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The Caste System

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In ancient India, a social system was developed in order to divide people into a pattern of different classes. The system is called varn.a, or "color," where there are five different social levels. In English, this is known as a caste system. Within each level, there are sub castes that their people refer to as jâtis. These are subdivisions that make up the birth, life, or rank of people. Originating from Hinduism, this system has taken over the society of India. A person born into a class can never change or mix with other classes. People live, eat, and work with the other members of their group. The caste has been illegal in India for over 50 years, but still today continues to shape people’s lives. The different social levels are Brahmin, Kshatiya, Vaishya, Shudram and Harijans. The Brahmin is the class at the top of the system. They consisted of mainly priests, teachers, and judges. Peace, self harmony, righteousness, vision, wisdom, and faith are some of the characteristics of these people. They were the highest and the most important of all of the levels. The Kshatriyas were the people next after the Brahmins. They were the warriors of India. These people were said to have a heroic mind, inner fire, and courage. The Vaishya were mostly the merchants, but they also consisted of people involved in trade and agriculture. Everybody that did not fall under these categories was a separate class which, to most people, was separated from the system. People who had jobs involving any type of death or people who ate meat were apart of the Harijan class. The people of this class are better known as the “untouchables.” Untouchables weren’t able to enter temples, schools, or to use wells used by other castes. All jobs and habits of these people were considered to be “polluting activities.” Many untouchables were able to leave their social structure by…...

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