70

constitutions , Dr.B.R. Ambedkar, Chair Man of the Drafting Committee, remarked 'If
after all these checks and balances,the constitution does not work,well ,let us
remember that man can be vile..' His expectation regarding the vile nature of man
did materialise, with our legal experts diluting the constitutional provisions
through' tricky' interpretations.

'No' means 'Yes'!

The word 'secular' played into the hands of our legal experts. Oxford English
Dictionary authoritatively defines' Secular 'as ' Not connected with religious or
spiritual matters:'' But our Authorities over- ruled the Oxford and defined'
Secular' and defined it as 'relating to all religions'. Its like interpreting a
clear' No' as sure ' Yes'! This small trick is a great leap for the religious
forces to pierce through the formidable firewalls of the Constitution. Religious
forces displaced the throne.Result- utter chaos, hatred, harassment of
minorities,beef on ban etc. To day the nation is at the brink of disaster due to a
small trick of interpretation.

Collapse Of The Rule Of Law. A series of such tricky interpretations has robbed the
Constitution of its chastity and today the rule of law in India appears to be a
distant dream. But it does not mean � law" does not work in India!What �law works
and what law cannot work in India?

Three Types Of Law In India.

Those who keenly observe India, would have noted that everything in India is
subordinate to one Supreme Power. Don�t ever think that the Supreme Power is God!
That supreme power is nothing other than the great Caste System! Anything,
including �law" inconsistent with the Caste System does not work, what ever you
do,however best you try! The opposite is also true. That is ,anything that
strengthens the Caste System works very well even without any �law"supporting it or
inspite of a 'law' against it!So, in India, these are 3 types of Law, as under:

Type 1: Mandatory �law" Which has to be carried out, against all odds. This
category may or may not have legal backing. But it surely works. This category can
work against legal �law" also.Eg.Government opens a new building.There is no 'law'
that you should perform a 'pooja' while opening a new building.In fact there is
'law' that says that India is 'secular'.But nothing can deter any one from this
ritual and no Government scheme is launched without a 'pooja' preceding it! The CS
has a powerful parallel or superseding legal system which is enforced much more
effectively than the constitutional legal system. Recently a kangaroo court in
Uttarpradesh ordered �rape of two sisters belonging to Dalit community� as a
punishment for inter-caste marriage! Imagine the guts with which such sentences are
passed in a country which has the longest written constitution in the world.The
peer enforcement mechanism in such cases is much more effective than the legal
enforcement machinery of the Government.

Type 2: Enacted �law" which is beneficial to Caste System will be enforced

There are hundreds of laws in our statute book.Not all laws are equally
enforced.But 'laws' which strengthen Caste System is always enforced by the
concerned.Eg.Pollution Control Laws are never enforced against the offenders,as the
industrialists owning the units are always 'upper castes' but a simple phone call
from some one prompted a raid on Kerala Bhavan, for allegedly serving 'beef'!

Type 3:Enacted law which is inconsistent or against Caste System.

This' law'can be treated as good as' dead law'.This 'law' dies as soon as it is
born !It cannot be enforced at all even after exhausting all available legal
avenues.At every level there is stiff resistance against its enforcement.It is very
interesting to know how it works this way. Eg.Let us take a case of an atrocity
committed against a Dalit and he goes to the Police Station to file a complaint.The
Scheduled Castes And The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention Of Atrocities)Act, 1989
requires the officials to register the complaint promptly and says " 4. Whoever,
being a public servant but not being a member of a Scheduled for neglect Caste or a
Scheduled Tribe, wilfully neglects his duties required to be performed of duties.
by him under this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall
not be less than six months but which may extend to one year." But practically the
complaint is no complaint is registered and more over the Dalit making the
complaint ,is often harassed for making the complaint.At every stage of the
proceedings,the Dalit finds stiff resistance.Suppose he stands firm and fights his
way through till the end,he finds the case dismissed on 'fancy' grounds !. In Tamil
Nadu ,one dalit adolescent girl was raped,murdered and buried in the sand in
Cuddalore District.Her hands were showing out through the sand and people who saw
this ,reported to police.The case was taken up,proceeded and finally closed by the
Police as a case of 'suicide'!How did the Police believe that a girl could commit
�suicide�,then dig a deep pit,then crawl into it and bury herself into it , showing
her hands out? The Caste System made them believe this incredible story !� Media�s
Major Role in Shaping The Caste System

Since media is a major instrument used for maintaining the Caste Dharma,media can
ill afford to be true to the happenings around.The media has over a period of
time,developed an inherent tendency to project events in a way that would
strengthen the CS in some way or other.Eg.In the 70s ,once a candidate who belonged
to low-caste Dalit (named C. S. Das,if my memory serves me right)secured 8th rank
in the Open List of the All India Civil Services Examination. Now,when media got
wind of this info,they chose to suppress it completely ,as it conflicts with the CS
propaganda that Dalits have no brains or merit .However,despite their best
efforts,truth did leak out,but not many would know it ! A few years back,when the
huts belonging to Dalits, in a village down in southern Tamil Nadu were torched,the
Dalits decided to retaliate, with protests after a day of the incident.A leading
English national paper published from Chennai ,carried the following
headlines�Dalits on the rampage in ��� The last line in the report casually
mentioned�It may be noted that the caste Hindus in the village had torched a few
huts belonging to Dalits two days back �.

What one need to understand is that the paper has not published the first incident
of torching the huts at all,as it is not �press-worthy� in its eyes!�

Is �Exploitation� an essential part of Caste System ?

Exploitation is an essential part of CS. The Caste Dharma demands servitude of the
Shudra Castes and Dalits to the upper castes. So CS justifies� exploitation� as'
natural and normal'.Eg. When Government instructed Public Sector Banks to provide
business loans to SCs for their livelihood, some enterprising youngsters availed
the facility. Most of such units failed because the upper castes� refused to
patronize the units. One young Dalit running a Cycle Hire Shop in a village,
complained that all upper castes did patronize and were hiring his cycles, but not
paying even a paise, for the use! He felt utterly helpless against high caste
customers under whom his caste serves. Soon the unit became sick for no fault of
his!But a systematic propaganda that Dalits are not capable of running was let
loose,to prevent further finance by the Banks!�

Caste System,sure Kills Conscience!CS slowly kills conscience. As narrated in the

fore-going case, if conscience is present, one will not refuse to pay after hiring
the cycle.Conscience is bound to prick. Few decades back ,a well known music
maestro of Tamil Nadu ,donated Rs13 lacs for the renovation work of the famous Sri
Rangam Temple at Sri Rangam. Money was received promptly and used for the
renovation work.But when the renovation was completed and inauguration was done
,the donor was not invited, as he is a Dalit ! He is 'untouchable' but his money is
not !� Forgiveness has no place in CS!
CS encourages vengeance for any action against the individual or caste for any
action that is perceived as intentional insult against caste. Nothing is accepted
as a possible mistake. So there is no place for forgiveness in the CS and vengeance
is almost a �certain� consequence for any perceived offence.This spirit of
vengeance can last for even 100 years in some incidents !�

What is Gratitute ?

CS defines that 'Dharma' is carrying out one�s caste duties without expecting any
recognition or reward ..So there is no space for the quality of �Gratitude� in the
'Dharma�dispensation. �Gratitude�is nothing but recognizing something good done by
somebody to us and feeling thankful to him for it. There is no provision for doing
something good to anyone in CS and hence no provision for gratitude also. In other
words,CS is �good proof� ! If some one oversteps and does something good to anyone,
CS does not allow the �recipient� of the benefit, to thank them.Eg. Prior to the
advent of the British rule in India,the CS did not allow any access to education
for the the poor non- Brahmins. But the British decided against such a
discrimination and opened the �education to all the castes including the Dalits in
India. How grateful should every beneficiary feel towards those who made available
quality education to all for free ? But even national leaders who studied in
English schools and enjoyed the benefits often speak against Christianity and the
British.Sashi Tharoor went to the extent of claiming reparations for British
exploitation of India,in a language that they taught him ! Why ? It is not him to
be blamed but the CS that ensures that no one feels grateful when they enjoy any
benefit . Let me share an incident to illustrate this attitude. When I was serving
as a Senior Executive in a PSB, I had to cancel a particular Banquet Meet fixed
,due to some unforeseen circumstances.I did not want the lavish dinner I had
arranged for the meet to go waste and so invited some poor workers residing in the
area ,to enjoy the dinner.They all came,sat and silently enjoyed the dinner.When
they left NOT A SINGLE SOUL chose to thank me for the gesture of providing the
dinner !They do not know what a �thanks� mean and why they should �thank�.I won�t
blame them but blame the CS that controls them.� �Merit� according to CS
means���.. Caste System has no place for� merit� as �merit� is inherently
attributed and reserved only to Brahmins who constitute just 5% of the society .By
continuous propaganda , all people are made to believe that other castes do not or
cannot have �merit� what ever they do.This propaganda is so powerful ,even the
target group themselves are made to believe that they have no brains ! What happens
if some� news �going against this propaganda leaks out ? Ramar Pillai, a Dalit
village scientist from Tamil Nadu,invented a method of extracting petrol from
herbs. Even though he proved the process before scientists of IIT Madras, the
entire Indian intellectuals mocked at him and humiliated him on grounds of his low
caste.Later the same process has got approved but not credited to him!Similarly
while selecting sports persons ,low caste people are ignored even if they are
excellent performers.Fishermen are excellent swimmers but never selected for
swimming contests of national or international levels,as they winning in
international events may add to the nation's pride but tilt the CS apple-cart !.

On this issue of �merit� of Dalits ,I reproduce here under what one anonymous Dalit
has to say, in the Quora Answers forum:

How does it feel to be a Dalit in India ?

Quoras Answer. � In fact,being a Dalit in India, is not a problem at all, as long

as one accepts the slot allotted to the Dalits in the prevailing social system.This
means a Dalit has to willing accept the following with out any kind of
resistance.1)He should allow the upper caste Hindus(UCH) to freely trample on him
without any reason.2) He should allow them to spit, insult or do anything extremely
atrocious to him.3) He should not aspire to raise in his life.4) He should not
dress well or wear slippers.5) He should not talk back when asked to do
something.6) He should stand with a position of respect in front of them.7) In case
he does any creditable thing, he should not claim it.8) Many more such
expectations.What happens if a Dalit chooses to revolt?1) He is suppressed with all
possible power/might at the command of the UCH2) He is side lined and trapped in
some misconduct or disciplinary proceedings etc.3) If the Dalit is smart and
intelligent,its all the more trouble for him. All people join together and launch a
whisper propaganda against the Dalit.4) Every body joins together to make his life
a hell of a misery.5) If in a incognito contest a Dalit scores high marks it is
reduced the moment the identity is known. I secured 142 general rank in a tough All
India Exam competing with 78000 candidates in 1976,the moment they checked my
papers,I was put under SC/ST category ! I topped as no 1 in collection of a
particular business and the incentive foreign tour due for the achievement was
given to a totally unconnected UCH !Even my own staff were shocked as my Brahmin
Boss decided on this !I often got admitted for 'heart aches' whenever
'injustice'was unbearable. This only one example ! I joined as Level 1 direct
officer and should have reached Level 12 in the normal course ,which is like MD,
for my merit and performance.But with the Dalit tag ,I could not cross Level 4 ,at
my retirement.Now I publish my works in US easily than in India. US recognises me
because its a nation of merit.Often I tell my daughters "If your Dad was born in US
,I am sure he would have been a Bill Gates or like " Thats it.� This speaks about
how �merit� in India fares in 21st century.When India suppresses its �merit� ,how
can it compete with the world?That is why India(Rank55) lags behind even small
countries like South Korea(Rank 5) in Olympics 2012 Medals tally.We demand �level
playing field� with other countries, while denying the same to our own nationals! �
�Socialising� is �Antithesis� in Caste System!

' Society' means� the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered
community�. If you apply the ingredients of this concept, I am not quite sure
whether a caste- based- society would ever qualify to be called as a �society�at
all. In the Caste System, the vertical hierarchy of the castes makes it more akin
to a bossing military structure than a fellowshipping society. More over a period
of time, lot of myth,superstitions, proverbs, adages about each caste have been
created intently and floated, to ensure against free interaction among the castes.A
particular caste is ridiculed for being stingy,another for being foolish,another
for being crafty etc. This makes free interaction,fellowship,helping each
other,working for common good etc as practically impossible.A kind of �hatred
�between the castes is fuelled by constant back-biting. I would like to share an
incident to illustrate how this CS works against helpful socializing.When I was in
Chennai during the 70�s I used to visit one of my close relatives staying around 20
kms away.I travel all the way in my car along with my family during the week-ends
just for a social call. On two such occasions, it so happened that the head of the
house, one old uncle of around 80 years old,fell sick.We were happy that we were
there at the right time to help him reach the hospital for treatment. This happened
two times.We felt happy that we were able to help during two occasions,but the wife
of the old uncle did not feel so! She felt that every time we made a visit, the old
man fell sick!What a perverted thinking ! What a world of difference between this
perception and our perception of the same incident ! So she started indicating so
to some others ,not to us ,that we were sort of �bad omen �bringing sickness every
time we visit! How hurting to hear such remarks !Who will go visit them if they
categorize people helping them like this? We also felt bad and stopped visiting.The
winner is the indomitable Caste Spirit ultimately. Now the question is, why are
they not able to identify someone who is genuinely helping them? You cannot but
blame the CS only,for this perverted thought.

�Common Good�or 'Leadership' Has No Space here! Since CS arranges groups of people
into castes and the castes are vertically arranged there is no space for any common
good.What is good for one caste is always considered as bad for another caste.This
is the reason why people oppose any benefit given to any other castes.For
example,if the government gives 3% reservation for physically challenged,there
won�t be any noise among the communities.But if the Government gives reservation
for any particular community or group of communities,there will be lot of noise and
vociferous protests all around! Every caste wants to ensure that their position in
the hierarchy remains intact.This means the lower caste needs to remain �lower only
�and even if they try to move up a little high,there will be lot of resistance all
around.Each caste is more concerned and bothered about other castes remaining as
they are and its own members moving up in the ladder. So there is no space for
common good.This is the reason why the common roads are dirty,traffic is chaotic
and any common facility is not taken care of.For example,I will throw all waste on
the roads because it is not my caste duty to keep the roads clean! My job is to
�dirty � it and their job is to clean it !�Let them come and clean� is the general
attitude. Once in my friend�s marriage party held in southern Tamil Nadu,there was
no low-caste person available to clean the dining tables .Dinner was served on
plantain-leaves and as per prevailing tradition guests are not supposed to remove
it.My friend did not know what to do as the leaves were piling up.At that point of
time one hungry beggar came and asked for food.My friend thought that he can use
him to clean the tables and give him food and some money,in addition.But the beggar
promptly refused ,saying �I am a --------caste man,I won�t do such work !�My friend
quipped ,� But,you are begging for food ! Is that ok for your ------caste ?� He
would not reply but have the food full! Yes,CS permits any caste to beg rather than
do work of the lower caste ! So however best we try,CS prevails over our intentions
and make us comply with our caste mindset. CS cannot produce any common leader for
all as any leader can only represent the interests of his caste.This is the reason
why India has no national leader of the stature of Abraham Lincoln who was willing
to sacrifice his life for abolition of slavery.�

Caste System Determines All Sensitivities/Priorities !

It is quite interesting to note that the CS holds sway over all the
�sensitivities�of Indians. So, it is very common to observe that the average Indian
is not' sensitive' to what all civilized citizens of other nations are 'sensitive'
to.Let us see the list of �insensitive� and �sensitive� aspects of an average

Not Sensitive To�

Chaos: For example chaotic traffic does not disturb any Indian.Climbing into the
crowded trains,hanging on train roofs, disorganized religious festivals like Kumbh
Mela ,chaotic admission procedure in schools, colleges etc. nothing disturbs him
All government procedures for obtaining approvals.are terribly chaotic but an
average Indian takes it well in his stride..� Cleanliness An average Indian is not
disturbed by dirt, filth, gutter water sewage seeping over the streets,pissing in
the streets,shitting on railway tracks etc.But he would expect you to remove your
foot-wear when you enter his shop for shopping !� QueuesAn average Indian is not
disturbed by jumping of queues and given an opportunity he would also jump the
queue happily.The reason is Caste Dharma assigns different rights to different
castes.As such queue violation is a permitted value in the system.� An average
Indian is not sensitive to work commitment or perfection. He will claim that'
work is worship' and all that but when it comes to practice he will never
care.Recently a electrician in Tamil Nadu working on a power transformer was
electrocuted to death for a �minor mistake�. That �minor mistake� was �working
without wearing hand gloves�on a high-voltage transformer! No newspaper ever talks
about such a major negligence but disposes off it as his fate�.Mind you,he is not
an exception;he is the rule. Caste System is against any kind of work ethics, as
perfection does not matter at all ,in a CS environment .The job of each caste is
assured from their birth and they need not prove their eligibility or skill to do
it.Accordingly a Brahmin who is suffering from even contagious disease is not
ineligible to serve as priest in a temple, on account of the disease.Compare this
with the Biblical instructions on levitical priest hood which prescribes the
following norms for priest-hood:1)Num8.24 commands, �This applies to the Levites:
Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent
of meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service
and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at
the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how
you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.� God regulated the priestly
office and limited the age of priests to 25 to 50 years. Anyone younger or older
was not eligible to serve.2) God held the priests to the most stringent standards
of behavior and ritual purity (Leviticus 21). Abihu and Nadab were sons of Aaron
and two of the first priests. They disobeyed God, however, and were instantly
struck down (Leviticus 10:1�2). Later, the sons of the high priest Eli �treated the
offering of the Lord with contempt� and were also judged (1 Samuel 2:12�17). Since
work ethics is not considered important,an average Indian worker is never
punctual,not sincere in work,often misleading the customer,having tendency to do
certain things stealthily without the customer�s consent and not feeling bad if
caught red-handed. An average Indian worker does not feel proud about his work or
his skills.He is more concerned about making money somehow. A biscuit manufacturing
unit in Tamilnadu had surplus capacity which was leased to a foreign biscuit
company for manufacturing their products.But on one condition that the workers
shall wear hand gloves without fail, for reasons of hygiene.The staff union agreed
to the condition.However random inspections carried out subsequently, proved that
the workers stealthily removed their gloves during the work, whenever the
Supervisors were not seen around! Whatever best the management did to prevent this
practice failed because of the workers� mindset.Why do they do like that ?Who
controls their mindset? You should have known it by this time !

But Sensitive To:The average Indian,however is highly sensitive to the following.�

Any type of help done to the poor or needy. Nobody wants any kind of help to be
done to the poor labour category like porters, auto drivers, beggars etc. In
Bangalore Cantonment railway station the maximum porterage charges payable to
porters is fixed at Rs 70/- . I am not aware of any maximum charges on even
brokerage fixed for real estate deals. But in case of a porter demanding Rs 10
extra an average Indian fights tooth and nail to avoid giving it. He posts
complaints in social media for that Rs 10 /-extra !An average Indian is not willing
to give Rs 10/-per month,for door collection of garbage but will happily give Rs
5000/- for a 10 day summer camp for kids ! To strengthen this attitude of not
helping the 'poor' ,lot of superstitions have been floated over the years.One is
that 'poor hate help from the rich.They hate extending their hand for help' This is
to prevent poor from asking for help.There is another ,for preventing the rich from
helping."If you help the poor,you will soon become like them !"� The most sensitive
area is that of 'caste'. An average Indian can not tolerate any thing except any
kind of benefit ,reservation or advantage that is given to a caste other than his
caste.He employs all his arsenal to fight against such a move tooth and nail.More
than the desire for benefits for his caste,the feeling that the other caste should
not get anything rules. He is also against any sort of dilution of the caste system
through intercaste marriages. He will go to any extent to defend his caste.�Any
extent� means and includes� killing of own daughter,son or sister who gets into a
intercaste relationship�.This he considers as a� honour killing �to save the caste

Sensitivities Determine Priorities! Our pattern of 'sensitivities' determine our

priorities.For example, suppose in my family the youngest brother is starving every
day and I have lots of money.If I am sensitive to his suffering ,the first priority
for me will be to provide him food.If I am not sensitive to his suffering,I can go
for a lavish BMW car with the money I have.Does this explain why India is going for
Space Research when 300 mnof its people are below poverty line ?.�

Is� Hatred� ,a part of Caste System ? Since the caste system is a vertical
arrangement of various castes,every caste feels superior to the castes which are
placed below them and inferior to the castes which are placed above them . So none
of the castes except the highest that is ,Brahmins feel adequate and full.The
lowest in the ladder, that is the Dalits feels the most crushed and rejected by
every body .They are made to feel that they are zero in the system. One common
thread that seems to run through the entire CasteSystem is the utter contempt for
the lower castes and high respect for the higher castes In practice,however this
translates into a vein of �hatred �running through entire line of hierarchy. Due to
this feeling of hatred the Hindus are not sensitive to the suffering of the other
castes ,though they are part of their own religion.Sometimes,they may become be
sensitive even to the suffering of people in different countries. The Government of
India ,once raised funds for Nelson Mandela to fight against Apartheid in Africa,
while 300 million Indians are still suffering under the curse of untouchabllity
right on is own soil! This inbuilt �hatred� in CS works against creating the
feeling of �one nation�.�

CS Sure Breeds Inferiority Complex

At the cost of repetition,let me tell that the caste system is a vertical

arrangement of various castes. Every caste feels superior to the castes which are
placed below them and inferior to the castes which are placed above them . So none
of the castes except the highest that is ,Brahmins feel adequate and full. The
lowest in the ladder, that is the Dalits feels the most crushed and rejected by
every body .They are made to feel that they are zero in the system.Overall,every
caste suffer from a strong feeling of �inferiority complex�s an essential part of
CS mindset. Compare this position with the poor in Africa. Even the darkest
Africans or Afro-Americans always feel proud about themselves.�

CS and Communication CS affects effective 'communication' as such, as each caste

perceives any issue or problems with its own eyes. In other words what is a problem
for one caste need not a problem for another caste. Some times what is bad for one
caste may even be a source of joy for another caste.This prevents level
communication between two different castes. CS prevents free communication due to
clash of interests .This is the reason for the foreigners� feeling that Indians do
not mean what they speak! �

CS and Suffering Of Others/Helping Unknown People

The treatment of each caste in a CS depends on the position they occupy in the
hierarchy .As per the position the degree of respect or contempt for the caste
concerned is decided .The higher the caste the higher the respect and the lower the
caste higher is the contempt .Accordingly a low caste person is treated lower than
even animals.While the animals are permitted to pass through the streets or the
higher caste ,the lower caste Dalits are not permitted to pass through the same
streets,As a consequence of this ,any kind of suffering undergone by the Dalits are
simply not visible to the eyes of the upper caste ..As this attitude gets embedded
in the Hindu mind set ,they simply ignore victims of accidents or those who are in
a SOS situation.The person affected does not mind about this indifference of others
who is suffering ,as he is conditioned not to expect any help from anyone.This is
the main reason why bleeding accident victims in India are not helped by anyone
passing by.They may give different reasons for their apathy,as they themselves may
not be aware of these real reasons.�

How does CS impact Depression/Anger /Anxiety ? Caste system nurtures negative

feelings like �depression anger ,anxiety,etc� in every one.The' lower castes'
always live under a feeling of �threat� despite having intelligence,etc .The higher
castes who are the rulers never recognize the merit of the lower classes.As a
consequence, these people suffer from constant anger,anxiety ,nervousness and
related health problemsl.They are not sure of their future or even the next

CS and Cheating Since CS does not accept ground realities which clash with the
Caste Dharma,it has either to put it down through lies or through cheating.Many of
the religious literature carry stories of vile cheating, tricks etc employed to
save the CS from destruction.Hence cheating becomes an accepted and essential part
of maintaining the Caste Dharma.�

CS and Personal Grooming CS does not attach any importance to

presentation,personality,looks etc which are required for executive jobs in other
cultures.A Brahmin is considerd as belonging to a high caste even if he is half
clad without any upper garment or in whatever look he wants.Similarly a person
belonging to a low caste is considered as low even if he is smartly dressed in a
coat and suit and well groomed.Consequently personal grooming in a caste society
does not matter at all. all.Even public leaders are casually dressed and their
personal looks are hardly given attention to.The only well dressed Indian political
leader happens to be a Dalit,Dr.B.R.Ambedkar,always dressed right.Even ,a famous
cine-actor,known for his �style�, appears in public meetings dressed in
surprisingly inappropriate attire.In fact earlier before the advent of
globalization in India,many Indians would not have had regular haircuts.More over
certain communities believe in having tied up hair than a smart haircut as a part
of their caste requirement.So when compared to even the poorest African
countries,Indians do not attach any importance to looks and personal
grooming.Married women moreover are not expected to �make-up� for fear of
attracting other men.�

CS and Helping Unknown People/HumanityWe have already seen how CS is totally

insensitive to the suffering of the people of lower castes of the same
religion.When the upper caste are so insensitive to the suffering of their own
people,how will they react to the suffering of unknown people or the humanity.Their
mindset is built against helping people.This is a reason why so much food is wasted
in India when millions of people go hungry everyday.

Let Us Join Hands And Kill This Monster!

Before I conclude this long study,let me admit that I have not covered the impact
of Caste System on some more areas like hypocrisy,lust etc ,for want of space.
Having known about the ill effects of Caste System over the mindset and attitudes
of every Indian,I feel ,I need not emphasize the need to destroy the evil monster
in the interests of the nation.

The first step towards that can be taken by the Government of India and the State
Governments.They can create a new category of casteless people in India called
�Free Category(FEC)� and encourage people belonging to any caste to renounce their
caste and be called the" Free Category� category.Government can consider reserving
20% of all the Government/public sector/private sector vacancies to this newly
created category.The reservation percentage may be reviewed later and increased if
necessary.This reservation can be in addition to the stipulated maximum percentage
of 50% for reservations.Apart from this Government can also encourage intercaste
marriages whose offsprings can be categorized under �Free Category� category.All
educational institutions should make available this option of declaration as ��Free
Category" while admitting students. Media should be barred from highlighting caste
based activities and news.Caste references should be dropped in films,serials and
talks and people encouraged to drop their caste surnames with incentives.

As building up this rigid caste system took around 3000

years,breaking it down may also make take sometime.Neverthless the first step needs
to be taken so that the country moves forward to become a super power in
reality.After all Caste System is nothing but celebration of division and hatred
and not unity and growth !

What is caste system?

Caste System of today is a corruption of the real Varna system, which used to be
talent based and not handed over from father to son, but, from teacher to student.
It went as follows:
A student, whose role in the society in the future is not yet known is sent to
Gurkul before Puberty , to pursue education and gain skill. After some years , the
teachers , who have taught him/her would decide whether the person would do
commerce (vaishya), be a part of governance and implementing law, order and defence
(Kshatriya), become a knowledge resource or researcher/scientist ( Brahman ) or
would contribute to maintaining hygiene, production of food and other relatively
low skill job workmanship ( Shudras ).
This decision would be based on the interest, talent and observation throughout
years of primary teaching and on some ancient Indian techniques like pouring
mercury on a U shaped hand of the student and then understanding the flow to get a
picture of a students mental aptitude. ( I have read about this ,but, haven't found
a reference any where else)
It would also be based on the teachers observation of the character of the student.
A treacherous or a weak character for e.g. would never be put in a Varna where in
future he/she could hold a seat of power or influence.
Somewhere down the line, the common Human trait of possession and passing on
everything you have as a heredity coupled with the fact that as is the environment
in the house, so tend to be the kids. For e.g. a Doctor's kid becomes doctor and so
on, this system became hereditary.
Later on, this developed in to identity for the whole communities.

What is the problem?

People from the upper castes saw this opportunity to hold to power in society
permanently for themselves and future generations . This meant 1. Oppression and
discrimination against the lower castes
2. Lesser skilled people in the wrong profession at the top.
3. Some treacherous and weak characters at influential positions.

This led to the corruption of the whole society and the system

Answers to this question are generally 'cute' which ask me the question - Am I
living in the same India they are living in ? So, let me put some blatant roadside
reality in perspective.

My answer to a similar question What is the history of the caste system in South
Asia? is copied below:

There has been a greater debate on what encapsulated what or what initiated
what. After long considerations, most historians accede to an accepted notion
that Varna encapsulated Jati.

The term caste(root meaning 'pure') is of European origin and both Varna and Jati
reflect a different history and etymology. They, themselves can not be clubbed
together as one and they are different terms. Neither Jati developed into Varna nor
vice versa. Varna was imposed on a society that was familiar with the notion of

The various Jatis and groups were allotted Varna status to keep the social
ordering intact. The statuses were provided according to the politics and social
scenarios. Since, allotting a higher status meant sharing resources, most of the
groups were allotted with a Shudra status. The lower status was also provided to
continue the availability of labour.

The members of a same group, the Abhiras were given diferrent Varna status -
Brahman or Shudra.

A striking example is of Lingayat caste in the peninsula. It grew out of a

religious sect but included as a Jati and provided a Varna status.


The evolution of the idea of Varna can be found in the Vedic corpus. Since Rigveda
is the earliest literary source, it came to be seen as the genesis of the Varna

The Vedas reflect a Brahmanical view of caste and maintain that Varnas were created
on a particular occasion and remained virtually unchanged since then. The
original text describes a primeval sacrifice and emergence of four groups:
Brahmins (ritual priests), Kshatrias (Warrior aristocrats), Vaishyas(Pastoralist,
cultivator, trader) and Shudra(those who labor for others). The fifth part
mellechas(the 'untouchables') were clans who refused to accept Vedic Brahmanism and
its social ordering. They continued being hunter-gatherers and pastoralists and
formed their own clan societies.

The initial view of Vedas came from Aryan speakers who migrated to South
Asia. A group among them claimed a ritual status and called themselves Brahmins.
The priests held the ritual a authority to legitimize kings and kingdoms. They
were a medium between gods and men which stamped their higher status. They
claimed themselves the purest. The wheels started churning to re-organize social
groups.For a society to become caste based society there has to be three
preconditions. All these three were satisfied with Varna.

1. The society must register social disparities.

2. There has to be unequal access to resources for various groups, maybe on the
basis of perceived qualities or traits.
3. The inequalities should be legitimised through a theoretically
irreversible hierarchy and imposition of that hierarchy must be claimed on a
supernatural authority.


The origin of Jatis, on the other hand can be traced back to clans and tribes in
neolithic societies. They were not mentioned until later sections of the
corpus, they don't constitute a development by the Indo- Aryan speakers. The
basic occupations of such clans could be counted on fingers: it was hunting and
gathering, and later pastoralism and agriculture. A clan could be divided in
what one does and it was the initial functioning of occupational divisions. The
work and relations were based on kinship and it was not attached to birth.
Later, in Ind-Aryan texts(written after the Vedic corpus), the term Jati(root
meaning 'birth') was attached to occupational systems to give it a status attached
to birth.The initial system of Jati was completely different from what the society
offered in modern times.
Coming back to the original question, it is in trend nowadays to mix Jati with
Varna, with the former superseding the latter. It solves two major purposes:

1. It still maintains the hierarchy claiming that the Varna was actually chosen
by you, not the other way around. It gives people a reason to follow the
hierarchy thereby maintaining Varna and its yield.

2. It saves Hinduism/Brahmanism from one of the worst forms of human oppression

in human history. Americans are ashamed for their acts of slavery, Germans are
shameful for their acts during the WW2, Indians were always perfect.

The claim that it helped people in recognizing others is ludicrous at best.

Historical India had no signboards to tell you who lived in that hut. The advent of
Varna was in the period of the Rigveda. In those times, humans were mainly hunter-
gatherers, farmers and pastoralists, and business was off-course very basic. The
clans and villages were so small that finding someone was not a matter of great
concern. Anyways, Jati was enough to recognize profession. Varna was not needed.
The only justification of Varna was to segregate people, concentrate resources in
limited hands, provide continuous labor, and maintain the Brahman authority to

Attaching profession to even Jati was an imprudent idea. Initially, when the
choices of profession were countable on fingers, it could solve some trivial
purpose. Afterwards, when human society advanced, it blocked people from adopting
any profession other than their father's. It produced a society where even
knowledge was concentrated in a few hands, with others not allowed to even read.
Moreover, it gave people a reason to oppress others as a matter of following a
divine duty.

We can find profession based surnames everywhere in the world. Surnames such as
Butcher and Carpenter are easily found in England. It is in India that we attached
purity to profession in the name of Varna and formed a stringent system that took
away people's rights. We messed up with whole system and are still clinging on to
find some validity in it. A sorry state it is.

I suggest you read Jotirao Phule's essay Caste Laws.

In that essay Jotirao Phule is saying that Brahmins were not the aborigines of
India. These Aryans came to India not with the peaceful intensions of colonisation,
but as conquerors. The actual aborigines who they displaced, were brave people who
showed great resistance to these Aryans, thus causing great hatred towards them by
the Aryans. Aryans designated hateful terms to the aborigines like Sudras, Mahari
etc which show their dislike towards them. They established themselves as supereme
and thus formed the caste system to keep the aborigines under their control.

Few extracts from the essay :

"The highest rights, the highest privileges and gifts, and everything that would
make the life of a Brahmin easy, smooth going and happy- everything that would
conserve or flatter their self-pride,- were specially inculcated and enjoined,
whereas the Sudras were regarded with supreme hatred and contempt, and commonest
rights of humanity were denied to them."

Here he is citing few instances in which Brahmins established their supremacy.-

Never shall the King slay a Brahmin, though he has committed all possible crimes.
To save the life of Brahmin any falsehood may be told. There is no sin in it.
A king, though dying with want, must not receive any tax from a Brahmin, nor suffer
him to be afflicted with hunger or the whole kingdom will be afflicted with famine.
No superfluous accumulation of wealth shall be made by a Sudra, even though he has
the power to make it, since the servile man who has amassed riches becomes proud,
and by his insolence or neglect he gives pain even to Brahmins.
"Their main object in fabricating these falsehoods was to dupe the minds of the
ignorant and to rivet firmly on them the chains of perpetual bondage and slavery
which their selfishness and cunning had forged."

"The severity of the laws as affecting the Sudras, and the intense hatred with
which they were regarded by the Brahmins can be explained on no other supposition
but that there was, originally between the two, a deadly feud, arising from the
advent of the latter into this land.."

Sudras were denied the basic of rights. The slavery to which the Sudras were
reduced was not merely physical but also mental subjugation, the minds if the
Sudras were enslaved. If you read Deliverance by Premchand you would see that the
Sudras had accepted that they were untouchables who had been born to serve the
higher class. They were not able to release their minds from the state of servitude
and were mentally bound to the cruel and inhuman laws to which they were always

It was only after they were educated they were freed from such inhuman shackles.

Hi guys, I�m late but I wanted to add my input in on this and I wanted to add some
more caste information that many Indians aren't aware of.

The caste system in India is a very ancient form of social stratification that
evolved in Vedic Times, gained more complexity in the Ancient Era and faced
additions during Muslim Rule. Since everyone has drained the Hindu Caste System I
wanted to discuss the Muslim Version of this system and what it means.

Many people are not aware of this but, a caste system does exist among Muslims from
South Asia as it does with Hindus. However, the Muslim variant of caste comes in
direct violation of Islam�s view as everyone is an equal. The system arose in the
Early Delhi Sultanates as a court adviser suggested a system that paralleled that
of the Hindus that lived in India. The Hindu caste system is based on occupation
while the Muslim caste system is based on ancestry.

The system goes like this:

Ashrafs (Foreigners who came to India and assimilated):

Syeds- People from the Arabian Peninsula who claim descent from The Prophet
Muhammad (S.A.W). These people arrived during the conquest of Sindh, trade in
Kerala and the Konkan and Ummayad expansion into Multan.
Sheikhs- People from Arabia, who arrived during the first few successive Delhi
Sultanates as well as the era before Indian Muslim Empires, by trade, conquest or
missionary quests to several regions of the Subcontinent. Hindu Brahmin converts
automatically became Sheikh.
Mughals- People from Central Asia and Persia. These people came during the Mughal
Dynasty, and an earlier group arrived during one of the Dehli Sultanates,
furthermore a southern group from the Deccan arrived pre-Mughal era to form the
Bahmani and Deccan Sultanates.
Pathans- People from Afghanistan and Pakistan who arrived during the Ghaznawi
invasions, Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire.
Ajlafs (All other converts)
Arzals: Muslim Dalits and No Caste (Caste Renouncers).
Migration and Life after Migration:

A Map of the Migrations looks like this:

The following map depicts the migrations by the Ashrafs (Upper Castes) and their
areas of origin and settlement.

The Ashrafs who migrated to areas like Bengal, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Sindh
etc. assimilated into the local cultures by adopting customs, language, food and
clothing of the Hindus and Newly Converted Muslims. Over a few generations Ashrafs
married Hindu Brahmin and Kshatriya women; the Syeds and Sheikhs preferred to marry
convert Brahmins and the Mughals and Pathans married Kshatriya Women. Since the
Ashrafs were not Sufis and orginally converted in the early era of Islam when the
Ummayads and Abbasids exited they practiced Islam in a more orthodox way. The Syeds
and Sheikhs were the heads of the religious community much like the Brahmins while
the Mughals and Pathans were soliders, and kings much like the Kshatriyas.
The Ajlafs were the Sudras and Vaishyas of the Hindu Caste System who remained
below the Ashrafs because they lacked the foreign ancestry needed to be an upper
caste Indian Muslim. Their conversion was mostly through the Sufis who swept the
Indo-Gangetic Plain. They maintained their laborious and artisan occupations and
never got the chance to rise up to parallel the Ashrafs.
The Arzals held on to their culture like the Ashrafs and Ajlafs and converted
mostly because of the Sufis and the alternative to caste (unfortunately, they
couldn't escape caste). They remained in their occupations and never rose any
higher than what they were before conversion.
Comparing Hindu and Muslim Castes:

The lines are drawn in a way that shows how parallel the castes are to each other
in Hinduism and Islam in India.

But wait�.

Just like Hindu castes Muslim Castes don�t end here:

There are sub castes, which like Hindu Castes are like Jatis (Ethnicity and Clan).

Syeds: Thangal (Kerala); Harnai (Balochistan); Hassani, Husseini (Punjab); Rizvi,
Naqvi (UP); Dawans (Assam)
Sheikhs: Quraishi, Hashmi, Siddiqui, Farooqi, Usmani, Ansari (Common to all
Ethnicties);Khatris, Qanungoh, Khawajam Rajputs and Saraswat Brahmin
Mughals: Subdivsions over land of ancestry (Bukhari, Samarkhandi etc.)
Pathans: Nasli and Diwani
The Ajlafs and Arzals are still divided in sub-castes from before conversion.
Just like Hindu last names Muslim last names are often derived by caste:

Upper Caste (Ashraf): Quraishi, Hashmi, Siddiqui, Farooqi, Usmani, Ansari, Mirza,
Baig, Khan, Yousufzai, Shah, Naqvi, Rizvi, Syedar, Zamindara etc.
Many people often overlook caste system as one for Hindus only, but Muslims and
other South Asian communities use caste as well. It�s something that is embedded
into the Subcontinent, even other communities and groups that migrated to India
embraced caste.

In Hindu Mythology people were divided on the basis of the kind of work they do.
They were divided into four classes or varnas.

1)Brahmins : scholars , teachers etc (Their job is to attain and spread knowledge)
2)Kshtariyas : rulers, kings , emperors etc ( Their job is to rule)
3) Vaishyas : farmers (Their job is cultivation & trade)
4) Shudras : Guys who dont fall under above three (Their job is to serve the other
three classes)

If you felt Shudras were the lowest category here , you can't be more wrong as
there are different set of people who are not even part of these classes and
considered untouchables. (Dalit & Adivasi)

Now each of these classes are further divided into subgroups based on different
criteria. For example brahmins are divided based on their gotra. Now one gothra
might be considered above others and only they might be entrusted with jobs like
priests. So again within each of these classes there might be discrimination based
on different aspects.

In ancient India though these are the classes defined , teh system wasn't rigid.
That means a person born in a class can choose to be part of other class. For
example Valmiki was a shudra by birth but became a maharshi and authored Ramayana ,
to become a Brahmin.

It is only during British regime and their divide and rule policy that the system
became rigid and made out to be such a huge issue. However during their rule the
caste feeling got inculcated in lot of Indians.

After Independence , while putting together a constitution the people involved

discussed various ways of coming up with a system to have equal rights for all
citizens irrespective of their caste. But there were sections of people who were
traditionally treated in a very bad way like dalit's and aadivashi's , so giving
equal rights may not be good enough for people like them. At this point citizens of
India were divided into three categories ,

1)Forward Castes
2)Backward Castes
3)Scheduled Castes and Tribes

Based on the history, government of India tried to undo the discrepancy that was
shown to certain classes of people. They introduced maximum reservation for SC's
and ST's and small reservations for BC's in various goverments jobs and colleges
thereby giving them a chance to develop themselves. Also other religions like
Muslims , Christians are added to one of these three categories based on various

However after 67 years of Independence , India is still caught up with caste system
though no one would like to agree. It improved to certain extent that there are no
untouchables (i.e. to say physically). But there are still people who look down on
lower caste people and treat them as untouchables mentally. Though they would let
people to be friends with a person from different caste, most of the parents are
not willing to get their child into a marriage with a person of different caste.
That's the reason for honor killings we see in Newspapers these days.

Though most of the educated youth are moving away from this approach and getting
into inter caste and inter religion marriages, we are still not at a stage where we
can say that the caste system disappeared.

Though we have rapid industrialization and economic growth in our country , it is

just helping rich get richer and poor get poorer. This is because the benefits are
not shared equally. For example the reservations for lower castes is being availed
by only certain sections who already became rich by using those reservations
before. Economic stature of the lower caste's is not being taken into consideration
while providing reservation. They have tried to do it with BC's , where they have
divided them into creamy and non creamy and non creamy where BC's with good
economic status are part of creamy layer and cant avail reservation. But when it
comes to SC's and ST's no government can dare to do it because of the vote bank

The caste system prevails in India. Its sad but true.

Sorry for my long answer.

Source : Caste system in India

The following is an extract from the book "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramhansa


The origin of the caste system, formulated by the great legislator Manu, was
admirable. He saw clearly that men are distinguished by natural evolution into four
great classes:
those capable of offering service to society through their bodily labor (SUDRAS);
those who serve through mentality, skill, agriculture, trade, commerce, business
life in general (VAISYAS);
those whose talents are administrative, executive, and protective-rulers and
warriors (KSHATRIYAS);
those of contemplative nature, spiritually inspired and inspiring (BRAHMINS).
�Neither birth nor sacraments nor study nor ancestry can decide whether a person is
twice-born (i.e., a BRAHMIN);�
the MAHABHARATA declares, �character and conduct only can decide.�
Manu instructed society to show respect to its members insofar as they possessed
wisdom, virtue, age, kinship or, lastly, wealth. Riches in Vedic India were always
despised if they were hoarded or unavailable for charitable purposes. Ungenerous
men of great wealth were assigned a low rank in society. Serious evils arose when
the caste system became hardened through the centuries into a hereditary halter.

Lets try to understand caste-system from the point of view of Vedas.There is no

caste-system in Vedas. Vedas contain no word that can be considered as Synonym for
Caste. Caste, Jaati & Varna are three different words. Today people have mistaken
Varnas for caste and treat them as identical.

It is unfortunate that where Vedas were foundation of our culture, we forgot their
original lessons and got trapped into misconceptions regarding Birth-Based caste
system and discrimination. It is difficult to trace out when the caste system
entered into the life of Hindus and how and why there occurred confusion between
the Varna System and the caste creation. caste as a system began to be rigidly
adhered to during the Islamic Invasions and their rule of torture leading to
conversion. It may probably be the 10th century. There never existed any rigid
observation of the system that separated one from the other. Even the food prepared
by the low caste people was consumed by all caste peoples regardless of any

[A] Jaati & Varnas

1. Jaati

It means classification based on origion.

�Samaanaprasavaatmika Jaatih� from Nyaya sutra means those having similar birth
source form a Jaati.
A particular Jaati will have similar physical characteristics.
It can�t change from one to another & can�t cross-breed.
We get information from the Padma Purana that there are 8.4 million species of life
which are divided into six groups, namely acquatics, trees, insects, birds, animals
and humans. So all human beings including Brahmans, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra form
a Jaati.

2. Varna

Varna means that is adopted by choice & Jaati is given by God.

The intermixing among castes was as liberal as it made the cross-over an easy-go.
The caste changes were very easy in the process & was based on complete freedom of
[B] Four Varnas as per Vedas.

Brahmin-the seers, the reflective ones, the priests.

He is called a Brahmana in whom are truth, gifts, abstention from injury to others,
compassion, shame, benevolence and penance.
They possessthe attribute of Goodness (Sattwa)
The intellectual and spiritual leaders.
In our society, they would correspond to the philosophers, religious leaders, and
Kshatriyas- the born administrators (formerly nobles, rajahs, and warriors).

He who is engaged in the profession of battle, who studies the Vedas, who makes
gifts (to Brahmanas) and takes wealth (from those he protects) is called a
They had the attribute of Passion (Rajas).
The protectors of society.
In our society, the politicians, police, and the military.
Vaisyas-the producers, the craftsmen, artisans, farmers.

He who earns fame from keep of cattle, who is employed in agriculture and the means
of acquiring wealth, who is pure in behaviour and attends to the study of the
Vedas, is called a Vaisya.
They got a mixture of the two, i.e., both goodness and passion (Sattwa and Rajas);
The skillful producers of material things.
In our society, the merchants.
Shudras-the unskilled laborers or laboring class.

He who takes pleasure in eating every kind of food, who is engaged in doing every
kind of work, who is impure in behaviour, who does not study the Vedas, and whose
conduct is unclean, is said to be a Sudra.
They got the attribute of Darkness (Tamas).
The followers or the maintenance people.
The so-called menial workers or hard laborers.
[C] Analysis of Purush sukta

It is misinterpreted from Purush sukta that Brahmans are created from mouth,
Kshatriya from hands, Vaishya from thighs & Shudras from Legs. Lets see how.

God is formless & shapeless as per Yajurveda (40.8) then how can he take shape and
originate humans from his body parts?
It contradicts law of Karma which says that we can change our destiny by our
actions. So one born as shudra can became king in next birth. But if shudras are
born from feets of God then can he take birth from hands of God?

Soul is eternal and it has chance to opt for Varna when it takes birth as Human. If
we assume that God has body then also it is technically impossible that soul is
taking birth from God.
So actual meaning of Yajurved mantra 31.10 from Purusha sukta means that �In
society, Brahmans forms the Brain/Head/Mouth that thinks or speaks, Kshatriya forms
the hands that protects, Vaishya forms the thighs that support & nurture & Shudra
forms the legs that lays the foundation�
Even the Brahmans texts, Manusmriti, Mahabharata, Ramayana & Bhagwat don�t state
anything even close to such hypothesis where God created different Varnas from his
body parts.
It is obvious that why Brahmans are given high respect in Vedas. Scholars & experts
get our respect in modern society too however dignity of labor is equally
emphasized in Vedas.
[D] How can anybody adopt his Varna ?

Brahmana can become a Shudra, a Shudra can become a Brahmana, a Kshatriya can
become a Brahmana or a Vaishya, and so on.

A Brahmana is no Brahmana if he is not endowed with purity and good character, or

if he leads a life of frivolity and immorality. However, a Shudra is a Brahmana if
he leads a virtuous and pious life. Varna or caste is a question of character.
Varna is not the color of the skin, but the color of one�s character and quality.
Conduct and character is what matters and not lineage alone

When a pious nature and pious deeds are noticeable in even a Sudra, he should be
held superior to a person of the three regenerate classes. Neither birth, nor the
purificatory rites, nor learning, nor offspring, can be regarded as grounds for
conferring upon one the regenerate status. Verily conduct is the only ground.

Everyone is born shudra as per Vedas. Then based on his education he becomes
Brahman, Kshatriya or Vaishya.The completion of education is considered as second
birth. So these three Varnas are called �Dwija� or twice-born.But those who remain
uneducated because of any reason are not discarded from society but continue as
shudra and perform support activities.

If son of Brahmin doesnot completes his education then became a shudra & similarly
son of shudra can became Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya as per his education. Lets
see examples.

1. Lower to upper castes

Aitareya Rishi was son of a Daasa or criminal but became a Brahmin of highest order
and wrote Aitareya Brahman and Aitareyopanishad.
Ailush Rishi was son of a Daasi, gambler and of low character. However he
researched on Rigveda and made several discoveries. Not only was he invited by
Rishis but also made an Acharya.
Satyakaam Jaabaal was son of a prostitute but became a Brahmin.
Matanga was son of Chandal but became a Brahmin.
As per Bhagvat, Agniveshya became Brahmin though born to a king.
Rathotar born in Kshatriya family became a Brahmin as per Vishnu Puran and Bhagvat.
Haarit became Brahmin though born to Kshatriya.
2. Upper to lower castes

Nabhag, soon of King Nedishtha became Vaishya. Many of his sons again became
Raavan was born from Pulatsya Rishi but became a Rakshas
Pravriddha was son of Raghu King but became a Rakshas.
Trishanku was a king but became a Chandal
3. Multiple changes

Son of Vishwamitra became Shudra. Vishwamitra himself was a Kshatriya who later
became a Brahmin
Prishadh was son of King Daksha but became a Shudra. Further he did Tapasya to
achieve salvation after repenting.Had Tapasya been banned for Shudra as per the
fake story from Uttar Ramayan, how could Prishadh do so?
Dhrist was son of Nabhag (Vaishya) but became Brahmin and his son became
Kshatriya.Further in his generation, some became Brahmin again.
Shaunak became Brahmin though born in Kshatriya family. In fact, as per Vayu Puran,
Vishnu Puran and Harivansh Puran, sons of Shaunak Rishi belonged to all four
The word �Shudra� has come in Vedas around 20 times. Nowhere has it been used in a
derogatory manner. Nowhere it mentions that Shudras are untouchable, birth-based,
disallowed from study of Vedas, lesser in status than other Varnas, disallowed in
Yajnas. The Rishis like Vasisth, Vishwamitra, Angira, Gautam, Vaamdeva and Kanva
exhibited traits of all the four Varnas

[E] Conclusion

It is therefore to be concluded that humanity is essentially one, but distinctions

of caste have been made according to a person�s qualities and work [mentality and
consciousness]. As far as general behavior is concerned, the entire human race is
one. So we have seen that there is no element of birth-based discrimination of any
manner in the Vedas and everybody had full freedom to choice the Varna as per his
qualifications so lets we all unite together as one single family, embrace each
other as brothers and sisters following the scriptures which says whole universe is
a family �Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam� & reject the last element of birth-based
discrimination of any manner.


Caste System in Hinduism by Dr. R. K. Lahri

Caste System
Vedic Literature Says Caste by Birth is Unjust
India's Caste System - dummies
Hinduism and Caste System
The reality of caste system - 1
Vedic Caste System | Caste System of Ancient India - Important India
Caste Hierarchy And Discrimination
Not Sanctioned By The Vedas
This problem has arised due to misinterpretation of Varna system.Varna system is
subdivided by British into 3000 castes as per their divide and rule policy of
British.They conducted census based on caste for the first time and they din�t know
which caste to be placed in which respective varna and so created many castes as
many as 3000.

First let us understand what Hinduism is.Understanding what actually is Hinduism

solves the problem. Sanathana Dharma is the actual name of Hinduism, what we are
calling no-a-days. Dharma is not what we are just what we are seeing in Hinduism.
Aim of every Hindu is to attain MOKSHA- ABSOLUTE REALITY/TRUTH. It is nothing but
reliving from continuous rebirths and deaths.We have 4 paths to attain Moksha.

1.Gnana yoga(path),

2. Raja Yoga(path),

3.Karma yoga(path),

4. Bhakti yoga(path).

Each has its own importance. For simple understanding we can compare all of them to
our schooling system. First level is the highest level of it. Last one is easiest
ofall.It is the choice of individual to select one yoga to attain Moksha based on
their own capabilities. Gnana(means wisdom)yoga constitutes the vedas,
Upanishats(Vedanta -part of Vedas). Raja yoga is simpler level which constitutes
Meditation(Upasana), Patanjali Yoga sutras(modern day exercise yoga).Karma (means
action) yoga is that you have to perform Karma as a contribution to society which
is selfless. Bhagavadgita gives 4 Varnas in our society-Brahmin(learnt,
professors,administrative advisers,priests). Kshatriya(politicians/warriors).
Vishyas(business people). Sudras(servers). This can be compared to a cashless
communist society but with class system. These classes can be observed in whole
world in modern day also. If a person is in Karma Yoga he has to perform his duties
according to his varna selflessly to society as above to attain Moksha. If he does
his duties for his selfish needs he cannot attain Moksha.

Weather a Brahmin or black Smith if he does his karma correctly he is a Karma yogi
and both are given Moksha. There is no inequality between any varna if you read
Bhagavad Gita. It is a sin if anyone thinks superior to other because every karma
is necessary for society to prosper as per Bhagavad Gita. This has been
misunderstood,misinterpreted in many ways. Finally easiest is bhakti yoga in which
there is only devotion to God. They perform idol worship in bhakti yoga. Higher
level cannot deny lower level yoga because it is similar to our classes in school.
A 10th standard student cannot deny 1st class standard because they have limited
knowledge. But according to that particular 1st standard student is sufficient. As
that student strives to go to next class only after passing 1st standard. Similarly
in Hinduism if one has to reach gnana yoga... first he has to cross karma yoga,
Raja yogas. This is the essence of BhagavadGita.Gnana yoga teachs something like
Adivtham(Universal Non-duality) which has nothing to do with idol worship. For
example there are 3 parts in Vedas.Karmakanda,Upasana, vedanta(upanishats). So if a
Brahmin boy starts to learn Vedas first he is taught his Krama i.e, doing yagnas,
yagas. Then the next level Upasana-meditation on Vedic Chants. Final level of gnana
yoga is Vedanta. Some can stop at the level of Karma also. It is his choice. So
anyone can choose his Yoga, according to his own capacities, perform Sadhana with
the help of a guru of particular Yoga to become a yogi.

Hinduism explains life is evolved and not created(read Advitha vedanta). Vedas are
the oldest known sound records of mankind(according to science also). UNESCO
declared that Vedas are undistorted for thousands of years. Any record(even with
technology) would have been tampered in these years, but every sound in Vedas are
perfect because of our Guru parampara(lineage of Gurus). various shastras emerged
here with science, maths, engineering, philosophy, economics, financial sciences
etc when whole world was in dark ages. I can say much of the maths that we use
today originated here(refer Indian mathematics Wikipedia page) and many metals were
first produced here.

We can observe why communism has failed.... because anyone simply doesn't work
effectively because he gets same importance weather he works or does not work.This
can be understood in India with Socialist Government offices.There employee will
get salary weather he may work or not. So many won�t work.This is the reason
communist countries fell down in the world. But in Hinduism Karma(duty) is
astonishingly given spiritual importance and so he performs his KARMA well to
towards the society to attain MOKSHA for himself.Communism works to eliminate class
system but cannot be achieved as in many countries.But Hinduism has division of
labor which was intended to treat all classes equal but misunderstood. Varna system
is nothing but ancient class system more efficient than modern day class system.
Hinduism has an alternative system beyond communism and capitalism where both have
some problems. Hence Hinduism is not just a religion but a way of life.

Please upvote me if you think I am correct, not for my credit but truth can reach
many people.

The distinctive feature of the Indian caste system is Endogamy - marrying within
the same caste/related-castes. Castes (currently) are groups to which membership
can only be achieved by birth. Hereditary occupational groups exist/have existed in
most cultures, but the Indian caste system is one of the few that enforces
endogamy. Some caste members consider their castes superior or inferior to other
castes. There used to be a clear stratification of castes in a hierarchy, with some
amount of limited mobility up/down the ladder.

In modern India, economically well-off people have shed caste identities in

everyday life, except for the purpose of endogamy, which is still the dominant mode
of marriage. For the urban, educated upper caste person, they can usually tell if
someone belongs to their caste or not. This sometimes leads to very subtle positive
discrimination, but almost never negative discrimination.

Lower castes on the other hand, continue to cling to caste for various reasons,
including reservations, but also due to the lack of marital avenues for social
elevation. Marriage & sex have been a great equalizer in many societies, but cannot
really serve that role in India due to caste. Lower caste members tend to be less
skilled and less educated since their castes' values guide them towards early
employment. Consequently, there is a great deal of competition for low-wage,
commoditized jobs among lower-caste members. Since the labor pool is
undifferentiated, hiring is often based on comfort levels of the person doing the
hiring, which is often caste-based. This in turn reinforces caste identities among
the lower-castes.
The worst aspects of the caste system will only be broken when inter-caste marriage
among social strata (even small levels of marrying up/down, which now happens
within caste) becomes a lot more common than it is now.

It is a complicated question because there are a number of disagreements between


When & Where ?

1. Some scholar believe that caste system originated after vedic culture came to
India because four varnas (brahman, kshatriya, vaisya & shudra) are mentioned in
vedas. They believe castes to be sub categories of varnas

2. Some other scholars argue that probably caste was existing in Indus-Saraswati
civilization, because we have found evidences of specializations in crafts, and
with the coming of aryans culture, it got crystallized in varna system.
Interestingly in the earliest veda, Rig Veda, there is mention of only 2 varnas,
aryan varna and dasa varna. Varna means colour in sanskrit and dasa is similar to
daha in the language of Avesta, which means 'the other'. Probably earlier varna
system was only to differentiate aryans and other people. gradually caste system
gets assimilated into aryan culture and four varnas emerged encompassing among
themselves numerous caste.

Thus there remains debate weather varna predates caste or caste predates varna.

3. Another point of view is that caste system was crystallized only 2000 years back
with large number of foreigners coming to india for trade or as soldiers of warring
armies. Since those were 'groups' of people, to incorporate them into Indian
society, it was easier to identify them as a caste and put at a position in varna
hierarchy. This point of view, assumes caste as originating from racial

4. According to research of various sociologists, it is identified that there are

various mechanisms of caste formations:

a. occupational groups to caste : Like badhai, darzi, luhar, sunar etc.

b. Tribes to caste : Some tribal society when come in contact with wider mainstream
societies, their isolation ended, economic and service interdependence established
and they were incorporated into wider hindu society with a jati assigned to them.
There are still some instances where some of tribals refer to themselves as
'Adivasi jati'
c. Racial groups to jati : As explained in point 3
d. Religious sects to jati : There are some castes known as 'bairagi', kabirpanthi
e. Clan to jati : Some of the clans of aryan people gradually developed as a
separate jati


Again there can be several reasons, why Caste originated, like:

1. Need for Specialization : In ancient times, India was economically developed and
economic development can be sustained only through specialization. Some of these
specialized groups turned into jati.

2. According to famous sociologist Emily Durkheim, as a society develop with

increasing moral and material density (i.e increased population and interaction),
to avoid conflict among themselves, people specialize in particular roles and
becomes interdependent on each other. This result in organic solidarity in a
society. Indian society with caste and jajmani system is a beautiful example of
this concept.

3. Racial Pureness : Some of the immigrant groups might have wanted to maintain a
pure race of theirs and hence they created a separate 'jati' for themselves.

4. Need to classify : Ancient brahmans/priests/scholars of India were overzealous

of classifying everything. They classified people into jatis. they even classified
plants and animals into jatis (!)

India has its history and roots gone back to some thousands of years, various wars,
epics had happened. Many Great Rulers,from Lord Sri Rama to Chatrapati Shivaji and
Jhansi Laxmi Bai, several milleneia had passed. Right from the first existance of
the king, Caste System is been living. Before kings, Brahamans used to lead the
society. Even then, Caste system was present but not as much as when Kings and
Kingdoms arrived.

This Caste System Was called Varna System. This was not used to discriminate
people, rather it was created to classify people according to thier work done. Not
only work, each Varna has their own distinct Characteristic which can be found in
evey person belonging to that Varna.

The Varna System goes as follows:


Top cader and they lead society. These are majorly known as priests in temple. But
the word Brahmana signifies that �The one with Knowledge�. Brahmanas are only
allowed to study the Vedas, The portal of Immense knowledge. Its because only
brahmana can understand the purity in them. Thier Mindset is determined to be like
that. But being a Brahman is not easy and your perspective always matters.
Brahmanas are also scientists, Teachers, Preachers, Priests, Ministers, Political
and Spiritual advisers to Kings As they Know Vedas �It is the law and creator�s
manual�. And We Know �Knowledge is Devine�, Brahamana means one who has knowledge.
So Brahmanas Were given most respect in the society even by the kings, because they
are who keep the kingdom away from downfall. But these days, We humilate them every
where we see them, we don�t give pinch of respect. Vedas also said, downfall of
brahmana means downfall of the kingdom.

Chanakya, Nagarjuna, Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, Sushrutha, Bharadwaja, angeerasa,

Vishwamitra, etc are brahmins.


The One who has power, Majorly Kings, Senadhipathis (Supreme Comander of Army) and
warriors. They are destined to rule. Royalty lies in their Blood, they are very
caring about their citizens, also very ferocious. Strong minds and body are their
characteristics. Khsatriyas are who protect the nation and take care of citizen.
Diplomacy, art of warfare, the science of ruling people are some qualitites which
they posses by birth. Sacrifice and Honour are some of qualities that they have.

lord Rama, Pancha Pandavas, Chandra Gupta Maurya, Ashoka Samrat, Gauthami Putra
Shatakarni, Chatrapati Shivaji, Queen Rudrama Devi and Jhansi Laxmi Bai etc come
into this cader.


These are next to Khsatriyas. Merchants, Traders, Landlords, Businessmen come into
this group. They arre known for their skills in markting and trade. They are
backbone to income of the whole Kingdom. Our country had many Good traders who went
to many countries crossing distant seas and passing mountains. Silk Route is Major
trade to remember. Silk from south India to China is only because of our trading
skills. Vasco Da Gama didn�t came to india on his own. He followed our Gujarati
Merchant Chandan who is back on his to India from South Africa.

Vasco da Gama followed a Gujarati trader!

Our ship buliding skills were far greater than others, Chandan�s ship was three
times bigger than Vasco Da Gama�s.


Often Misunderstood as the lowest of all, But it is not the case. They were also
given respect in the society. Remaning People like Farmers, Workers, Artisans,
Infntry etc come into this cader. Without these people, we don�t even be able to
satisfy our basic needs. They work hard like ants, bulding block by block of what
brahmanas research. Even Khsatriya needs army, merchants need workers.

In whole context, our society was well designed, every varna needs other and are
interrelated. If one varna falls, whole society falls.

And There was barter System in our society for some time and coins were introduced.
So there nothing such as discrimination based on Caste. But People these days need
Reservation saying that they are backward. Yeah may be but many others also suffer.

Hope this suffering ends soon.

The Indian caste system can be equated to the feudal social model of Europe in the
medieval ages. There was a nobility (including royalty), the clergy attached to the
church, a community of craftsmen's guilds and traders and finally, the general lay
peasantry. The original caste system of India was identical, and to the extent it
still persists, it has the same basic structure.

The uppermost caste was the priests or the brahmins. They were followed by the
warrior caste (kshatriyas), from which the rulers of the states usually came. Then
was the trader class (vaisyas), followed by the peasantry (sudras). Originally the
caste system was flexible and based on actual vocation, But soon it hardened into
fixed hereditary categories.

It also has had a fair bit to do with racism. In great antiquity, India had already
been settled by dark skinned races, probably descendants of one of the earliest
wave of migrants out of Africa. They developed all the fixed skills necessary for
civilization, including cultivation of the land, settled agriculture and the
various crafts.

Then, several thousand years ago (exact date cannot be established with precision),
a race of fair skinned barbarians called the Aryans came in from central Asia
through the Khyber pass and occupied the northern plains to start with. These
people were good at warfare and had their own religion (which later evolved into
the present day Hinduism) but as wandering tribes they were no good at agriculture
or the trades.

Therefore, the Aryans placed their own vocations at the top of the social hierarchy
and that of the vanquished population at the bottom. The conquerors and the
conquered have always behaved identically across all times and at all places.

It is noteworthy that the caste system is not just restricted to Hindus in India.
Nearly all followers of the other so called classless and casteless religions such
as Islam or Christianity are relatively recent converts from Hinduism, and they
have very much carried their original caste structures into their respective

Today, the caste system still persists to the extent that intermarriages between
castes is still not seen as greatly desirable. But the harsher aspects like unequal
socioeconomic opportunity or untouchability have long since been abolished by law.
And the present generations do not pay heed to the intermarriage restrictions

In cities, from my experience, the only time you would come across caste-
conversations among the "middle-class" Indians is during marriages, or when someone
is looking for an excuse to berate someone else (claiming that person is of an
"inferior" caste). Religion is often a bigger barrier.

The social historical theory explains the creation of the Varnas, Jatis and of the
According to this theory, the caste system began with the arrival of the Aryans in
India. The Aryans arrived in India around 1500 BC. The fair skinned Aryans arrived
in India from south Europe and north Asia. Before the Aryans there were other
communities in India of other origins. Among them Negrito, Mongoloid, Austroloid
and Dravidian. The Negrito have physical features similar to people of Africa. The
Mongoloid have Chinese features. The Austroloids have features similar the
aboriginals of Australia. The Dravidians originate from the Mediterranean and they
were the largest community in India. When the Aryans arrived in India their main
contact was with the Dravidians and the Austroloids. The Aryans disregarded the
local cultures. They began conquering and taking control over regions in north
India and at the same time pushed the local people southwards or towards the
jungles and mountains in north India.
The Aryans organized among themselves in three groups. The first group was of the
warriors and they were called Rajayana, later they changed their name Rajayana to
Kshatria. The second group was of the priests and they were called Brahmans. These
two groups struggled politically for leadership among the Aryans. In this struggle
the Brahmans got to be the leaders of the Aryan society. The third group was of the
farmers and craftsmen and they were called Vaisya. The Aryans who conquered and
took control over parts of north India subdued the locals and made them their
servants. In this process the Vaisyas who were the farmers and the craftsmen became
the landlords and the businessmen of the society and the locals became the peasants
and the craftsmen of the society.
In order to secure their status the Aryans resolved some social and religious rules
which, allowed only them to be the priests, warriors and the businessmen of the
society. For example take Maharashtra. Maharashtra is in west India. This region is
known by this name for hundreds of years. Many think that the meaning of the name
Maharashtra is in its name, Great Land. But there are some who claim that the name,
Maharashtra, is derived from the Jati called Mahar who are considered to be the
original people of this region. In the caste hierarchy the dark skinned Mahars were
outcasts. The skin color was an important factor in the caste system. The meaning
of the word "Varna" is not class or status but skin color.
Between the outcasts and the three Aryan Varnas there is the Sudra Varna who are
the simple workers of the society. The Sudras consisted of two communities. One
community was of the locals who were subdued by the Aryans and the other were the
descendants of Aryans with locals. In Hindu religious stories there are many wars
between the good Aryans and the dark skinned demons and devils. The different Gods
also have dark skinned slaves. There are stories of demon women trying to seduce
good Aryan men in deceptive ways. There were also marriages between Aryan heroes
and demon women. Many believe that these incidences really occurred in which, the
gods and the positive heroes were people of Aryan origin. And the demons, the
devils and the dark skinned slaves were in fact the original residence of India
whom the Aryans coined as monsters, devil, demons and slaves.
As in most of the societies of the world, so in India, the son inherited his
father's profession. And so in India there developed families, who professed the
same family profession for generation in which, the son continued his father's
profession. Later on as these families became larger, they were seen as communities
or as they are called in Indian languages, Jati. Different families who professed
the same profession developed social relations between them and organized as a
common community, meaning Jati.
Later on the Aryans who created the caste system, added to their system non-Aryans.
Different Jatis who professed different professions were integrated in different
Varnas according to their profession. Other foreign invaders of ancient India -
Greeks, Huns, Scythains and others - who conquered parts of India and created
kingdoms were integrated in the Kshatriya Varna (warrior castes). But probably the
Aryan policy was not to integrate original Indian communities within them and
therefore many aristocratic and warrior communities that were in India before the
Aryans did not get the Kshatriya status.
Most of the communities that were in India before the arrival of the Aryans were
integrated in the Sudra Varna or were made outcast depending on the professions of
these communities. Communities who professed non-polluting jobs were integrated in
Sudra Varna. And communities who professed polluting professions were made
outcasts. The Brahmans are very strict about cleanliness. In the past people
believed that diseases can also spread also through air and not only through
physical touch. Perhaps because of this reason the untouchables were not only
disallowed to touch the high caste communities but they also had to stand at a
certain distance from the high castes.

I had my very own theory about, which I would try to present here in simplified
form, to explain what exactly is caste system. I will tell at last, why I am
calling it as theory rather than just hypothesis or something else imperfect.

This explanation is mainly for non-Indians to help them understand the Indian caste
system, however I think Indians could also understand few things at least, from the
explanation, though Indians may take it as absurd at first, but it will start to
make sense at last, at least. So, I would read it fully and slowly.
What is the Indian caste system and how does it works!

It may require a complete book to actually understand it, and I think caste system
is difficult to understand even to Indians themselves.

So I will directly come to the point, without much introduction to the topic.

There was a time when anybody can do the job as per their qualities, competence,
knowledge and inclination, just like what we do now, or how the things goes by
regarding the jobs.

Secondly, we all like to have a better life partner, who have better future
prospects, especially the girls, at least in India. So we search for the boys with
high level professions like say Doctor, Engineer, rich businessman, politicians
etc., in arranged marriage, especially in India. No one like to marry their girl
with the person having low future prospects, at least in arranged marriage between
two strangers. Make arranged marriage culture of India very clear to yourself, to
understand what exactly is caste system and how does it works.

It always worked that way naturally, that everyone like to get their girl married
with the person having better future prospects. But it must be understood that it
only can happen when anyone can do any job or professions as per their competence,
qualification, training etc. It was the same way in India too before the advent of
caste system, in ancient times.

Now, think about what will happen if the new rule is laid that says �nobody can do
any job/occupation/profession (by giving some logic), and says, one can only do
that profession what his father did�????

What will happen after this new rule regarding occupations laid out, considering
marriages? And also, what will be the change in mentality of people, regarding the
other people of different occupations than themselves? And also, What will be the
change in social system, due to change in mentality of people, brought about by
change in rule regarding occupation?

The answer to the above three questions gives the idea about what the Indian caste
system is.

So here is my theory, or say my answer to above questions, and question of what is

the Indian caste system.

When we have the options to do any kind of job, we think this or that kind of job
to be of higher or lower status, but when we are left with no options for to do any
job, and we have to do only one kind of job, then we are likely to force ourself to
think our job to be superior. This can happen mainly to those who clearly have
higher jobs to do. So those who have higher jobs to do are likely to name other
jobs to be inferior and shame people deemed to do such jobs considered to be
inferior. Hindu texts already consists of something called Varna System, which
classify jobs into 4 categories considering someone�s nature and mental
inclination, and this is not rigid system, but helped and used to develop rigid
Caste System.
This was about everyone who are made to do the occupation what their father�s did,
obviously like to think that their occupation to be considered as respectable, as
that is the only way to feel better, as there is no option to do other occupation,
as they are forced to do the job what their fathers did. So everyone obviously will
raise their voice to earn respectable status. But Varna System used to clearly
define which occupation comes under which of the 4 category, and to which to
consider superior and which to inferior. I think there had been still the clashes
about the interpretation of Varna System, but it is forcefully suppressed. And, for
suppressing it forcefully, some denigrating and inhumane treatment are invented to
forcefully show some people to be inferior. Then these inhumane and unfair
treatment to show some people inferior became the tradition, and belief system.
However, there is no support for it in any Hindu scriptures.
So, everyone had been in the need of feeling superior as per their own parental
occupation, and no one wanted to feel inferior from others. There became thousands
of classification in terms of occupation. There were many occupations among which
there were no clear distinction of superior and inferior. For example: Weaver and
Tailor. But, still they tried to show them as better than other, as they cannot do
others occupation with new rule, Actually, it was not about showing ourselves
superior, but it was about showing other inferior. So, these 1000s caste started to
think each others inferior, or at least not among them. These 1000s of occupations
to which people belongs to, referred as Castes. There are also sub-castes there.
For example: Oil extracter is sub divided as the one who extract oil using one
bull, and the one who using two bull, so to make it two types of oil extracter. So
it makes two sub-castes within same caste. In the same way, every
castes(occupations) is divided and sub-divided making it 1000s of castes. Each
castes are classified as coming under one of 4 categories of Varna of Hinduism,
however scriptures don�t anywhere talk or support any such division by
Now comes the question of marriage. Before, anybody can be ready to get their
girl/boy married to other boy/girl considering qualities, job prospects, beauty
etc., just like what we do today, because we can do any job. But at that time,
after the rule of doing parental job is laid and made rigid, it became clear that
boy will do his parental job throughout life. No other job is allowed for him, so
his future prospect is pretty clear. So, whose son (father�s occupation i.e caste)
one is, became important, and who he himself is became unimportant, because he is
going to do his father�s occupation throughout life. So, before giving their girl
people started asking, what is his father�s occupation (caste). This became
tradition and part of belef and culture. So is the mentality among Indians to this
day, to ask the caste first for marriage relationship. This also never mentioned in
any Hindu scriptures to ask father�s occupation before marriage, because Hindu
scriptures simply never discuss father�s occupation(caste).
I think marriage between two from different castes(father�s occupation) were never
been a problem even after rule about doing father�s occupation is laid, because
girl has to go to boy�s home, and there couldn�t be any problem if girl�s parents
are ready, especially when the girl is being married to a boy having better
occupation. Why would there be a problem? Caste? Caste effects what the boy will
do, not the girl. So there were no problem marrying girl in other caste. But it is
obvious that parents are less likely to give their daughter to lower caste(father�s
occupation), but like getting her married in higher caste, for her better future
life. So they denied giving their girl to lower caste because of his father�s
occupation. So, the situation is arised where it became difficult to get a girl
from the family who have better father�s occupation. So, the other easy option is
getting a girl from the family who have lower kind of father�s occupation, because
they will more readily like to get their girl married in such family. So situation
became, that girls can get married in higher caste but not the lower caste
(father�s occupation), for her better future. But here arises another problem i.e.
who really is higher or lower caste? As I told you before there is no clear
distinction between most caste, that is who is higher and who is lower. For
example: Tailor and Oil extractor, as both are respectable occupations. But both
thought other to be lower. So one can ask for other people�s girl for their son or
boy , thinking others to be lower, but cannot ask for others people�s boys to marry
their girl with, thinking themselves to be of upper caste. So marrying their girl
to other caste(father�s occupation) itself became the matter of upper or lower
parental occupation. So people simply denied getting their girl married to other
castes(father�s occupation), as it was the sign of being lower. So girls became the
matter of respect to the family. So, another rule came into existence, to not to
get your girl married to other caste people , as it will prove yourself to be lower
from others. I hope everyone are understanding it. Actually there is nothing in
Hindu scriptures directing towards not to get their girl married in lower father�s
occupation. There are many examples that simply reveals that someone climbed the
ladder of occupation(caste) because of their nature, inclination, aptitude, talent
etc. before the advent of caste system.
So, here obviously can come another problem. If no one of other caste(father�s
occupation) giving their girl to marry with, then whom to marry with, and have
children from? Here comes the custom, what Hindus follows even today. The only
option was that, that one should marry with the caste exactly as of themselves i.e.
same occupation, same sub-occupation(caste). This was the only option,i.e. to marry
in your own caste, HELPLESSLY. However, there is no rule in Hinduism to only marry
in your occupation(caste)
Now, because the occupations are divided in thousands, including sub-castes, there
were not much people of same occupation in same locality, which made it difficult
to find boy/girl to marry with. So, the people had to take extra efforts to find
boy/girl of own caste(father�s occupation), and it was very frustating. It could
become more difficult, than the situation when the people of one occupation will
marry with people of other occupation. So it became the rule, that not to marry
with other caste. Now, this was made strict rule that everyone must get their
girl/boy to marry in their own occupation(caste), because, if they will marry with
others then there will be shortage of boys/girls in their own caste, and in this
situation, to whom the other boys/girls of same caste will marry? As everyone want
to marry and have their own children, and further their own family. This became the
moral, that not to marry in other caste. It became the duty of everyone to think of
their own people (caste, occupation people) first, and marry with them only, at any
cost. This is the duty and morality that everyone from same occupation must marry
with the people belonging to their own occupation(caste). It became a shameful
thing, if you don�t follow this morality, and your duty to your own people(caste
people). You will be condemned, shamed, taunted etc. This mentality is still shown
by Indians as it was hardened by 1000s of years of believing the same thing. There
is no place for such morality and duty in Hinduism, to adhere to people of
occupations as of themselves.
Such duty and moralty became the matter of respect for the parents, that their
children must follow these moralites. So parents invented fake morals to
indoctrinate their children to go as per the caste norms anyway, because their
respect in their caste society depends heavily on which caste their children marry
with. So parents started suppressing everything of their children�s desires
regarding anti-caste marriages anyway, through these fake morals, which was
actually made for suppression. So because the morals are made especially for
suppression, there couldn�t be any cultural or moral thing in it to understand.
So, when there were too many rules get created, it becomes a Caste System, rather
than just a matter of caste or occupation. If you analyze the above points
properly, you will realize pthat people get completely trapped to follow Caste
System without any option to deny this system, or raise a voice against it, even if
they are wanted to. The superiority-inferiority complex about each-other�s
occupation, within this system deepened the feelings of being absolutely different
from others.
So, the caste system is mostly created by circumstances, rather than people. The
only thing that is created by people is rigid occupation on the basis of father�s
occupation. The rest is the evolution because of human interference in natural
system, which favours the talent and abilities.

So, after this mentality goes on for few generations, the condition of �father�s
occupation� for identifying what the son is going to do throughout the life;
changed to �ancestral occupation�. Ancestral occupation is considered to be what a
boy/guy had to do. So, it became even more difficult to change your caste, even if
your father changed occupation, as it is no more depends on your father�s
occupation, but ancestral occupation.
This goes on for 1000s of years, and people forgot the real reason how caste system
came into existence, but followed rules as it is. The rules were in the mind, but
not the reason of it. So this reasonless rules of caste system get hardened with
time and became tradition, belief system, culture, moral, which requires no
reasoning other than it is a belief.

Today, Indians left following father�s occupation as a necessary thing i.e. they
mostly dont do father�s occupation any more, unless forced to do by time i.e. if
people failed to acquire good qualification to place themselves in better job. For
example, if any brahmin(preist) failed to acquire good qualification for better
jobs, he will do his ancestral job of priesthood. But today people can do anything.
But they still follow the other rules which are actually byproducts of rigidity of
occupation i.e. which was not made as rule, but became so because of making it a
rule to only do your father�s occupation. And funny thing is that these rules are
not going backward as per changed circumstances, with similar sensibility in
reasoning, as it was there when caste system was in evolution by circumstantial

The reason for this is, the brain is totally drained by now because of reasonless
following of rules for thousands of years. The only reason they give is that,
�these rules are followed since antiquities, and our forefathers also followed
these moralities. Were they stupids to follow these rules, or all these people, who
are following, except you, are fools? Is it so?� So there is lack of reasoning
skill among Indians. Indians(mostly) can tell you to be kind to living beings i.e.
animals, insects, especially cow, but they don�t do same with human beings, and
never ever notice their stupidity by this. So Indians almost lost their reasoning
skills. I can give many examples of serious lack of ability to reason among most
Indians, but that could be bitter and offending.

In 1000s of years, there were many changes in India and Indian culture, including
invention of social evils and fake morals, degradation of Hinduism, foreign rules,
loss of philosophical/theological knowledge, inclination to rituals, due to this
caste system. The caste system is still prevalent in India, and caste(father�s
occupation) is still asked before marriage, even if our father haven�t did
occupation as per caste, because, as I told before, �father�s occupation� is
changed to �ancestral occupation� after few generation. So, now, caste means
ancestral occupation, not father�s occupation. So, how can we change our ancestral
occupation, even if our father haven�t did his ancestral occupation? So we are
trapped situationally, mentally in caste system.

If you observe, then you will find that there were no way out for anybody, to go
against caste sysstem, as soon as occupation made rigid, and then the whole system
evolved, because everyone want to marry anyway. And no one has any choice other
than follow it, and it was circumstantial based thing.

One more thing I must say, that few caste came into existence not because of their
father�s occupation, but because of what they eat. For example: Non-veg eater, rat
eater etc. Needless to say, that these caste names are an abuse , and made to
shame/condemned people. So there may be few caste which have different reason other
than occupation, and I am sure these were made afterward.


The Caste system is,

Force people do their ancestral occupation (it is not existent today)

Thinking at least few other castes to be inferior
Marry only in caste
Don�t marry your son/girl out of caste.
Go with other caste norms, like sub-caste etc.
Think it to be morality, going against which is shameful.
You will condemned, made outcaste, boycotted, or even sometimes killed going
against it.
You should follow how to treat people of so called lowest castes, like cobbler,
sweeper, beggar and those who eat something not acceptable.
If you are from lowest caste(ancestral occupation), you should know how to behave
with so called upper caste. To do,and not-to-do. What to expect, etc. These are the
rules made to forcibly show lower caste as inferiors, even if they disagree, and
without much reasoning into it.
Who should do the highest kind of occupations like politicians and should rule over
different sectors, even if they are not doing their ancestral occupation. This is
the mentality actually.
So, this is the caste system.

Everything said above till now, every mentality, every so called values, ways to
show people inferior, inhumane treatment, contradictory beliefs, rules which are
existent since 1000s of years, are all observable till now among Indian Hindus, at
least. That is, it is all observable.

These mentalities, moral values, social systems, are the phenomenons, because it
has no real basis, like religious scriptures etc. But it still exists, within
almost 75% population(excluding non-Hindus), without proper reasoning, rationality,
scriptures etc. These lack if reasoning etc.can even be termed as madness, as it
cannot exists without madness(I can prove it, if anyone can turn On my
notifications.But know that I had many other interests) So this is the reason why I
called it as Phenomena.

It is part of my very own theory about evolution of caste system, and the related
things, like social evils, disallowing so called inferior castes from studying,
degradation of Hinduism, evolution of fake moral values etc. I think, these things
can be explained by identifying several phenomenon, because most people follow
these things out of nothing and no valid reason. This can only be considered as
phenomenon, as it is impossible to exist this way, but these thing exist and
followed by 95% people at least, and explaining various inter-related phenomena,
with all strings attached, is rightly be called as theory, I think. These can be
observable even today, regarding mentalities, logic, behaviour, morals etc.

Please refer to the links below for the DNA evidence based research as opposed to
largely speculative discussions and stories.

a. Research clearly indicate a series of migrations into India with Astro-Asiatic

tribals - followed by Ancient South Indians were the first to come to India. They
were followed by Ancient North Indians. Our caste systems are amalgamations of all
these populations at various levels of castes of the system from the pre-historic
to historic stages.

Reference Genomic view on the peopling of India

b. It is clear that indo-aryans are closer to upper-castes than the lower-castes.

It also establishes that there is no pure ASI anymore in indian mainland,
indicating that there has been intermingling of ANI and ASI for some period of
time. It may indicate a oppressive master-slave relationship between ANI and ASI.
These studies reveal that the origin of the caste system is mainly rooted in male-
mediated Indo-Aryan migration that pushed indigenous Dravidian speaking populations
towards southern India and Sri Lanka, and suggest that the Indo-Aryans established
themselves as the upper caste [39]. Further, it has been shown that the caste
populations are closer to Europeans and Central Asians and differ significantly
from tribal populations [34,39,43,45].

c. The intermingled society stratified after some period by endogamy as 'social'

concept rather than geographic separation. Documentation in manu-smriti indicates
in no uncertain terms the 'dislike' for lower-castes. This is also indicated by
lack of DNA evidence for any intermingling recent 2000+ years or so.

Reference Ethnic India: A Genomic View, With Special Reference to Peopling and
Structure on nih.gov
a. Castes existed much before colonists or dalit politicians came to india or the
indian democracy. Both hindu historical text and DNA evidence of separation exists.
So any books written about western malice should be dismissed as works of pure
fiction. "Laws of Manu" was not written in England.
b. Women practically played little role in the 'labor of the men'.
Stratification of social structures being a result of division of labor is not
borne by facts. The kshtriya princess was not master of arms, or the brahmin girl
was not master of vedas or the vaishya girl was not a master of tools at the age of
12-13 when they were married to their husbands. They all perhaps learnt to - cook,
clean and take care of themselves - which is not significantly different skill. It
is in the husband's house that the little girl learns about family traditions. So
there was no reason to not marry between the top 3 castes - either financially,
socially or geographically. DNA evidence clearly point to girls getting married
within the caste. So the factors must have been other than that.

c. Division of labor and social hierarchies existed in many societies but didn't
cause castes. They all did not result in significant social differences in DNA
unless they were backed by a ban on inter group marriages. The Indian system banned
inter-caste marriages.

d. Caste was just division of labor/family traditions gone extreme - Caste is not
just what you do in your family - it determined by how people were treated socially
and before hindu law. Specific laws were written to oppress the lower castes - see
the references below. If it was just division of labor, family traditions then the
laws should be same.

e. Caste can be changed by learning/education - Some mythological stories with

doubtful historical proof are shown as evidence. DNA evidence clearly shows this is
not true.

Indian caste system was a result of the hindu belief that
your birth was a result of karma in previous birth.

Now my turn to speculate... :-)

1. Misunderstanding of passing of physical features by birth - Passing of parents

'features' such height, color, strength etc clearly indicated the relationship
between parent and child is related (i.e. not random). This was extended to
personality and intellectual ability without thorough scientific reasoning.

2. Misunderstanding of rebirths - The same could be mis-interpreted as proof of

rebirths. The custom of giving ancestor's names to new borns is age old tradition
in many civilizations.

3. Lack of formal schools - Lack of formal schools implied that children mostly
learn from the parent. Further added 'proof' to the theory that capabilities are
passed on by birth without critical review.

4. Religious sanction for rebirth - The generally held belief that 'capabilities'
was passed on by birth and the concept of rebirth were provided religious sanction.

5. Misuse of Rebirth - Rebirth was used to justify killings - anyone who was
unfairly killed was explained away by the concept of karma & rebirth. Many
mythological stories have this concept of previous birth. Unfairness was explained
as punishment for previous birth.

6. Entitlement by birth - This concept was extended to justify division of labor by

capabilities, inherited by birth as result of karma. You are condemned to do some
work because of your previous karma. Brahmins protected themselves with The Laws of
Manu - made a separate set of rules for themselves [1] - portraying themselves a
higher up in the social order by birth.

7. Discouraging inter-caste marriages - Concept of entitlement by birth was

incompatible with inter-caste marriages - sometimes color and other features of a
lower caste would be visible in the child. Therefore it was discouraged and finally
strictly enforced - resulting in the separation of castes and their DNA over the

8. Lack of social mobility - lack of social mobility caused the sharpened divisions
of society and resulted in exploitation - taking away the even the basic human
rights of the lowest caste. Many more oppression were committed by subsequent
generations resulting in the current caste system over the period of time.

In conclusion, the caste system was a result of malicious social manipulations by

upper-castes based on the flawed understanding of birth and genetics.

[1] A sample of translation of hindu The Laws of Manu VIII

270. A once-born man (a Sudra), who insults a twice-born man with gross invective,
shall have his tongue cut out; for he is of low origin.
271. If he mentions the names and castes (gati) of the (twice-born) with contumely,
an iron nail, ten fingers long, shall be thrust red-hot into his mouth.
272. If he arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to
be poured into his mouth and into his ears.
279. With whatever limb a man of a low caste does hurt to (a man of the three)
highest (castes), even that limb shall be cut off; that is the teaching of Manu.
280. He who raises his hand or a stick, shall have his hand cut off; he who in
anger kicks with his foot, shall have his foot cut off.
281. A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a
high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause
his buttock to be gashed.
282. If out of arrogance he spits (on a superior), the king shall cause both his
lips to be cut off; if he urines (on him), the penis; if he breaks wind (against
him), the anus.
283. If he lays hold of the hair (of a superior), let the (king) unhesitatingly cut
off his hands, likewise (if he takes him) by the feet, the beard, the neck, or the
Contrary to what many people think, Indian caste system in reality is quite complex
and confusing. But before answering this question, i will go back to ancient
history of India. Many evidences suggest that Aryan invasion of India false. The
term Aryan race itself is a false notion. There are two prominent cultures that use
term Aryan in two different contexts. One is Iranian and other is Indian. Indians
used it describe a character trait nobility while Iranians used it to describe
ethnicity. It is theorized that precursors to Iranians and their Indian
counterparts came from Central Asian highlands i.e. Pamir plateu to Himalayas and
adjacent areas. old Persian scriptures describe these areas as holy lands. What is
interesting is that they also describe Heptahindu (Saptasindhu) as a kingdom of
Aryans. This creates a possibility that Harappa culture was Aryan. Again we don't
know for sure. But what is evident is that there are no signs of invasion in
Harappa culture sights. This Indus-Saraswati civilization declined due to
desertification and Saraswati changing it's course, which also has many evidences
to support it. This means one thing, definitely any invasion by Aryans did not
happen. Also the rivers mentioned in rigveda, the oldest scripture of Indian
Aryans, mentions Ganga in Nadistuti sukta which means that aryans knew and consider
Ganga important. Ganga is mentioned first and then going eastward, respective
rivers are mentioned. This means Ganga was the last large river in while going to
East. This makes the area of Indian Aryans as that from Indus Basin to atleast
modern Uttaranchal and UP meaning entire modern Pakistan except Baluchistan,
Rajasthan, Punjab, Lower parts of Kashmir, Western UP and Uttarakhand were
inhabited by the writers of Rigveda, which makes them Indian. now consider name,
Ganga. Linguists propose that name Ganga is not of Sanskrit or Indo-Europen origin,
nor of Dravidian but of Austroasiatic origin i.e a language close to Munda. users
of Austro asiatic languages reside in south east asia. There is also a Dravidian
language family tha probably was present in southern India. It might be closer to
Elamite, an extinct language from Iran but enough evidences are not found yet.
Apart from this there are many languages in himalayan region that are from Sino-
tibetan family. all these languages show influence on each other. So we can
conclude that four types of people lived in Indian subcontinent as people call
them, Aryans, Dravidians, austro asiatic and sino-tibetan. Over time, these people
mingled with each other. If you check genetics of all the Indians across all the
caste, religions, languages and ethnicities, you will find traces of all these
people. This means that there are no people who are of pure Aryan or Dravidian or
Sino-tibetan or Austro asiatic races in India. All have somewhat mixing up with
each other. I am not considering people from extremely remote areas here such as
parts of himalayas or of central and south indian hilly region. But such people are
rare. until manusmriti, there are no direct references to caste by birth. Vedas
which are codified into four parts by Vedvyas was a son of a Fisherman's daughter
and Kshatriya king. Valmiki muni was also a Fisherman and dacoit. Now the question
is who were Mlechhas, Rakshasas, etc. These were people of different ethnicity,
probably dravidians, sino-tibetans etc. living adjacent to the areas inhabited by
vedic people. notably, not all of them were considered enemies. Asuras were notably
the people of same ethnicity as that of vedic people but were considered enemies.
Asuras are now identified as people from Iran. The iranians called themselves as
worshippers of Ahura (Asura) and called Daevas (Devas) as demons which were
worshipped by vedic people. So Asura and Deva conflict cannot be brought into
Indian Caste debate.
Now who were shudras? Shudras are people who were outcast from society or doing
labor work. But was this decided by birth at that time. answer is NO. not always.
Some parts of India had it. Other's didn't. The same mahabharata that describes
Karna being rejected by drona due to his lower status also explains Ved Vyas rising
from lower class to become the most respected rishi. Note that in mahabharata and
many other scriptures, brahmanas are said to be poor people, who ask for alms.
Birth based caste system became prominent somewhere in 10th century. At this time,
India was entering the dark ages. Myopia was setting in the minds of Indians of all
types and thus as any society degrades. Still, till the 18th century, people have
been elevated in their status. Take for example, Malhararao holkar, who was born as
a Dhangar, lower caste but elevated to Kshatriya status by his virtue. He and his
descendants eventually ran kingdom of Indore. Then there were many people from
Mahar caste who had senior positions in Maratha army including that of subhedar. In
fact from Varkari era till golden era of Peshwa reign, Casteism was not really
present in Maharashtra. in the declining era of Peshwas, we again see Casteism
rising in maharashtra. interestingly, caste based discrimination was also present
in Franc and Spain with a caste named Cagot being thought as untouchable. and
religion based discriminations by Europeans in the past were no different.

I have only one conclusion that i can put here, whenever a myopia and ignorance
sets in the society, birth, religion or culture based discrimination starts taking
place. Take for example, now slowly caste system is declining but is still
widespread. this means a lot of ignorance and myopia is still present within people
but thankfully we are doing efforts to eliminate Casteism.

Everyone needs to understand that caste system is not by birth.

"According to the Rig Veda hymn, the different classes sprang from the four limbs
of the Creator. It was meant to show that the four classes stood in relation to the
social organization in the same relation as the different organs of the Primordial
Man to his body. Together they had to function to give vitality to the body
politic. There was nothing in that account to warrant the assumption, that the
order in which the four groups were mentioned, or that the particular limbs
specified as their origin, marked their social status."

"A person�s worth is determined by his knowledge and capacity and the inherent
qualities which mark his conduct in life. �The four fold division of castes� says
the Creator in the Bhagavad Gita, �was created by me according to the apportionment
of qualities and duties.� �Not birth, not sacrament, not learning, make one dvija
(twice-born), but righteous conduct alone causes it.� �Be he a Sudra or a member of
any other class, says the Lord in the same epic, �he that serves as a raft on a
raftless current , or helps to ford the unfordable, deserves respect in everyway.�

In Ancient India two great Rishi's, one was"Rishi Bhardwaj" and other was "Rishi
Bhardwaj", met to discuss how to structure a stable society. Then "Rishi Brigu"
said there are four sources of power in a society and we must ensure that nobody
has more than one of that.
The four sources are :
1. Knowledge,
2. Weapons,
3. Wealth,
4. Land.
These should not be in one hand, not even two should be in one hand. So those who
has knowledge will not have wealth, will not have weapons and will not have lands.
Those who will have weapons will rule the country but they will not make policy.
They need to go to people having knowledge to seek their permission and advice.
Those who are having wealth, their social status will be decided by the how much
philanthropy they do not by their wealth. Those who has lands have to produce for
the society. In fact none of these four category or "varna" was based on by birth.

So, they divide people into Brahmin(knowledge) , Kshatriya(War , weapons and

protect people from invaders), Vaishyas(wealth) and Shudras (workers).
-"Ved Vyasha" who was a Maharishi, who wrote the "Mahabharat". His mother was a
fisher women.
-Maharishi "Valmiki" who wrote the "Ramayan" was considered as child of a Dalit
-'Kalidasha" who is the greatest poet our country has produced, was a Hunter.
-"Rishi Vishwamitra" who was considered as Rishi of Rishi was born in "Kshatriya"
It proves that Hindu Dharma does not have "varna" or "caste' on the basis of Birth.
The Ravana was a "Brahmin" whom no Hindu worship and call him as Rakshas (devil).
So everyone needs to understand that caste system is not by birth.

Caste identification was not by birth instead was by Gunahas (Virtues), as Lord
Krishna told Arjun according to Uttara Gita.

Nor do the recent researches on DNA of Indians show any racial differences among
castes. So why tolerate a system which at the very least is obslete and stumbling
block in the total way of unity?

1. There was never any unified 'Hindu religion'. Much like the variations on a
loose Hindu theme exists across the subcontinent, so does the caste system. For
instance, the caste system was institutionalised in Bengal and Assam only after
1000 A.D. (After the fall of the Buddhist Pala Dynasty). The Tantric sects had very
relaxed caste systems and that was the prevalent non-Buddhist school of Hinduism at
the time in Southern Bengal.
2. One common theme among the varna system, wherever it exists, is the dominance of
Brahmins, so you may be certain that whoever decided to 'create' it, was Brahmin.
3. Proper historical evidence is only available since after the births of Buddha
and Mahavira, but to be more precise, from the Maurya Empire. Buddhism and Jainism
both arose as reactions to an oppressive caste/varna system.
4. The Rigveda contains one reference to varna. The Dharmashastras and Bhagavad
Gita are supposedly authored during the Gupta period. The argument about caste not
being hereditary originally is disputed. While the Vedas were authored in pre-
Buddhist times, the Dharmashastras were authored much, much later. However,
Buddhist texts clearly mention the presence of a rigid caste system by then. So it
is false to assume that even Rigvedic society did not have a hereditary caste

In short, you really don't know whom to blame because all that happened before
recorded history in the subcontinent, but do blame the Brahmins. Regardless of what
may be said elsewhere, both the varna and jati systems were disgusting and dirty by
modern standards and any attempt to reappropriate them as otherwise(as simple
'division of labour' etc.) should be looked at with suspicion.

To start with there was no Varna or Caste system among the earliest Vedic people.
People used to get into a profession according to their training and aptitude. Some
people got trained in remembering and reciting the Vedas and remembering the
procedure of Fire Sacrifices. They were called Hota (he who tended the fire),
Udgata (he who sang the sacred chants) etc. The Vedas (the first three - Rik, Saam,
and Yajur) had three parts each - Samhita (the Chant/hymn part), Brahmanam (the
procedural part) and the Aranyak (the procedural part for those who were living an
ascetic life in the forests). On the other hand those who used to work as warriors
were called Khsatriyas. Then there were the businessmen, craftsmen etc. - the
Baishyas and finally the servant of all - the Sudras.

Now, to do something (worship, or fight or business or crafting) one needs

training. The easiest way of getting training for many (during those days) was to
get trained by one's father or grandfather or uncles. So it was quite natural that
those born in the family of priests would be easily trained as priests. Same
applies for others as well. Gradually those who were associated with the worship
and fire sacrifice etc. - the priests - (probably) started calling themselves (or
others started calling them) 'Brahmans' (or the English spelling "Brahmins") -
because they were versed in the Vedas, specially the Brahmanam part. But that was
not going to carry much weight over time - they understood that. Some of these guys
were pretty clever - after all they were reading and writing all the stuff that was
there to read and write during those days. So some clever priests started writing
the next generation of Hindu scriptures - especially the Smritis. One of the
Smritis - Manu Smriti codified the social norm and law books that was to govern
the Hindu (Sanatan Dharma really) life. Among the Smritis mainly Manu Smriti made
the division even more rigid, prescribed punishments for any transgression (actual
or superficial) against the authority of the Brahmins, and so on. So that is how
the Varna System which was just a system of division of labour and a little bit of
racism (against the native Indians) became the codified, strict and harsh system
of social hierarchy and oppression. By the way Puranas and Smritis were written
long before the Muslims or Europeans invaded India - so there is no scope of
blaming them for contributing the Caste system we had already created. It was all
our own doing.

Later on they also wrote Puranas. Among these Brahma Purana was written about
Brahma and how the earth was created etc. etc. The authors saw the chance was there
and so they took it. They wrote into this Brahma Purana that Brahmans or Brahmins
were created from the face/head of Brahma - and so they are the prime members of
the society. Khastriyas were written to be created from the hands of Brhama,
Baishyas from the thighs and Sudras from the feet. So the Sudras were the lowest
creation of all. Interestingly however it was not their original idea (most likely)
- Purusa Sukta of Rik Veda already had a similar thing about Purusa, instead of

Now who were the Sudras? Most likely those who could do nothing else. But, when the
Aryans came (they may or may not have invaded India, but they definitely migrated
to India) they displaced the native Indians - those whom we currently call tribals,
living in the deep heartland of india. Some of these native Indians got a place in
the Aryan society as the Sudras, as the vanquished servants. It must be noted that
the Sanskrit word for the Caste system - Varnashram - is derived from the word
Varna, which is also the same word that means 'Colour' in Sanskirt. So it is highly
likely that the skin complexion difference between the Aryans and the native
Indians played a crucial part in naming the system - a system of differentiation.

Indeed, India has many castes. But in ancient India, the social structure was quiet
different from the one followed in the present times. Back then, there was no caste
system. So how did we end up with (so many) castes?

Well, the ancient Indians were divided into various classes/groups, just like how
we are now. But, this classification was not based on the family one is born into.
It was totally independent of one's background and was determined solely by one's
merit. This merit based categorization is called Varna System.

For instance, a person born in a Brahmin household need not be a Brahmin. He would
be a Kshatriya if he chose to become a warrior/ruler, a Vyshya if he chose to take
on business/trade and so on. In this way, one's Varna is decided by one's role in
the society (one's merit).

People's perception or understanding of Varna changed gradually with time.

Superiority complex set in. People began to assume and believe that one Varna is
superior to the others. This prompted them to ultimately create a map of various
Varnas depicting the so called social structure which is in use in our present day
society. As this idea of 'Brahmins>Kshatriyas>Vyshyas>Shudras' grew louder and
stronger, it spread a sense of pride among the "Upper classes" and insecurity among
"lower classes". This created a barrier among the existing varnas and drove them

With this mindset, a Brahmin wanted his children to become Brahmis, for he thought
the other classes are beneath his own - Pride. A Shudra wanted his children to
become Shudras, for he was afraid whether they would be accepted into other classes
- Insecurity. Pride & Insecurity thus changed the Varna system into the Caste
System that we see now.

I hope I answered a part of your question. Although i cannot give you information
on the books, I am sure there are many.

Disclaimer: The answer is solely based on my knowledge/understanding on the shift

from Varna system to Caste system. It may well be entirely different. I am open to

This requires a long answer. You will come across two sets of common arguments that
you need to take with not pinch, but buckets of salt. The first is an argument that
comes from colonially constructed knowledge of India, which is still very prevalent
among Indians and is the most common stereotype in the West. This paints caste as a
rigid hereditary system. There are some scholars who have opposed this view and
provided a nuanced view - best references are Nicholas Dirks and M. N. Srinivas.
They will show you that caste was a fluid system that was considerably made rigid
by colonial rule and by anthropological and later census classifications.

Unfortunately the second set of arguments take off from this opposition and paint a
very romantic view of India portraying India as being casteless and to stretch
scholars' nuanced observations to argue as if it was British who created the caste
system. These are usually nationalists who hark back on an ancient romantic past
where there was no caste system - while that is true, as is true for all societies
over the world that were egalitarian before they evolved into complex societies,
this argument ignores the rigidity of caste system that developed well before the
British came. Keeping these two critiques in mind will help you better navigate the
maze of literature and folklore on caste system. Modern Indians are fed with
colonial construction that caste is inherently bad, so they try their best to
portray India as casteless, often denying how prevalent caste is in private lives
of people.

Overall, caste is a mix of many things - originally separate tribes joining the
mainstream but maintaining their exclusivity through endagamy, craft guilds, and
so on. There is also huge variation from region to region, and any sort of
generalization should be guarded against. The Varna system is a fictitious creation
that is draped over caste system, and is hardly of any use to you to understand
Indian society. It does work in some parts of the country, but totally fails in
some parts like South India.

Most modern Indians also argue it does not exist because in urban regions,
especially metros caste is hardly a reality anymore, especially so with
professional and upper middle class families. Indians from this class are also
ignorant of rest of India's social reality and our school does a poor job of
teaching either historical or contemporary social realities. These Indians tend to
deny the existence of caste partly because it does not matter to in their lives,
and partly because they resent affirmative action that deprives them from

Caste is integral to peoples' social identities, wrongly portrayed as part of Hindu

religious identity. It would be best if stigma is removed of the caste system, it
would allow Indians to acknowledge it as a valid, not inherently bad group
identity, the only bad part of it being hierarchy, which is also true of class and
race systems. If we acknowledge it, then it would make us more ready to acknowledge
how oppressive it has been to a few sections of people, and there are better
chances of us dealing with it than denying reality.

Caste system in india goes back to the ages of MAHABARATHA, DWAPARAYUGA and may be
even well before that. The system followed is written down in ancient book written
by "MANU" (a saint) and it is claimed that it as written as and how it was narrated
by the god himself.

The caste system was not meant be based on birth, but based on the occupation.
later the cruel evil minds changed it to how it is with time. Infact if you see,
the caste system in india is broadly divided into 4. Brahmana-learn and teach,
kshatriya - protect the society, vaishya-do trade, sudhra- maintain the society's
essential like cleanliness etc.,. Really speaking a society can run only if these
four processes are going on be it any part of the world leave alone india or asia.
All the 4 castes are to be treated equally as per the scripts. Later the human mind
craving for power and ego started suppressing the caste which they felt was least
important. This is where the system started smelling foul.

In this modern world caste system is no more than a claim for respect Inside Indian
society . But when we enter into the roots of the origin for this overall drama
,Not all caste systems are related to Religion, its typically related to science
and health related protocol used by my ancestors who belong to this land.
As other tribes around the world ,every Indian tribal groups also have their native
diets and native occupation which Identifies individually among other tribal groups
around them.

My caste is "Kodi kal vallalaar "

Vallalaar is nothing but agriculture , Kodi kal mean vine plants, and my origin
belong to a village called Amma petai which is near Salem district , Tamil nadu
state, India. The name comes from Tamil language since we are native speakers of
No matter which part of the world kodikal vallalaar lives in, no matter what job
he/she does ,he/she must be some way or other related to me , I mean we both belong
to the same tribe group , same ancestor who lived in the same village and did the
same job .

If Obama and Bin Laden belong to the same caste , there are 99% chance for them be
cousins sharing same ancestor .

For example :
Kodi kal vallalaar occupation was betel agriculture .
solzhiya vallalaar occupation was sea shell and coral agriculture .
So by knowing the caste we can Identify the origin of the tribe group they belong
to .
There are few nameless caste in India which i am not supposed to note here ( they
will call me rasist If i do :-P ) who are mostly categorized as schedule tribes by
the government .

Importance in olden days :

Case system is mainly used only during Marriages .
Since the Indian marriage system is purely based on arranged marriages , when they
follow cast system bride family or groom family make sure that they both carry
native gene.
Because there are some diseases / Infections or other health related problems which
are occupation based. And , it is believed when married to same caste people they
make sure that they don't carry/introduce any foreign health( foregin means other
tribal group) related issues to their child or to their descents.

Even today In India ,caste system is followed only during marriages .

I am Catholic Christian , My baptist name is lourdes samy . Which is also my
grandfathers first name , which is also his grandfathers name.
Proves we are not newly converted catholics, but we care Catholics for centuries ..
I can't get any informations before my great great grandfather , So I don't know
when exactly we are converted , But till date marriages happen in our family
follows the caste system .

Fun facts :
My mom is 60 , my dad is 65 they are married before 38 years . It was an arranged
marriage ( before getting married they are unknown to each other, But both belong
to same caste) . Only last year when we attended a marriage of my cousin brother we
found that my parents' family are closely related but lost their relationships in
time. This is what caste is all about .

TO BE NOTED : there are few caste which are purely based on religion . But even
there, the caste is named by the occupations like serving to god and maintaining
temples, even there is a caste who guard the temple gold and wealth.

"As decent the job is, as shit they treat other caste "

Trust me in this modern world there is no reason for this caste differentiation

Thanks for the A2A.

'What is Caste system?'
The term 'Caste' was given to an ancient system existing in India - the Jati system
- the form as existent then, and witnessed by alien eyes, the
colonizers/missionaries in the 15th-16th C
[From the Portuguese word 'casta' (lineage, breed)or the Latin 'castus' (seperated,
pure) later picked up by the English - 'cast' (secondary connotation - sort,kind).
Probably coined by the Portuguese or the English]

But the original Jati does not connote the English 'Caste'
So, what is thought of as 'caste' today is a hollow term, signifying nothing except
endogamous, hereditary groupings with empty attributes.

So, was 'Jati' created?

No, it evolved. Through thousands of years due to social and economic dynamics.
(The full answer can run into a thesis size. If you wish, I'll send you a brief
essay on it)

Is genetics related to that?

Could be, in the long run. Now, in the light of the studies of genetics.
(But the science of genetics is still in its nascent stage and we need to wait and

Huge subject. So will give a simplistic answer. TL:DR version.

Individual to a family, family to a clan, clan to sept, sept to tribe and so on.
Such formation is a part of human experience - not just in India. Jati is just our
version of such a structure.

It is emergent to the social nature of humans and not created by anyone. Neither
does stay fixed, it evolves and changes over time.
When majority members of a tribe/clan subscribe to a single profession then it gets
associated to the profession - for example Yadavas and animal husbandry. But it
does not mean all Yadavas reared cattle or that all cattle rearers were yadavas.
Similary to attitudes/personalities - many Jatis got associated with Varnas.

And over centuries, they merged, got conflated and got confused.

Genes does matter, because you are born into the Jati your Kula is associated with.
Like parents, it can't be changed because you switched countries or religions.
However as an identity it may get faded depending on your context.

But Jati does not privilege one with any authority and superiority over other
Jatis. Varna may do that, but even that is very nuanced.

See these answers Raghu Bhaskaran's answer to If the Indian caste system is not
based on birth, to what caste do the software engineers belong?

Raghu Bhaskaran's answer to Hindu Gods: Is Yadav a kshatriya caste or a worker?

Hope it helps.
I'm afraid that it's not really possible to answer this question here. Origin of
caste system is one of the most heavily debated topics involving vast number or
references, justifications and theories. I will try to put my point here as briefly
as possible without sliding into other subjects.

In modern world, the human race is thriving with an purpose of maximizing the
comforts and luxuries in life. The modern society thus is designed to maximize the
efforts to make every individual lead a comfortable life.

Similarly, caste system also has a purpose. Caste system is a characteristic of

Vedic society and its inherent purpose is the purpose of Vedas. The ultimate
purpose of vedas is to attain the non-dual state of brahman(a.k.a moksha). Caste
system is designed with a goal of providing environment for people to attain the
state of brahman much easily while also providing enough but strictly guarded space
for fulfillment of materialistic desires.

This simple difference in the goals of the modern society and the vedic society can
explain most of the characteristics of caste system and why it contrasts with
today's society.

Brahmins are considered the highest caste because they are supposed to perform
vedic rites(shrauta and smartha rites), do yoga sadhana, live very simple life and
attain moksha. The work they are doing is heart of vedas and hence is regarded with
utmost respect.

The work of all the other three castes is also no-less in anyway. These castes are
designed to support Brahmins(while supporting themselves).People of these castes
are supposed to support Brahmins financially(Brahmins beg for food), politically
and in areas that need physical work. This support will help Brahmins to perform
their duties without deviating for other needs. Supporting brahmins is same as
supporting the existence of vedic practices and hence people other than brahmins
attain moksha for doing this.

The end note for this is: Whether it is Brahmins, Khsatriyas, Vaisyas or Sudras,
they will attain moksha for fulfilling their duties(kartavyam).

From here we can venture into numerous questions/topics like "Is caste system birth
based? If it is, is it fair?", "Contrasts between modern society and vedic
society", "How does caste system work overseas?" etc., but as I said I want to
stick to the point.

P.S.: I'm not sure if I really answered the question. Details of how exactly caste
system is put into practice can be only speculated for now but cannot be answered
unless there is an authoritative document discussing this.

The Caste system in India started off in the early Vedic Age.
It began as a classification of people into Varnas or Classes. In Sanskrit "Varna"
means colour.
The Aryans landed in Indian territory somewhere around 1500BC and discovered the
already settled Dravidians in the subcontinent. They mingled with them and started
the Vedic civilization but made a distinction on the basis of the skin colour.
The initial Varna system only had 2 classes - The Aryans or the fair migrants and
the Dasas (Dravidians)or the darker natives. The distinction became more broader to
include professions but restricting the Dasas to the lowest rung. In those days,
everyone followed the same religion called the Sanatana Dharma(the eternal
The classes were flexible depending on the occupation of the individual. There were
4 prominent professions hence 4 classes-
a) Brahmins - priests/ teachers
b) Kshatriyas - warriors/kings
c) Vaishyas - commoners/tradesmen
d) Shudras - Barbers, Sweepers, servants(Dasas)
The Shudras mainly consisted of Dravidians and as the distinction lifted off,
everyone was free to choose their profession. You were then classified on the basis
of your profession.

In the subsequent centuries, the class system became more rigid, a new subdivision
of Varna called Jati formed. There could be thousands of Jatis under each Varna
specifically on the basis of jobs undertaken. A jati was essentially a tribe. This
was what we now call "caste". If you were born into a caste, you had to stick to
its profession. Each caste had a hierarchy in its Varna.
eg.The King's advisor brahmin had a higher status than the temple brahmin and the
Fisherman caste was higher than the Sweeper etc.

In the Vedic age, people who consumed meat(Cow's meat) and drank liquor etc. were
considered as degenerates and called untouchables, and were given tasks like
cleaning of human waste. No provision was ever made to include their future
generations into the caste system and they were debarred from entering temples.
Tribals were included in it.
The caste system has pretty much remained the same so far.
The Book "Immortals of Meluha" mentions the Varna system of classification when
Jatis were not prevalent and people were free to choose their profession. This
might have true in the period prior to 1000BC. Any other historical data in the
book is purely fictitious.

Contrary to popular notion, there are actually more than 1000 castes in India.

* Very less conclusive information is known about the Caste system because of
contradictions with the historical proof. No perfect theory exists to explain its
origins or when the caste system went rigid, although many claim it occurred late,
in the medieval period.

Caste System was first started in very early periods, probably during the time
Vedas, were written. In the early days, people were said to belong to a particular
caste based on the occupation they were doing. All the priests and teachers
belonged to the brahmins.
The warriors, kings, soldiers, rulers were said to belong to the Kshatriyas, whose
responsibility was to protect the country/kingdom and the people.
All the people doing business, handling finances, treasuries were called Vysyas and
the rest were called Shudras.

But I don't think there is anything written in Vedas about people discriminating,
denying rights/benefits to other people based on caste. It was all started by a few
people who wanted to retain power and enjoy the wealth.
The caste discrimination has nothing to do with Vedas, but with people
discriminating others based on it.
I think the caste system doesn't hold back India, but its these stupid uneducated
people, who are obsessed with caste and people who discriminate based on caste,
should be blamed for holding the country back as they do not allow the people of
other castes to get equal rights, benefits and want only people of their own caste
to get the benefits is what is holding India back. Period.

When life begun on earth, there was no system to classify human beings anywhere.
In India and also in rest of world, the idea of caste or groups nurtured when
people started identifying groups of similar habits and interests.

Not only in India, but also in other parts of the world, people were identified by
their places and profession.
For Ex: The name John Von Newmann (Von is a German word that means of)...the name
signifies John of "Newmann". Similarly, the name Paul Hatmaker may relate to a
profession. But this is not always true as unlike Indian names many western names
are without meanings.

Initially, the classical Varna or Caste was based on one's deeds rather than on
birth. There are examples of scholars (Maharishis) who were not born in Brahman
families. Likewise, there are examples of Kings (who were not born in Kshatriya
As time passed, it changed form and was more towards identifying one's caste by

Anyway, this is a never ending topic. In my opinion, purpose of caste is not to

compare and analyze but to build self-culture. It has to be for the benefit of the
society rather than for doing harm.

I am one of those people who believes in the caste system. And I would like to
explain it from the perspective that I understand.

But before I go on, I want to request whoever is reading this to leave any
assumptions they previously might have had about the Indian Caste System and to
look at it in a new light.

Also I would like to make clear that I do not speak of the current caste system
that is prevalent in India (now, only used as an excuse for oppression) but I want
to introduce you to the caste system as explained in the Vedas.

Some clarifications:

- You are not born into a caste. You get to choose it through your Karma.

- All castes are meant to have equal dignity in society.

The Indian caste system was designed back in the olden days to simplify
administrative procedures and social responsibilities. The 4 castes are -
Shudra - this is the caste serving (positive not negative like slavery) the other
three varna/castes
Vaishya - the agriculturalists, traders, cattle rearers etc.
Kshatriya - The military and the administrative class
Brahmin - the Gurus, the thinkers, writers & artists.

The assumption being that we are all born different and we have different
capabilities & interests so we must be best suited for a certain kind of activity.

That's about it.

The Shudra cleaning the temple is just as important as the kshatriya/policeman

cleaning the streets of crime and just as important as the Brahmin/Artist cleaning
the minds of hatred.

In fact Lord Krsna, whom we consider to be God himself, was a Vaishya on Earth. He
was a cowherd, that was his duty and he did it even though he was God, the all
powerful God.

That's a lesson of humility there in the Indian Caste System if you really want to
learn. It's about accepting our current state in life and to try and do our best.

We believe it's not what you do, but how you do what you do that defines you. Amen.

[ Appends - this are replies to questions asked in the comments section ]

How do you choose your caste?

Firstly to understand the answer you need to have these beliefs -

1. You get what you deserve

2. With more power comes more responsibility.

3. Our position in life is forever changing

Though all castes are equal in dignity, they are not equal in power. Lowest is the
Shudra, then the Vaishya, then the Kshatriya and finally the Brahmin.

Your caste is not allotted by a human desk worker sitting at a temple or decided by
where you were born. It is your position decided by the Universe and only you know
your caste. No one can force a caste upon you, it is up you to figure where you fit
in the scheme of things and how you can contribute most.

Now for example, if a Shudra decides that No he does not want to be a Shudra but
wants be a Brahmin - he will soon find that he lacks the sublety of mind and focus
required to be a Brahmin. And not only that but he doesn't have the moral muscles
to take decisions which might effect (negatively) not only him but a lot of people
who are dependent on him because of his position.

That's not to say that he cannot cultivate these attributes. If you have got your
current position according to your past actions, then it follows that your future
position will depend on your current actions.

But at the core of all of this is to kill pride and cultivate humility. For even
the greatest president considers himself a servant to his people
Note: I feel that my answer here might seem to suggest that I endorse the Indian
Caste System in any way, which is not the case. I believe that it's an over
simplified system and as a system it maybe not appropriate for our times. But that
being said I still believe in the value it's fundamentals have to teach us about
how to live our lives. Which is the whole point anyway.

The answer is quite simple: What happens when a 'shudra' is born to a 'brahmana'
(or a 'kshatriya' or 'vaishya'?) As per Varna system, the brahmin born shudra
should take up manual labour (or 'low-profile' jobs) whereas a 'brahmana' born of a
'shudra' should take up teaching or research work... This would go well only as
long as the people understand the benefit of this. If they start thinking about the
'wellness' of their wards instead of the society at large, they'll start tampering
with this system... Thus the grading became based on birth rather than skill or

As people started to marry within the same caste (which is basically a profession
designation,) the system became more and more stringent and unquestionable -
leading to all sort of downfall for the society.

Often misunderstood as an outgrowth of Indian religions such as Hinduism or

Buddhism, the idea of social caste in India was actually started to maintain social
order in the face of a diverse religious and social landscape.

India Before Castes

Indian society is unique in that it was never truly united in the way that
societies were in China and the Mediterranean. Sure, from time to time an empire
like the Mauryans or the Guptas managed to conquer the majority of the region, but
these empires were more concerned with issues of national importance, and they
cared little about the mix of societies on the streets. And frankly, if a leader
tried to make one group happy, he would just upset another.

India has always been a place of significant diversity in belief, with a number of
different religions and even more subdivisions within those religions. In short,
Indian society was full of chaos, in that there was no social order. No religious
leader could emerge to control all those divisions, just as no political leader
could hope to make everyone happy.

However, one thing that all Indians could agree on is that chaos was not good for
society. As a result, the idea of caste developed. Although it is controversial as
to who started the idea of caste, many historians believe that it goes back
thousands of years. A caste is a social division within society. However, the
Indian idea of caste went much further than just division.

It was as if your whole life, from who your friends would be, to the job you took,
to the person you would marry, was determined by the work that your parents did.
While this sounds really unusual to those of us living thousands of years removed
from the establishment of the castes, this made sure that a society would always
have an appropriate amount of weavers, potters, and soldiers, helping to ensure
social order.

The Four Major Castes

In India, four major castes, known as the varnas, would emerge. These four castes
were the Brahmin, the Kshatriya, the Vaishya, and the Sudra. The Brahmin were the
highest caste and were priests who were charged with making sure that the devotions
to the gods were made. The Kshatriya were the warriors and kings, charged with
protecting the Brahmins. Next down were the Vaisyas, or merchants and other semi-
educated individuals who could hope to amass considerable wealth, but not the power
of the Kshatriya or Brahmins. Finally, the Sudras were the farmers and other
unskilled workers whom everyone else depended upon.

Each of these groups was divided into hundreds of sub-castes based more
specifically on the type of work done, and it was these sub-castes from which
people would choose their friends and spouses. After all, the benefits of having
all the farmers as friends was one thing, but having all the farmers of a specific
crop meant that they could further look out for each others' successes and share
tips. While these castes have faded in importance due to the rapidly changing
economy of India, they are still in place in the minds of many Indians.

There was one other group that emerged as a result of the caste system. Known as
the Untouchables, these individuals performed the jobs that were viewed as unclean,
such as handling the dead or cleaning up after animals. Erroneously, the
Untouchables are often portrayed as unimportant. However, they performed very
important tasks that others didn't want to do, such as helping during funerals.
They were called Untouchable because they were often unclean, due to the 'dirty'
nature of their work, and therefore those of the higher castes wished to avoid
them. In recent years, reformers in India have worked to improve the lives of this
group, as in the past they were often discriminated against.

Caste and Religion

Needless to say, this idea of caste matched up well with Hinduism's ideas on
reincarnation, as well as those of Buddhism, because it helped remind people that
by doing their assigned duty, they could hope for better in the future. However,
when Islam would arrive in India, a religion that said that all are equal before
God, this caused many people from lower castes, especially the Untouchables, to
convert in large numbers. However, in many instances the old social divisions
stuck, even if people were no longer bound by the religious concerns.

However, it was possible to escape the castes even without converting. Holy men of
any religion, but especially Hinduism and Buddhism, known as Sadhu, could focus
their lives on devotion and prayer. As such, they were viewed as having escaped the
caste system, as they were largely living lives outside of society. This ability
helps to underline the fact that the castes were social, not religious, in nature.

The argument of "division of labor" is a totally false, frivolous and cunning

argument. If that were to be true then there should not have been a concept of "
order" among the varna/caste, then why some caste/varna be superior to other, why
marriages among different caste/varna be un-acceptable? why "thinking" should be
treated superior to "action", why not dignity of labor was there?
Friend, you can read the writings of the revolutionary social reformer Dr. B.R.
Ambedkar for the criticism on Hindu caste system. Books like:-
Who were the Shudras
The Untouchables: Who were they & why they became untouchables?
Philosophy of Hinduism
Riddles in Hinduism
Castes in India - Their Mechanism, Genesis, and Development
The Annihilation of Caste
What Congress and Gandhi
Against the Madness of Manu
Agricultural Cooperative Banks and Farmers of SC, ST, and Other Castes
Essays on Untouchables and Untouchability

Also, books by other writers like Jotiba Phule, Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, Rahul
Sankrityayan, Kancha Ilaiah, Bharat Patankar, Gail Omvedt, will help.

On my flight to Boston, I had a amazing conversation with the person seating next
to me. Looking at my Tilak Chandlo he asked the normal question about what it meant
etc. Afterwards hr asked me if I was from India. He was a 3rd year undergraduate
student studying world history, economics and language (Specializing in Chinese). I
told him about the diverse languages we have and the number of periodicals and
newspapers published in India is the largest for any country in the world. Also
had a Indian currency with me and showed him the different languages written on it.
Our conversation progressed towards Indian history to which he came up with the
caste system. Now I remember all of us were taught that India was a caste driven
society. But the fact my friends is that all the history we have learned is
tampered with by pseudo intellectuals. FYI caste is a derived from a Portuguese
and Spanish word casta !
Ancient India never had a caste system. What we had was a Varna system. It differs
from Caste system as varna is independent of birth and based on merit ! So in
ancient India a farmer's system doesn't necessarily become a farmer . Jatis were
never frozen or fixed in India . Same for a warrior(kshatriya), banias and Brahmins
! Infact Europe had a feudal system !! And when they came to India they drew a
parallel between India's varna system and their Caste system ! The rigveda
clearly states that we all have specialities. We must use it to the maximum extent.
And it is not hereditary. They all fulfill different roles. That doesn't mean one
is more important than other. Like after 10th and 12th some of us took commerce,
some engineering and some arts and some medicine ! It is exactly similar. Division
of labour in society based on your ability, age. That is varnashram. It isn't
They People say we are polytheist - believe in many gods. We aren't ! We are
pluralists - we believe in many paths to the same god !
Hence a lot of the youth feel " Ohh hindusim is a horrible religion. It segregates
people ". But these aren't the facts ! It is simply a socio economic
stratification of society. In villages the potters son becomes potter not because
of hereditary. But because of lack of opportunities. Give him the ability to code
and he will join Infosys !
My point is we must know this. The media, western indologists have spread this.
And we trust the opinions of Harvard's and the Oxfords more than out very own
Bhagwad Gitas and the Vedas.
Well after knowing this the guy sitting next to me was surprised. So please next
time let people know this.

Even though I have an Indian name, I am thoroughly unqualified to give a first hand
account. However, I did come across this interesting and touching first hand
account of a young woman who was oppressed as a child, persevered, and eventually
went on to earn a doctorate in Sanskrit:

(Interviewed by Indian actor megastar, Aamir Khan, with English subtitles)

The caste system, as it is now, is very different from its original design. Now
it has become a system designated by birth, which was not the point. The system
was first formulated by Manu, an ancient teacher and legislator. It made a lot of
sense and still does. But over time, and the ego being what it is, the system got

Manu's idea was that all by their nature, due largely to spiritual evolution, could
be divided into four general classes. This applied not just to those born on the
Indian sub-continent, but to all mankind through all time. The classes are:
1. Sudras (those whose form of service to society was primarily through physical
2. Vaisyas (those who could bet serve through the mind � skilled workers, trade and
commerce and general business life)
3. Kshatriyas � warriors and rulers (who best could serve as leaders, executives
and protectors)
4. Brahmins (those who were spiritually-minded, contemplative, who were inspired
and could inspire others in a spiritual way).

But the system got greatly misused. It was never intended to be a system of
birth, ie, you were born into one caste or another. It was a designation
determined by one's natural capacities which was clearly seen by the goals one
chose to pursue in life. Those goals could generally be divided into four:
- kama, desire, activities mainly in the senses (sudra),
- artha, gain, getting control of those desires and working to fulfill them
- dharma, goals characterized by a life of self-discipline and right action,
basically taking responsibility for one's life (kshatriya)
- moksha, liberation, a life of spiritual striving and teaching.

Whilst a bit of all of them is in everyone, generally one of these goals

predominates. And as it is natural to all people, every society practices this
caste system to one degree or another, although they don't describe it as so.

All kinds of problems began to arise when the caste system of naturally propensity
hardened into a caste system of birth. Still, as India works to rediscover its
ancient greatness, inroads are being made into dealing with many of the social
problems caused by a rigid adherence to a caste-by-birth system.
When you say India, it becomes very difficult to sort out as at the surface level
India has many different religions. We have Hindus, Muslims, Chrishtians, Sikhs,
Jains, Buddists, Zoroastrians, Bahai faith, Daoism (Ancient Chinese religion) and
also Jews. And all religions have their own castes. Hindus have Brahmins,
Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras. Muslims have Shia, Sunni, Ahmedia (and some more I
guess I am unaware of). Christians have Catholics, Protestants, Penta-cross (I not
sure). Other all religions I have no idea.

Since I am a Hindu, I will write down as much I know about Hinduism and Hindu caste

Firstly, we have the most ancient categorization, the Varnas. They were create
around 5000-8000 years ago. So our scriptures say, there are three types of
tendencies: Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. The Satvic tendency makes a person
independent, fearless, want to learn all the time, want to explore more about
themselves, sharp witted, wise, aloof, ambivert, less of a talker and more of an
observer and overall noble. Rajasic tendency is about extrovert, social butterfly,
outgoing, glamour-loving, attention seeking, self-gratification and mortal
pleasures. Tamasic tendency is about ignorance, aloofness, holding grudges,
laziness, easily manipulated.

Based on the above qualities, there are 4 types of people in the world. (Its a
psychological discrimination. Just like how psychiatrists describe 4 types of
people: Group A, group B, C and D).
So these 4 types of people are
1. Brahmin (Totally Satvic)
2. Kshatriya (Satvic+ Rajasic)
3. Vaishya (Rajasic+Tamasic)
4. Shudras (Totally Tamasic).

So due to their nature, these castes are assigned a profession which suits them.

1. Brahmins = scholars, priests, teachers, doctors, hermits, scientists/inventors

(like Aryabhatta) etc.

2. Kshatriyas = Kings, warriors, knights, fighters, combatants, rulers etc.

3. Vaishyas = buisnesmen, tradesmen, enterprenures, accountants etc.

4. Shudras = farmers, peasants, potters, fishermen, servants etc.

Why so? Well imagine a man who can be easily manipulated (Shudra/Tamsic tendency)
be made the King. He is counselled by someone who thinks of personal benefits
(Vaishya), the empire will fall. And that is why it is preferable to not choose a
different profession rather than one assigned to you.

In today's world there was a great scam in India where a doctor illegally used to
operate homeless people and sell out their kidneys. I donno the name of the doctor,
but he is someone who shouldnt have been given a chance to learn medical science.
But how do we decide who becomes what?

Thats why comes birth. Just like a mango tree will bear a mango and a coconut tree
will bear a coconut, similarily a father's character is passed down to his son.
Hence a particular caste was later seen by the family background, the caste of
father. There were strict codes not to mix them as two people of different natures
will sure have a difficult marriage.

But still we have exceptions. We have intermixed castes too. They are formed by the
union of two different Varnas. For example Suta, a caste made of the inter mixture
of Brahmin and Kshatriya. This caste is mentioned in Mahabharat and people often
believe this caste to be that of Charioteers. But thats not true, its an intermixed

There are some castes which are formed by some oaths taken by our ancestors.
Kayastha is one such. The legend has it that Parshurama (a hermit avatar of Lord
Vishnu) went on a fierce man-slaughter of all the evil Kshatriyas. One of the
Kshatriya rulers who was seemingly powerless begged to be spared for his wife was
pregnant. Parshuram spared him on a promise that from this day on he and his
successors would never touch the sword, nor rule. They shall be commoners. Thus
this caste called Kayastha was born. Kayasthas lived like commoners although having
the qualities of Kashtriyas. They became accountants of kings, ministers,
tradesmen, philosophers, poets etc.

Now among these castes we have various communities or called Gotras. Some families
have rules that you cannot marry in the same gotra. While some families strictly
forbid you to marry in different Gotras. However Gotras are not upper/lower and its
more about family differences.

Varnas are however mentioned upper and lower. Brahmins and Kshatriyas are seen as
upper castes and are highly honored. The remaining are seen as lower castes. Most
people will think its about power, but Brahmins used to be essentially poor as they
survived on begging. Yet Brahmins were considered as highest caste and killing a
Brahmin was considered a sin of the highest order. Actually it was more about
loosing a wise, intelligent, noble soul than a mere person.

So this is how Hindu caste system is. For other religions I still have to find out.
This all I know about Hindu system. There may be clashes of opinions and I am open
to that. But I may not answer worthless arguements.

A System which degrades India and deprives its world leadership

God controls his creation Nature, and Being with Control of Gunas- Three
inclination, which afflicts the Intellect ( Gita 18.40- no one is free in all the
three worlds)

Yuga Dharma, God�s creation ?

Ved Vy�sa said to Janamejaya :-- O King! As the Yuga changes, so the people changes
in course of time. Nothing can alter its course, for this is caused by the Yuga
Dharma (the Dharma peculiar to each Yuga as intended by God). Therefore if all the
subjects that are considered wicked and vicious according to the law of the Yuga
Dharma, then this creation would be destroyed.

O King! The persons that are devoted to Dharma take their births in the Satya Yuga;
those that are fond of religion and wealth they become manifest in the Tret� Yuga;
those that like Dharma (religion), Artha (wealth) and Kama (desires), they are born
in the Dv�para Yuga, and those that dote on wealth and lust, they are seen in the
K�l� Yuga. O King! Know this as certain that these characteristics, peculiar to
each Yuga, never vary; and know this too, that Kaal, the Lord of Dharma and
Adharma, is always present.

Caste System is based on Karma and Guna created to protect weak and meek from high
and mighty in Treta Yuga.

All the three gunas----Tamas, Rajas and Satwa--are present in man in varying

The Tamo guna; It is natural for the Tamasic person to regard untruth as truth,
wrong as right, evil as good. Although the phenomenal world is impermanent and
illusory, the Tamasic minded person regards it as permanent and real.

If we take world/Our Body as real and if we identify our individuality with family
and place it is Tamasic.. The Tamasic person is incapable of perceiving the truth.

The Rajasic guna; Rajasic qualities make a person hot-blooded and hot-tempered. He
lacks the power of discrimination and yielding to likes and dislikes behaves
without restraint. Impulsive action is characteristic of persons in whom the Rajo
guna is predominant. Because of hasty and impulsive action, they are subject to all
kinds of difficulties. In the process, they waste their lives in wealth women and
seeking wisdom.

The Satwa guna. The virtus nature of a person. Even this results in a form of
bondage. Those who are inclined to renounce everything and who are pure in thought,
word and deed, form a third group

Who is a Brahmana; We know that the right to interpret the Sastras is given to the
Brahmanas. But Brahmanas have been defined as those who have made a thorough study
of the Sastras, who have no self-interest and who live up to Sastraic injunctions.
Anyone may acquire these qualifications. They are not confined to any caste on the
basis of birth. Only qualities and actions are determining factors and not birth.
Otherwise Dharma will fall.

Kshatriya; is one who is prepared to lay down his life for his country. The
nation's safety should mean more to him than the protection of his body. This
attitude of sacrifice may be displayed by anyone and he should be regarded as a

Vaisyas; are those who are engaged trade and business of commodity and goods

Sudra ;All those engaged in services, artisans, and those who are in agriculture
have been described as Sudras. Everyone needs food. If food is not grown and
services are not provided by the so called Sudras, the world will perish.

Therefore, what is really caste in Kali Yuga.

Those who are engaged in providing Police service, Security and defence service,
Politics are Kshatriyas

Those who are engaged in trading of Goods are Vaisyas.

All doctors, Engineers, Office workers, Skilled Labours. Manufacturers,

Entertainers, Trust and transport service providers, they support humanity, by
definition of scriptures they are Sudras.

Those who are constantly engaged in vedic rites, fire worship are Brahmanas
It only means that these categories are based on Guna and Karma (qualities and
actions). Therefore, if a person has the Tamo Guna and indulges in actions of a
Tamasic nature, being Ignorant of Reality or truth he must be regarded as a Sudra,
even if he is a Brahmana by birth. One who devotes his entire time to the
contemplation of God/Truth and does sacred acts is a Brahmana, regardless of the
caste in which he may be born. Brahmana is the one who seeks God- Truth.

Obsessed with distinctions of caste, creed and community and indulging in futile
and meaningless controversies, people should not degrade humanity.

Sant Mat puts the Blame on God for giving a corrupt system, which has degraded

Caste System is a trap (Yuga Dharma)created by God to keep humans focused on

worldly attainment, ( A slave master at times plays and uses some slaves to control
other slaves) thereby they all remain as a eternal traveller of womb hanging upside
down in it.

All are children of those 7 sages born of Brahman. Division of work takes place
takes place just closer to the end of Satya yuga ( Vayu Puran), It fuels the minds
of men with ego on Karma. Marriage preferences corrupted the caste system and
separated the brothers and sisters.

Sant mat advocates Surrender to a Knower of Truth (Gita 2.16�17 and 4.34)- Real
Satguru to overcome delusion which God has imposed. They warn!

Neech Neech Sabb Ter Gaye, Sant Charan Lau Leen. Jathin Ke Abhiman Mein, Doobe
Bahut Kuleen. �Satguru Kabir Sahib

After seeking the shelter of the Sants, the low class with no ego about their
caste, got liberated while those with ego about their higher status got drowned in
the ocean of repeated births and deaths.

Moti Maya Sabb Tajain, Jheeni Taji Na Jaye. Peer Paigamber Auliya, Jheeni Sabb Ko

Wealth, wife, son and the like are the gross forms of Maya. Many persons can
forsake these. But none succeeds in forsaking ego which is the ethereal form of
Maya. This ego has devoured even the great Peers, Paigambers, Rishi and Munis as

Kabir Sagar,Vayu Puran. www.sahib-bandgi.org


The casteism that we find today is the materialistic form of designation that has
become a way of oppressing the lower social orders of people. It says that if you
are born in a family of a certain classification, then you are of the same class
with little possibility of changing. In casteism, birth is now the major factor in
determining one�s social standing. It dictates that your social order, occupational
potential and characteristics are the same as your parents, which is a label that
may have been placed on a family hundreds of years ago.
In the Vedic system, there were four basic classifications. There were the
Brahmanas (priests and intellectuals, those who practiced and preserved the Vedic
rituals and processes of spiritual realization), the Kshatriyas (warriors,
military, government administrators), Vaishyas (the merchants, bankers, farmers,
etc.), and the Shudras (common laborers, musicians, dancers, etc.). Casteism says
that if you are born of a Brahmana family, then you are a Brahmana, no matter
whether you truly exhibit the genuine characteristics of a Brahmana or not. And if
you are also born in a Kshatriya family, or a Vaishya or Shudra family, then that
is what you must be. It is as if when one is born in a doctor�s family, the child
is also considered a doctor. However, anyone knows that to become a doctor requires
the proper training and perception to see if the child will be a qualified doctor
or not. Just being born in the family of a doctor does not mean that the children
will also be doctors, although this may help. But they surely are not doctors
merely by birth. Training and intelligence must be there. And before training,
there also must be the proclivity, tendency, and attraction to even be a doctor.
Without that, no amount of training will be of much use because the student will
still not want to be, or qualify to be a doctor. Therefore, this form of modern day
casteism is useless.
This form of materialistic casteism was practiced five hundred years ago, during
the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was considered an incarnation of the
Supreme Being. However, Sri Caitanya paid no mind to these social customs. He saw
them as a way that the hereditary Brahmanas were merely protecting their own
position and privileges and not spreading spiritual well-being, which is their
duty. Even during that time the Brahmanas had the idea that if they ate with or
touched anyone outside the Brahmana caste, they would risk losing their own social
rank. Sri Caitanya, however, ignored such restrictions and readily accepted
invitations to eat with the sincere devotees of the Lord, or also embrace them,
even if they were of the lowest social position. To Sri Caitanya, it was their
devotion that gave them whatever qualification they needed. In this way, He
dismissed the materialistic method of casteism. By this action He also showed that
it was not birth that was important, but one�s consciousness, intentions, and
spiritual awareness that was the prominent factor, which superseded the rank of
one�s body or family. It is this which actually determines one�s personality,
character, and abilities, not merely one�s birth. This is actually how we should
see people and treat them equally as spiritual beings inside material bodies.


The original Vedic system called varnashrama was legitimate and virtuous. It was
meant for the progressive organization of society. Varnashrama is the Vedic system
that divides society into four natural groups depending on individual
characteristics and dispositions. Everyone has certain tendencies by their own
natural inclinations and choice. These inclinations are also seen in one�s
occupational preferences. These activities are divided into four basic divisions
called varnas. Varna literally means color, relating to the color or disposition of
one�s consciousness, and, thus, one�s likelihood of preferring or showing various
tendencies for a particular set of occupations. This would be determined not by
one�s birth, but by one�s proclivities as observed by the teachers in the school
that the student was attending.
For example, there are those who prefer to offer service to society through
physical labor or working for others, or through various forms of expressions like
dance and music (called Shudras); those who serve through agriculture, trade,
commerce, business, and banking or administrative work (Vaishyas); those who have
the talents of leaders, government administration, police or military, and the
protection of society (Kshatriyas); and those who are by nature intellectuals,
contemplative, and inspired by acquiring spiritual and philosophical knowledge, and
motivated to work in this way for the rest of society (the Brahmanas). It was never
a factor of whether a person had a certain ancestry or birth that determined which
class was most appropriate for him or her, although being born in a particular
family or tribe would give a natural likelihood to continue in the same line of
Ashramas divided society for spiritual reasons. These were Brahmacharya (students),
Grihasthas (householders), Vanaprasthas (the retired stage, at which time a person
begins to give up materialistic pursuits and focus on spiritual goals), and
Sannyasa (those who were renounced from all materialistic affairs, usually toward
the end of their lives, and completely dedicated to spiritual activities). This
provided a general pattern for one�s life in which people could work out their
desires and develop spiritually at the same time.
In this way, the system of varnashrama came into existence according to the natural
tendencies of people, and to direct them so that everyone could work together
according to the needs of society. The ashramas divided an individual�s life so
that a person could fulfill all of one�s basic desires as well as accomplish the
spiritual goals of life. Only according to one�s qualities, tendencies, and traits,
usually as one grew up in school, was it determined which varna was best for that
person. And then he would be trained accordingly to do the most suited work that
fit his qualities, much like the way counselors work with students in schools
today. Thus, he or she would have a suitable occupation which he would enjoy, and
make a respectable contribution to society.
Its real purpose was that the system of varnashrama was not to label or restrict
someone. It was actually part of the means for self-discovery and development. It
was to assist a person to find their place in life where he or she would be most
comfortable in terms of functionality and occupation. It was to allow the means for
everyone to work according to their own nature, which helps bring happiness to the
individual and society. Thus, a person could study what was most suited for him or
her rather than pursue a type of work that was not really in line with that
person�s character, and in which he would soon be dissatisfied. So, it would help
guide one to more efficiently complete one�s life and reach fulfillment. In this
way, the varnashrama system is based on the natural divisions within society and is
not meant to establish forced distinctions or restrictions.
However, beyond this it was meant to help raise the consciousness of humanity from
materialism to a higher state of devotional regard for God in spiritual life. It
would help one in managing the physical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual energy
for improving one�s health, mental and physical development, and productivity,
along with spiritual awareness. Thus, it was meant for helping society to become
spiritually harmonized and make the everyday tasks into a means of spiritual
progress and growth.
To explain further, in Bhagavad-gita (4.13) Lord Krishna says, �According to the
three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of
human society were created by Me.� Then He continues, �Brahmanas, Kshatriyas,
Vaishyas and Shudras are distinguished by their qualities of work in accordance
with the modes of nature.� (Bg.18.41) Herein we can see that there is no mention of
birth as a determining factor for one�s varna or classification. They are
ascertained by their qualities of work. Furthermore, �By following his qualities of
work, every man can become perfect. . . By worship of the Lord, who is the source
of all beings and who is all-pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty
[or occupation], attain perfection.� (Bg.18.45-6)
Herein we can understand that these divisions are created by the Lord so that
everyone can be rightly situated in the work and activities that are most suitable
for each person, and in which they can feel most comfortable. Whatever occupational
tendency a person may have is determined by the modes of material nature one has
acquired, or in which he or she associates. Beyond this, these classifications are
to organize society in a way that can help in the systematic development of the
spiritual consciousness of all mankind.
In the Vishnu Purana (3.8.9) Lord Parasharama also says, �The Supreme Lord Vishnu
is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varna
and ashrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Lord.� So, by engaging in this
varnashrama system the Supreme Lord can be satisfied with one�s occupation. It is a
way of making one�s work and activities into devotional service to the Lord.
However, it may be pointed out that a person in pure spiritual consciousness is
above all such designations, even though for his service to God he may act in any
one of these divisions at any given time. Devotional service to the Lord is never
restricted by any classification of actions. Any activity becomes completely
spiritual when it is an expression of one�s devotion or love of God.
Now we can understand how the Vedic arrangement of varnashrama provides the means
for each person in each varna to be able to make spiritual advancement by offering
one�s activities to the Lord. It is the way a person can directly engage in bhakti-
yoga, or devotional service to the Supreme. Thus, in whatever position one is in,
all of one�s duties can become an offering of love to God, which becomes the
highest level of meditation, intention, or activity.
If everyone engages their talents and tendencies in his or her particular
occupation with the idea that it is a service to God, then that occupation becomes
the means for one�s worship and thoughts or meditation on the Supreme. If one
thinks like this always, then, by the grace of the Lord, he will be delivered from
material existence. This is the highest perfection of life. In whatever occupation
people may be engaged, if they serve the Supreme Lord, they will achieve this
highest level of success. It is by this means that the spiritual form of
varnashrama can satisfy the Lord, and everyone makes spiritual advancement. As
society progresses in this way, all working together for the satisfaction of the
Lord, they forget who is in what position, or that there seems to be a difference,
because spiritually they are all transcendental. Thus, everyone rises above the
material platform by dint of their spiritual work in devotional service. Then the
harmonious and advanced nature of the mode of goodness, as found in the age of
Satya-yuga, can be invoked even in this dark age of Kali-yuga.
The system of varnashrama exists naturally everywhere because people will always
have the tendencies for what they want to do, or have particular qualities for
occupational skills. And these can invariably be divided into the four above-
mentioned groups. This is natural, and, as we have seen the evidence here, it has
been formed by the Supreme Creator. Therefore, it will always be in existence in
some shape or form.
This system, however, was never meant to divide people according to materialistic
classifications. It was meant to unite people in a cooperative society in the
service of God. In Vedic times, even the Shudras had the same rights as those of
the other varnas, and their dignity was preserved without discrimination. In this
way, everyone would be satisfied materially and work in a way for the Lord�s
pleasure. The Vedic culture, ultimately, was for the well-being and spiritual
advancement of the whole society. Forced designation or untouchability was never a
part of the Vedic process. The materialistic system of the present-day casteism has
deteriorated into a means of dividing society according to mere parentage to
control certain groups, while protecting or expanding the worldly happiness of the
privileged. Thus, additional groups have been manufactured to accommodate this,
such as those who are described as outcastes or �untouchables�. Actually, there is
no word as �untouchable� in any of the Vedic scriptures. This is merely a modern
Logically speaking, if a person is not performing any unhygienic activities, then
why should he be called a Dalit, or an untouchable, simply because of the family in
which he was born? Even after performing something dirty, one need only wash
oneself properly to be clean again. Likewise, to raise one�s consciousness to a
higher awareness or frequency of activity, one need only participate in the Vedic
methods of spiritual advancement, which must be done regardless of one�s rank or
varna, whether Shudra or Brahmana.
On the other hand, I have seen Brahmanas in India who ate eggs, ate meat, and drank
alcohol, all considered to be dirty or contaminating things. How does one clean
oneself from that if he is considered a clean and pure Brahmana? It means that such
a person is hardly a Brahmana at all, even if he is born in a Brahmana family. So
classification is to be judged by qualities, habits, and the content of one�s
character, not by mere title and birth.
So, as it stands today, the present form of casteism is a great curse on Hinduism.
It attacks the core of its spiritual philosophy, and has resulted in large numbers
of Hindus converting to other religions in an attempt to become free of it.
Therefore, it needs to be replaced by the genuine system of varnashrama, or simply
thrown out completely. However, there are groups or spiritual institutions of Vedic
followers who have set the proper example and are open to everyone, and do not
divide people or consider them according to their birth. The members all view each
other as equals working together for spiritual cooperation and advancement.
In the Bhagavad-gita (18.42), Lord Krishna explains that the natural qualities of
the Brahmanas are peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance,
honesty, wisdom, and knowledge. The Mahabharata (1) also explains that a Brahmana
must be perfectly religious. He must be truthful and able to control his senses. He
must execute severe austerities and be detached, humble, and tolerant. He must not
envy anyone, and must be expert in performing religious sacrifices and giving
whatever he has in charity. He must be fixed in devotional service and expert in
Vedic knowledge. These are the twelve qualifications for a Brahmana. The
Mahabharata (Vana Parva, Chapter 180) also goes on with a quote from Yudhisthira,
that a Brahmana possesses truthfulness, charity, forgiveness, sobriety, gentleness,
austerity, and a lack of hatred.
So the point is that, unfortunately, in today�s form of casteism, when we see
Brahmanas who are proud of their position, or who desire material benefit, or look
condescendingly at those of lower castes, they are not really elevated but are
materialistic. This means that they have lost the true qualities of Brahmanas. They
actually help promote contempt throughout casteism. Thus, for those that act this
way, and not all of them do, only by birth are they called Brahmanas, but the
necessary qualifications are not found in them. In fact, the very people that may
pride themselves for their high social classifications, and are supposed to be the
spiritual leaders of society (the Brahmanas), only indicate their lack of
qualifications by focusing on the temporary material designations when they are
supposed to be above such things.
A final point in this regard comes from Suta Gosvami who says in the Srimad-
Bhagavatam (1.2.8) that such occupational duties a man performs according to his
own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for
the message of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that the modern
materialistic form of casteism that we find today is no longer connected with the
Vedic system of varnashrama. It misses the point of helping everyone make spiritual
advancement by focusing on our spiritual identity of being the soul within the
body, or to please the Supreme Lord. Thus, the caste system has become simply a
materialistic, useless, and destructive system.

Let me first refute the theory that Varnas were by "quality". In those days, there
were no standardized ways of ascertaining qualities. There were no impartial ways
of making a judgement on the children. There were no common school system. In order
to enter a school system itself, you needed "birth". For example Karna could not
enroll to the schools which the 5 brothers and 100 cousins were able to attend just
by birth. A person of Viswamitra (or was it Vasista? I do not know the story well)
belonged to a kingly class but to become a brahmin, he had to undergo tough tests!
But did the sons of the neighborhood Brahmins go through these tests? Nope. Did the
failed Brhamin boys become Sudra boys and married Sudra girls? Nope. Such a system
based on qualities did not exist! Practically, it was not possible. Everything was
by birth. HOWEVER, the society might have expected such qualities from the castes
as mere expectations game!

Varnas might have come after the castes (Jathies would have come first actually).
The Rig Veda is very vivid. It presenta a scenario where Aryans fought and subdued
Dasus and subjugated them. Dasus were of different color and language. This is how
the castes came and then the Varna came perhaps as a super groupings.
�Any great invention has both positive and negative effects like the two sides of
the coin. As long as the positive outweighs the negative, one can safely continue
to use it, and when the coin (the effect of the invention) flips causing more
damage than good, it has to be discontinued' Now just absorb this and remember this
through out this answer.

Let's just understand the cause for the development of a society.

Humans have observed that instead of a single person doing all variety of work, we
could collaborate and each of us doing a specialized job lead to a higher
efficiency and productivity. Now the knowledge a person had acquired during the
practice of the skill during his life-time was passed down. That started the
division of labor. So, in India, the Caste-System was developed to sort people into
that division of labor, so as to help that knowledge be passed down to the right
people (who are having an aptitude for it) and selectively group together so as to
let a skill develop.

But as it usually happens with all good systems over long periods of time, some
people stopped following the code and tried to steer the system being advantageous
to them. Initially it was only based on profession and skill. But soon people
(especially those with significantly higher valued skill-set) started to train
their biological off-springs to boost their chances of being in that professional
group(caste). Over the decades, it has changed more from an aptitude based passage
of skill to a birth based passage skills. There in comes negatives of the system,
the caste group was gradually being majorly conferred to the off-springs of those
who were in the same caste in the previous generation than to those with ancestors
of different caste.

�Often, our immediate reaction to a sudden crisis helps us save ourselves. Our
response to gradual crises that creep up upon us, on the other hand, may be so
adaptive as to ultimately lead to self destruction.� Similarly the Caste-System
which was devised to be beneficial to the society soon started turning into
hindrance for the society. Over the centuries, caste became the tool of oppression.

Now after millenniums of similar changes, soon it turned totally a birth based
paradigm rather than a work-ability based paradigm.

That is the Indian caste-system in short

I had a Pilipino colleague while I worked in Malaysia. I asked him about his caste.
He did not know his caste. This is true with most of the countries other than
India. He said he is 50% Pilipino, 25% Chinese and 25% Vietnamese. His father was
born out of Chinese, Vietnamese parents who married a Pilipino.

Brahmin is an upper most caste in India.

Traditionally in India, son or a daughter of a Brahmin family automatically is

considered to be a Brahmin.

In olden days, scriptures divided Hindus in to four sects based on their work
profile. They were Brahmin (intellectuals), Khatriya (warriors), Vaishya
(merchants) and Kshudra (helpers). Marriages were strictly within castes / sub-
castes. As per the scriptures, caste movement from one caste to other, was intended
/ allowed based on the profession of the next generation. This means a Brahmin�s
son, if he became a trader will become Vaishya. However, this was not practiced.
Who would like to be demoted? Brahmins wrote interpretation of scriptures in
Sanskrit, a language which was not understood by other castes. Interpretation was
conveniently done to favour themselves. Lower caste families, in turn were not
allowed to become Brahmins in spite of their being Brahmin by purity of thought,
nobility of action. A Kshudra, for instance, was not permitted to become a priest
in the temple nor conduct a public pooja. Rules were polluted to encourage practice
of �untouchability� (to ill treat Kshudras) harmful to the society. In India,
Brahmins can easily be known based on the family names causing ease of

In the recent times, inter caste marriages have become common thing in educated
middle and higher class society. Brahmin boy or a girl marrying a lower caste girl
or a boy is initially frowned upon by Brahmin parents but is later being accepted
as they do not seem to have a choice.

These days, youngsters prefer to go to a profession which is more paying and will
quickly improve their standard of living. Thus it�s quite common to see a Brahmin
businessman (doing Vaishya�s work) or a Kshudra writer, poet or an artist (doing
Brahmin�s work).

It�s only because Kshudras historically have for long time, remained poor due to
nature of the work (less paying), that they continue to be comparatively
economically backward. Poverty forces them to terminate education of their children
and make them work for living at lower age, leading to poor literacy and continuing
economic backwardness. They thus still remain in this evil vicious circle. This is
despite Government efforts to offer them concessions in education and jobs.

Time is not far, when the caste lines will become further thinner and eventually,
families will be formed purely on the basis of complementary professions or
economic status, cris-crossing today�s hereditary caste lines.

As India moves up the value chain � economically, like other developed economies,
Literacy and affluence will improve. This will lead to Kshudras also joining the
inter caste marriage band wagon.

Caste system in India will get diluted with literacy in the years to come.

The Caste system of India is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and deplored
societal arrangements of the world today. Many Indians and most westerners perceive
the caste system as a societal evil that has been instrumental in the higher
castes exploiting the lower ones through the ages. While it cannot be denied that
the caste system in India has been grossly misutilised lately in serving the ego of
the so called 'higher caste' , it is worthwhile investigating how the Caste system
came into existence in the first place , how the society was divided into the
various castes, what was the system intended for and most interestingly, how it
facilitated the overall for development of the Vedic society. Let us now find out
what the vedic scriptures have to tell us about the subject.

Bhagavad Gita, which is regarded as the essence of all vedic literatures, describes
the qualities of the people belonging to the four castes:
Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge,
wisdom and religiousness�these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas
[B.G. 18.42]

Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and

leadership are the natural qualities of work for the ksatriyas. [B.G. 18.43]

Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas, and for
the sudras there is labor and service to others. [B.G. 18.44]

In addition to this, Krishna also says :

�It is better to engage in one�s own occupation, even though one may perform it
imperfectly, than to accept another�s occupation and perform it perfectly. Duties
prescribed according to one�s nature are never affected by sinful reactions.� [B.G.

So what makes a person Brahmin, Kshatriya, vaishya or Sudra ? Is it his birth? Is

it his upbringing ? or is it his qualities?

Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that he has created this system:-

catur-varnyam maya srstam

tasya kartaram api mam
viddhy akartaram avyayam

Translation- According to the three modes of material nature and the work
associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And
although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the
nondoer, being unchangeable. (Bhagavad Gita 4.13)

So the Vedas recognize different people have different skills and qualifications,
but it is no by birth, it is by guna [qualification] and karma [work]. So if
someone born of a sudra [worker] father becomes qualified [guna] and works as
[karma] a brahmana he should be accepted as a brahmana. In the same way if the son
of a brahmana doesn�t have the qualifications of a brahmana or work as a brahmana
then he is not a brahmana. There are so many examples of this in the Vedic


�If a person considers himself to be a Brahmana by birth but engages in [such

things as] taking care of cows, buffalos, goats, horses, camels, or sheep, or acts
as a messenger, tax collector, businessman, painter [artist], or dancer, he should
be considered as not a real Brahmana, even though he may be very expert or
(BP, 38.36-37)

�Brahmanas who have deviated from the path of righteousness as propagated by the
scriptures are to be considered fallen [from their social status], even though they
may belong to a very aristocratic family, and have performed all the required
purificatory rituals, and carefully studied the Vedas. No amount of accomplishments
gives one the right to justify sinful behavior.� (BP, 38.42-43)

�Thus, it can be understood how a Brahmana can become a Shudra, a Shudra can become
a Brahmana, a Kshatriya can become a Brahmana or a Vaishya, and so on.� (BP, 38.47)
For example, �Vyasadeva was the son of a fisherman�s daughter, his father Parashara
was born from a woman who was a dog-eater. Shukadeva was born from a female parrot,
Vashishtha was the son of a prostitute�� and others sages like Kanada, Shringi,.
Mandapala, and Mandavya all had questionable births, and yet all were highly
qualified Brahmanas, and recognized as such.


�According to Svayambhuva Manu, the principal characteristic of a Brahmana is that

he possesses spiritual knowledge, is enriched with the power of penance, and
maintains a state of purity. According to this understanding, anyone, whether he
belongs to an upper, middle, or lower caste, if he never indulges in sinful
activities, he must be considered a Brahmana. It is said that an honest and well-
behaved Shudra is better than an arrogant Brahmana, and a Brahmana who disregards
the prescribed codes of good conduct is inferior to a Shudra. A Shudra that does
not keep wine in his shop or in his house is called an honest Shudra.� (BP, 42.29-

In the Srimad Bhagavad Gita ( 4.13 ), the Lord states : �According to the three
modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human
society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you
should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.�He clearly points out
that this classification is based on not on birth but on the qualities,
consciousness and abilities of an individual

Caste is a fancy word to legalize Nepotism.

And Nurture it, grow it.

About the system, well, it's an institution. To make sure that people from one
group do not threaten the prosperity of the other.

I beg your pardon but caste system WAS not dirty. It was one of the best way to
decide sharing of Duties. People who teach or do sacrificial rites are Brahmin,
people who were in charge of defense and protection of clan are Khsatriya. People
in the field of commerce were Vaishya and Shudras were people engaged in laborious
Now understand that it was a time when there were no IIT or other technical
Now best way to pass on knowledge of certain trait was to pass it on to next
generation. It was supposed that the son of a blacksmith was better fit for the
role of blacksmith than Goldsmith.
It was all equal. And only one who was above the all four castes was he/she who had
attained supreme knowledge and he/she could be anyone.
The problem aroused when people start to discriminate other for the job they do.
They started thinking themselves superior than others. They also started to stop
the exchange of talents between castes. And that is the root of all issues.
So you see caste system itself was not dirty, it is human nature which degraded it
in this way.
Hinduism doesn't speak about Caste system. It speaks about the Varna system. Varna
system was similar to today's class category system(e.g Class 1 officer, Class 2
officer). There were four Varnas namely..
Brahmins: Consisting of Priests, teachers and Preachers.
Kshatriyas: Consisting of King, governor, warrior and soldiers.
Vaishyas: Consisting of cattle herders, agriculturists, businessmen, artisan and
Shudras: Laborers and Service providers.

People belonged to particular Varna according to their profession. A son of a

Shudra could become a Brahmin and A son of a Kshatriya could become a Vaishya. This
entire system was job oriented. Now take this example...

Will an IAS officer look down upon a laborer?

The answer will be "YES". A person holding High position will never befriend a
person who is lower to him.

The same thing happened in ancient times. Brahmins started looking down upon
Shudras because they held a lower position. This created a rift between different
Varnas. This lead to formation of hierarchy.
Now, all the Priests, Teachers and Preachers belonged to Brahmin Varna. They were
supposed to look after the religious practices, scriptures. They were responsible
for transferring Vedic scriptures to next generations until they were written down.
As they started looking down upon lower Varnas, "some" of them corrupted some
scriptures in their favor. They corrupted religious texts(like Manusmriti). Now
this corrupted knowledge was transferred from I generation to another. Soon it
became caste system.

So, basically Varna system was for good purpose but it took a wrong turn. Varna was
allocated according to what we do and not according to whom we were born....

P.S: Try finding out the meaning of you caste in local language. It will most of
the time be associated with a profession...

I'm taking on a unique perspective on the issue of caste. Seeing it in the angle of
many ethnic groups.

As for the many communities in India called castes, they aren't castes. They are
distinct tribal communities with unique histories, cultural and social traditions.
Their tasks spanned across the four Varna system. Some major ethnic communities in
India are Rajputs, Jats, Ahirs, Brahmins and Banias. Note that these tribes span
across religious, sectarian, linguistic and regional divides. This is why all of
the world's 60 million or so Brahmins are all just one tribal community with
different sectarian, religious and linguistic divisions. The Brahmin people did all
tasks from latrine work to scholarly work. These tribal communities are better
known as Jati. This division works much like the tribal system of Pakhtuns or

Some tribal communities such as the Kamma/Kapu and Reddy people of Andhra Pradesh
and Telangana or the Mudaliar and Pillai or Tamil Nadu are tribes withing the Tamil
and Telugu ethnicities. Some tribes, such as the Rajput people, are so big they are
ethnicities unto themselves.

Punjabi is an ethnic community with tribes like Jats and Khatri. Bengali are an
ethnic community while Kayastha and Brahmins are tribal communities that fall under
the Bengali ethnicity.

Doing a campaign of promoting inter-caste/tribe marriage would amalgamate all of

India's unique cultures and traditions into one. This would be a disaster. Rather
to stop the discrimination, we should treat the SC communities such as the Chamar,
Valmiki, Bhangi, Mahar, Mazhabi, etc with respect. This isn't a social class
discrimination. This is selective violence against certain ethnic groups that has
to stop.?

I am a an ethnic Tamil and tribally Brahmin whose sect is the Sri Vaishnava
ideology. I am not taking this perspective to uphold a superiority complex. I don't
hold such supremacist thoughts. I am expressing concern for how �intercaste�
marriage is being promoted. �Intercaste� marriage will not solve discrimination.
Rather, acknowledging the discrimination and violence the downtrodden tribal
communities face and stopping such incidences from occuring will solve the
discrimination, violence and torture the downtrodden Dalit communities face.

Manusmriti .. I guess .. Divided people into 4 varnas .. Caste system was not
found in India earlier, we had only varnas..Caste came into existence after the
British occupation of INdia. Caste - derived from the italian word Castos or Costos
!! Varna's were earlier change able and people used to change from one to other..
Also there was no up and down among varnas all the 4 classes were treated equally..

Hundred and thousands of year back, there were no caste and religion.
Initially, rulers divided people on the basis of work to run their administration
Some were given to study and were called pandit/ bramins.

Some were given to cultivate land and they were called as bhumiyar.

One who make foot wear were called chamar, etc

And there next generation did the same work and there work later became caste.

It comes from a deep sense of correlation between a person's job and their
intrinsic worth in society. Casteism takes it a notch further and entire families
are put into one caste (thereby making job and status hereditary). Casteism makes
it difficult for lower income lower case jobs to me move up. It's highly anti

In my ancestral home, my eldest aunt hired a maid from a lower caste and she had
been around for almost 40 years. Pretty much every one in my parent's generation
treated her like shit. I respected her a lot, her work ethic inspired me. India has
a custom to touch an elders feet as a sign of respect. I touched her feet during a
festival. She was startled, higher caste people never touch a lower caste person's
feet. My parents flipped out and later disciplined me and many elders chastised me.
I stopped respecting the vast majority of them and never touched any elderly
relatives feet from then on.

Indians are deeply entrenched in this worldview, and this kind of behavior is
considered normal. I hope this explains the concept.

The modern caste system in India, which has rightly been outlawed in India,is a
perversion of the original Vedic social system.

Many secular people like to judge the original Vedic social system according to the
values and prejudice, they have been taught in the Western culture they grew up in.
But the Vedic social system - varnashram dharma - is to be found all over the

Krishna says:

According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them,
the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the
creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being
unchangeable. (Bg. 4.13)

In all human societies one can observe four types of human beings - the worker-type
(skilled or unskilled), the merchant and business-type, the worrior and statesman-
type, and the intellectual, priest or philosopher-type.

These four human types are to be found in all societies, and the varnashram social
system, or the caste-system as it is infamously called, is merely a scientific
description and organization of these different human types in society.

It is noteworthy, that Krishna says that the different human types are not to be
determined by birth, but by one's ability and bodily tendency. Besides, before the
Americans after WWII replaced the old traditions with their Coca-cola and Hollywood
culture, people in Europe followed the varnashram system. The Church gave direction
and defined the moral and ethics. The king ruled and enforced. The merchants and
farmers traded, grew food, and created economy, and the worker, artist, and
musician worked and entertained.

That the Church by time became corrupt and abused its power, is a different matter.
The same thing happened in the Varnashrama social system in India, where the
brahmins began to misuse and distort the system.

In an ideal society, the state governs in accordance with the directions of the
sages and priests. But modern society is being run by the economy. It's the
merchants who rule society and establishes its values and norms. That's why modern
society is on its way over the brink.

Society can be likened to a body. The brahmins (the intelletual, the philosopher,
the sage, the priest, and the teacher) are the head of the body. The Kshatriyas
(the warrior, the king, the politician, military, and police) are the arms. The
vaishyas (the farmer, the merchant, and the banker) are the belly; and the shudras
(the worker, the skilled worker, the artist, the musician, the actor, and everyone
who serves the other castes) are the legs.

The body is meant to be directed by the head. The function of the arms is to
protect the body. The stomack's function is to nourish the body and distribute
energy, and the function of the legs is to move the body here and there.

The modern Coca-cola society is a culture that is run by the belly. The merchants
are in charge. It ought to be the head, but the modern society is more or less
head-less. Or the head is governed by money. The present social body is bereft of a
goal in life and long term-vision. It just stumbles along according to the
dictation of its senses. Such a society, harmful and destructive as it is,
naturally won't be allowed to dominate the world for long.

Nature is quite capable of regulating herself. That's why at the present moment,
the modern western civilization is in the process of being demolished by nature. It
is too harmful and destructive to nature and her inhabitants to be allowed to go

Krishna says:

This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O

son of Kunti, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this
manifestation is created and annihilated again and again. (Bg. 9.10)

In Indian Mythological literature like PURANA and Samhita's..

There are 18 Purana's
And numerous samhita's and Upanishada's
There is one Samhita called Manusamhita..
This samhita gives details of four varna and how they come to existance etc..etc..
Moral of the story..
One writer who claims his name Manu in the past is solely responsible for starting
this varna and Ashram's..
There are some evidences of this system in other purana,Geeta, Mahabharat Ramayana
as well...
On basis of this some people has started the caste system..
May be it was as per businesses but later it was established by birth..
Totally ridiculous system and nobody having brain can digest this type of filth
given in this literature..
In the name of sanatan dharma they are trying to continue this..
There is one good book in Gujarati literature written by Sachchidanand Swami
( Dantali vala)..you can read regarding benefits and disadvantages of caste

In addition to all the excellent answers given here, I would like to add one more
citation from our sastras which is the following hymn:

Janmana jayate sudrah

Samskarat dwij ucchte
Ved pathanat bhavet viprah
Brahma jnana iti brahmanah
Which means that, by birth every one is of a lower caste and after that your caste
will be upgraded based on your thoughts and deeds. If your thoughts and deeds are
noble you are determined as upper caste.
In the process of evolution of Caste system, as said by Balaji Viswanathan, the
caste system may be built upon the profession of the people to which they belong.

I recommend reading Louis Dumont, Homo Hierarchicus, a historical treatment of the

caste system, reflecting the reality until the 1950's (and for comparison, his Homo
Aequalis is equally of interest)

The prevalence of group identities referred to as castes. The word as used in

modern European languages comes from a root meaning pure and reflects what is
termed as VARNA.
Varna according to VEDAS is formulaic and orderly, dividing Society into four
groups arranges in a hierarchy - The Brahman (Priest), Kshatriya (Warrior
aristocrat), Vaishya (Cultivator and Trader) and Shrudra (who labour for the
others), the fifth being the untouchable and therefore beyond the table.
However, there have been other ways of looking at the origins and functioning of
caste society. A concept used equally frequently for caste is JATI. It is derived
from a root meaning �BIRTH�. The number of JATIS are listed by name and are too
numerous to be easily counted. The hierarchical ordering of JATIS is neither
consistent not uniform, although hierarchy cannot be denied. Sometime the concept
of JATI and VARNA overlap. Now the question is how caste society evolved?
Some scholars believe the earliest division in the society was based on VARNA and
JATI is the subdivision of VARNA. This is found in VEDIC corpus. According to VEDIC
literature there is four division of society � BRAHMAN, KSHARTIYA, VAISHYA and

In today�s world - when we try to understand an ancient system we should understand

the situation existing at the ancient time as well. What is misleading in all the
answers for this question is people are trying to show that there was a country
called India for thousands of years and this caste system was existing in the land
- which is utter stupidity. Also please understand the difference between the
mythology and history while looking at this kind of topics. Many of the answers
given in this thread, seems to confuse both of it.

The present day country India found its demography only after 1947 and around that
time period - when many European colonial powers left Asian continent. The land
mass in the present day India was never was called as India in any period of time.
The term was used to refer this part of the continent. It is a westerners
perception that there is a �country� called India which was rich in spices and
other riches, that they were sailing around to find it. But they were acutally
looking for a subcontinent filled will many countries as diverse as Europe or even
more diverse than it. So the point I am trying to make here is, the caste system we
are discussing here, do not belong to a country or a region but it belonged to a
�belief system�. The belief system is written in a particular language - Sanskrit -
therefore it belonged to the people who spoke it and believed in that system. The
history, origin, migration, nativity of this language and its migration is highly
debatable. To date, there is no other languages spoken in the world, including
other languages spoken in India, have been reported to have the concept of belief
system described in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit literature such as Vedas, Upanishads,
etc., were not translated to other languages until this century. The people who
claimed to own the rights of the language - self proclaimed to be the top of the
caste pyramid - as described in their own belief system and placed others under

Unless we find the actual origin and route of Sanskrit language, we cannot
determine if the caste system belong to this land mass. There is no archaeological
proof in India for any of the mythological stories mentioned in this belief system
which makes it difficult to judge where this system come from. All the religious
places found in India, said to be the places mentioned in the mythological stories,
have much younger �age� calculated by carbon dating - mostly built after 10th
century. This only indicates that most of the places were built for a religious
cause and remembrance of incidents mentioned in mythology.

The kingdoms ruling various countries in this region, where the kings, accepted the
belief system adopted the recommendations made in the belief system. So it was
brought and imposed by the believers through the political system just like how it
is done in other religious movements across the world.

At the moment, the Republic of India, make all citizens to be equal, so anyone
imposing this caste based belief system is strictly illegal. Indian constitution
has drawn a plan to slowly remove this system from the people who are following it.
People advocating these fundamentalism and barbaric ideology can be considered as

I want to make it more humble, even before 2000 years ago.. In the gurukula system
the guru was the person who choose the caste to a person, caste was not by birth..

by guru how was the caste choosen?

The person who was physically strong was chosen to be kshatriya.(to protect dharma)
The person who mentally very strong with knowledge was chosen to be brahman(to
check the welfare of the society and guide them in proper way)
The person who was not that mentally strong but was capable of knowledge was chosen
to be vaishya(in trade to complete the needs of society)
The person who was not mentally or physically strong was sent to the shudras where
he would serve the rest of the people.(to create a balance in the society)

caste was never by birth, bitter truth..

Later after Mughals invaded india, this caste system became intense due to the
conversion methods of kings and gap grew larger in the society.

The caste system was a system to catagorise people on their skills. It was an
ancient Vedic system of knowing a persons trait. It was never hereditary, and not
like the system we know it today. The word cast is not even Indian it is Portugese.
When the Eurpoeans came they saw the system we had and classified it on the
standard they believed, a class system.

This was never the way the system worked, but, as with all ideas given to us by the
colonialists we took it to another level and made it our own and felf that
privaledge and systems to catagorise people were for the best. This worked well for
the British to hold onto India to keep a division between the people. As with
Indian culture we are very good at absorbing culture and ideas and integrating it
within our own culture whether it be good or bad.

Every society has their shares of fools, So do we, Some Hindus quote Manusmriti as
divine law given by Manu, but they are just Idiots who knew nothing about Hinduism.

Manusmriti is a Puranic period text, with no religious significance, composed by

some unknown author using the name of Mythical character Manu.

The character Manu was mentioned in very few puranic period texts.

Manu was a central character in Puranic period mythical story of �The great flood�,
as progenitor of the mankind, The flood story was told in Mahabharat (Mahabharat
containing 100000 verses is Puranic period edition of original Jaya-Bharat which
has just 8000�24000 verses compiled during Vedic period)

The myth of the great flood can be found in every part of the word on every
continent in every culture, Its origin is unknown, but one can not deny the fact
that no such flood story is mentioned in any of the Vedic texts.

None of the Vedic texts - Rigveda, Yajurveda, Athavaveda, Samvaveda, Samhita,

Brahmana, Aranyaka, Upnishads, Vedanta, Vedanga etc. - Ever mentioned Manu, Even
Remotley there is no reference of Manu.

Smriti texts has no religious significance, they are just authors views on things
or his interpretation or commentaries, and can be changed according to the
situation or you can write your own Smriti.

Varna is different from Caste system

Varna is determined by your Karma, whereas Caste divides people by birth.

Varna system -

When doing my service to the society I�m shudra,

When earning for my family and contributing to the society I�m vaishya,

When defending my nation, protecting my people, fighting against injustice, helping

others I�m khastriya

In knowledge I�m Brahmin

Caste system -

The Practice of Caste system started with the decline of Vedic theology and its
Varna system during the Puranic Period and rise of Puranic theology, Initiated by
some corrupt Brahmins and Brahminical institutions who colluded to maintain their
superiority and dominance in the social system and to further secure it for their
future generations. To support this various mythical scriptures were written in the
form of Puranas and Smritis.

These Puranas and Smritis were Influenced by Dominating Elite class, Religious
Sects and Cults, Local folklore's and Legends.

New Deities were created with a mythical stories to promote their policy of
dominance and schemetically degrading of the Vedic Gods again with the help
mythical stories as they are threat to their ploy and existence.

Various corrupt social practices came to existence like Casteism, Superstition,

Rituals, Changes in cultural Norms, Customs and Traditions.

In the beginning, the indian caste system was based on occupation and for easy
administration. But later on, people started following the caste system mainly for
the benefits that one can get by using the name of their caste.

Traditionally the people from higher castes(kings,etc.) were given more benefits
than the people in the lower castes. Later when the government was set up, it gave
benefits to the traditioanlly discriminated groups in two ways:

1. Weak preferential treatment- This gives the people of the traditionally

discriminated group an advantage over equally qualified memebers of the other

2. Strong preferential treatment- This gives the people of the traditionally

discriminated group an advantage over more qualified memebers of the other groups

The caste problem wont be over until all these preferential treatments are stopped.
But if that happens, many of the politcians and people in power will lose their
positions because they all have used this preferential system to acquire their
power. So they will try their best to keep this system going.

1. As Hindu belief goes there were 8400000 total species ( yonis) from which souls
could take birth.

2. You start your journey from the lowest level in terms of intelligence and body
size, gain experience and ascend upward s.

3. When you reach the stage where you are human. God decide to teach 4 ways of

4. First he puts you in shudra form. You have to learn different Kala or skills
like artist, musician, artisan, dancing, craftsman. This is your part of cultural

5. Then you come to be known as vaishyas. The people related to business and sex.
God teaches you how to earn money in abundance.

6. Then you become Kshatriya. The warrior and king. You now have skills and know
the art to earn money. It is your time to start defending dharma with artha or
money. Money must be used now as protector of dharma.

7 Now you become bhramin. You know how to protect dharma.It is time to preserve and
maintain it, preach and spread it.Nullify a dharma and seek for higher realms.

8. You now become vairaggi ( sadhu and sanyaasi), who now has to transcend back to
god and regain the soul form of knowledge like god, and introspect all his previous

This is the original message of varna system, which is given by spiritually

realized and god, which is distorted as human creation. The varnas are different
stages of human advancement towards realizing god as human is the best form to do
that. But it is true that some times you transcend even before being human.

1)Yes,it is a social system,which ensures to identify the man based on the identity
of his family occupation.
2)But,as per hindu sashtra one can not change their occupation. If it is changed,it
is considered crime, and the person envicted for penelisation as per manu smurati.
3) now a days, person can change his occupation,due to the implementation of modern
constituion of india. But his old identity, based on their forefather occupation
remains intact,this identity is caste.
4)based on caste identity those who belongs to service profession,they are
restricted to study and they are discriminated based on their caste.
5)here,inter caste marrieges are not allowed as per hindu scriptures.they are
considered varna-sankar.means intermingling of race.

According to Hindu mythology, there were originally four major castes based on the
body parts of Purusha, mankind�s original father-figure. The hymns of the Rig-Veda

�When they divided Purusha how many portions did they make?

What do they call his mouth, his arms? What do they call his thighs and feet?

The Brahman [the highest caste] was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rajanya

His thighs became the Vaisya, from his feet the Sudra was produced.�

Thus, the priestly Brahmans, the highest caste, were supposed to have originated
from Purusha�s mouth, his highest part. The governing, or warrior, class (Kshatriya
or Rajanya) came from his arms. The merchant and farmer class, called the Vaisya,
or Vaishya, originated from his thighs. A lower caste, the Sudra, or Shudra, or
laborer class, resulted from the lowest part of the body, his feet.

Over the centuries even lower castes came into existence, the outcastes and the
Untouchables, or as Mahatma Gandhi called them more kindly, the Harijans, or
�persons belonging to the god Vishnu.� Although untouchability has been illegal in
India since 1948, the Untouchables still have a very hard existence.

In the course of time, the castes multiplied to match just about every profession
and artisanship in Indian society. This ancient caste system, which keeps everyone
in his or her social place, is in reality also racial and �includes distinct racial
types varying from what is known as the [light-skinned] Aryan to the [darker-
skinned] pre-Dravidian stocks.� Varna, or caste, means �color.� �The first three
castes were Aryans, the fairest people; the fourth caste, that comprising the dark-
skinned aborigines, was non-Aryan.� (Myths and Legends Series�India, by Donald A.
Mackenzie) It is a fact of India�s life that the caste system, fortified by the
religious teaching of Karma, has millions of people locked into perpetual poverty
and injustice.

Why is the world so obsessed with India�s caste system?

There is an obsessive tendency to project the caste system as a form of social

exclusivism found only in India. Clearly, not enough attention is being directed to
the history of social hierarchies and exclusions in the western world, nor is the
peculiar development of India�s social stratification under British colonialism
being fully apprec.

The lines of caste became more rigid on account of various factors such as foreign
invasions and the British policy of �divide and rule�. Until the British carried
out a wide-ranging survey from 1881 to list down various surnames into separate
castes, most Indians were not aware of the placing of various castes. Typically,
some family names were affiliated with a particular caste in one village and with a
different caste in another village. Suddenly, hard lines of division were drawn
with the survey. The sense of caste identity emphasized by the British which was
aimed at preventing natives from uniting and resisting foreign occupation created
deep schisms within Indian society. The placing of several scheduled castes and
tribes into criminal categories by the British also caused the hardening of the
caste lines with disastrous consequences for free India. Funnily, even as the class
and caste practicing British codified the Indian castes, they did not allow English
women to marry Indian men, while they had no qualms in taking on Indian women as

It must be remembered that the stigmatising and hardening of India�s loosely-

structured, occupation-based jaati system was a part of the strategy of the
Christian missionaries. When Governor-General John Shore became a member of the
evangelical Clapham Sect, missionary activity in India increased substantially.
Hindus were declared to be the �most enslaved portion of the human race� on account
of their superstitious religion. William Wilberforce, the anti-slavery champion who
was also a member of the Clapham Sect declared in the House of Commons in 1813 that
emancipating Hindus from their religion was as much the sacred duty of every
Christian as emancipating Africans from slavery.

No country in the world is free from inequalities. A constant human endeavour for
more money and more power ensures that. A discriminatory system has been
widespread, whether it worked against non-Christians, non-Muslims, blacks,
homosexuals, women, AIDS patients or lepers. The racism that was historically
prevalent in western societies and continues in various forms today is also a kind
of pernicious caste system. The holocaust has been blamed on Nazism and anti-
Semitism, but few have noticed the caste system in which it was embedded Even the
United Nations Security Council has its own caste system with just five permanent
members, which have veto powers. The graduates from Ivy League universities and
members of exclusive clubs enjoy their own caste privileges.

It can be argued that India has put together the world�s biggest affirmative action
plan called �Reservations� to help the historically disadvantaged castes. With
reserved slots in government schools and colleges, positions in government services
and seats in electoral constituencies, there has been a massive effort to be
inclusive. Whether the effort has yielded results or has resulted in a �reverse
caste system� is something that needs to be examined.

The modern stratification of caste-identity in India and its bizarre expressions is

an outcome of the institutionalized policies of the British and Indian governments
abetted by the Marxists and minorities, as well as poverty and lack of
opportunities for growth. It is not due to any imagined perversity of the original
classification of society in Hindu traditions.

It is high time the world and Indians themselves stopped typecasting India as the
land of the caste system and made an effort to understand its beginnings as well as
the socio-economic hierarchies in every part of the globe. Having been the subject
of sociological and anthropological studies of the western researchers for so long,
the Indians have begun to believe that like laboratory specimens, their place is
under the microscope. It is time to reverse the lenses. There is a whole world
outside India waiting to be examined and understood from an Indian perspective.

After few 100 years their will be castes like

-Team Lead

I think in similar way the castes system evolved though it's significance is
manipulated by the people for their own
In rural areas people tries to be Brahmins to get worthless respect from others and
in urban areas people tries to be of lower caste to get reservations.

Dwapar Yuga i.e the one in which Mahabharata happened was the beginning of the
Varna system gradually turning into caste system,for instance the injustice and
humiliation Karna and Eklavya faced.

Satya yuga i.e during Lord Rama's rule,there was an interesting system in which you
got your caste according to your merit in Gurukul.And that's the reason we see
'some' Bramhins even nowadays speaking ill of Lord Rama.Because even Raavan was a

Now as Kalayuga started and is reaching it's peak this caste system is becoming
more and more concrete and our dear politicians are using it for their vote banks
by spreading hate for other castes,or by providing reservations for some castes.
I really doubt whether the concept of VARN is correctly understood. People always
consider caste or religion and sometimes equates this to VARN. Other someone
equates this to the work done by person. NO! VARN is different. Every person is
separate individual. Caste (jaati) is some thing which got documented and declared
which may not correct. You would always surprised to see someone documented shudra
but clever , documented as kshatriya but timid, documented as vaishya but not in
business , documented as brahman but not so clever. This uniqueness of a person can
be proved by VARN which is present in your 'Janmkundali'. Because a documented
(caste) shudra could be of a Brahman varn and vise varsa. So caste terminology is
not correct. And this 'varn' terminology need not to be considered as measure of
superiority or inferiority, but for self realisation, and progress of life as
individual and of society and to create win-win situation. Because the important 4
are equally important for all - dharma, artha, kaam and moksha. Hence varn need to
be considered and not some documented category. At the max caste can be considered
as workstream. That's why earlier there were 'Gurukuls' where pupils had to serve
ashram and learn without considering any workstream concept. Later this
documentation got introduced due to wrong belief that son of king as next king &
gurukuls vanished. And now a days there are hell lot of workstreams aka castes with
lot of differences like veg-nonveg n general lifestyle. And there is a war
happening with aggressive marketing and senseless publicity for respective
workstreams. Hence reservations came for so called minorities to show foolist
things as correct ones.
When the varn is identified as in your Janmkundali, all things would get answered
and you will get answers of many chaotic questions in the life. So next time when
you come across to some contradiction, try to get the info of varn from
janmkundali. Of course other factors are there to interfere but this is main. :)
Do you know concept of blood group? So there are different groups. A family may
have ppl with diff blood groups. None is considered superior or inferior to other
and I never seen any incident of burning the book of blood analysis or unnecessary
tension. VARN is similar. Let's see how many generations it will take to understand
this simple thing.

In Maharashtra castes are based on the people's profession

People was living near mountain meru so they were called as meruhatthe
it is transformed into maratha

After that they started identifying each other by their profession like

profession caste

gold(sona) sonar
flowers and gardening mali
iron(loha) related works lohar
cloth stitching shinpi
Mud pots kumbhar
kshatriya and saviors Maratha

and so on...

the arrival of caste system as we know it today had happened with the avent of
brahminism .
the dharmic religion was bending towards the budhist and jain doctrines away from
the structure where the brahmins held power over the society .
this caused major concerns to the brahmin oligarchy . they started to use their
influence to aid the brahministic kings against the non brahministic ones .
the shivite vaishnavite conflict helped them spread their influence through proxi
wars against jain kings

as for the caste system , the misinterpretation of the varna system was used as an
excuse for the oligarchy to strengthen its power-base

this spread of castism reduced the strength of the indian society which played
right into the hands of the oligarchy . the era of the puppet kings began .
this finally caused the destruction of the subcontinent in the form of lack of
unity within our society when barbarians began to invade our lands

It didn't - it's just tribalism, and somehow during British rule the english word
"caste" was applied to it. Many status-conscious Indians love to ape others and
adopt words coined by them. When India's film industry grew, we wanted to call it
"Bollywood" in order to imitate the famous Hollywood film industry. During British
rule, we wanted to ape our British masters in every way, so that when they boasted
of their feudal system we then tried to boast of our "caste system" -- really just
petty tribalism dressed up with a fancy phrase. The British have since left, and we
are left with the folly of our imitative adopted phrases, which we're too
complacent to challenge, and which have in the meantime been co-opted for class
warfare purposes.

Caste system started as an occupational indicator in ancient India (pre-vedic

times) and became rigid with time.
Yes, of course it is holding India back - before independence discrimination and
ill-treatment of the so-called lower castes ensured that they did not get
opportunities needed for progress. Now after 1947, extreme affirmative action in
the form of reservations are blocking the deserving from opportunities.

I agree with Shubhankar, that cast system should be benefit for the society but now
a days cast system in India is only used to take advantage of reservation.

Bhagwad Gita wanted Varna System but Brahmins made into a caste system in order to
consolidate their position in Varna system, they misused their position and caste
system became a part of our hindu culture.
it should be abolished just like Untouchability by out Constitution;Article 17A
should be proposed to do this.Hope Modi does it as soon as possible
I didn't read that best seller but I posses some idea about the development of the
caste system.. What I believe is that like today there are professors, politicians,
administrative officers, business men, clerks and other lower category workers are
there, the caste system was no different than that.. You will find in most of the
cases doctor's son will become doctor, professor's son also becomes professor, this
way for some generation Brahmans became brahmans which is nothing but a higher post
like professor or minister.. later some people started this as a caste system for
their own benefit..