The Indian Caste System


Historical Background

After the Aryan invasion in 1500BC, people in India were  divided into very rigid social groups. These communities are known in  English as “castes.” The caste system originates from Hinduism, but  affects the entire Indian culture.

The caste system of India is without parallel anywhere else in the  world.  It is a division of society in which there are four castes arranged in a hierarchy.  


The Caste Levels

At the top of the caste are the Brahmans, who  are priests and educated people. After them are the Kshatria, who are  the rulers and aristocrats of society. The next level are the Vaisia who  are landlords and businessmen. And at the bottom of the caste are the  Sudras, who are the peasants and laborers.  

Below these castes are the  outcasts who are untouchable to the four castes. They work in degrading  jobs such as cleaning, sewage, etc.  Anyone who does not belong to one of these castes is an outcast, commonly referred to as “dalits.” 


Considered of Divine Origin

The caste system is believed to be of divine origin. To break this  system is considered to be a violation against God and His divine law.   The great distinctions of caste are to be maintained not only in this  earthly life, but also after death.

In India, the dalits, or “untouchables,” do not deserve a place in  heaven.  The division of the people into various castes is said to be  eternal so that no act in this earthly life is enough to make any change  in the caste or social order of a man, woman or child.Dalits are considered by upper class to be repulsive and subhuman.


Modern Day Racial Discrimination

The untouchability feature of the caste system is one of India’s cruelest features. It is seen by many as one of the strongest racial phenomenon in the world.