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Post Options Post Options   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Indian caste system
    Posted: 10-Mar-2009 at 11:36
To the Indian forum members....

Could anyone give me a brief summary of the distinct castes of Hinduism, and what the social implications are in modern-day Indian society?

Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jallaludin Akbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2009 at 21:15
There are hundreds of castes in india, and if you want to get even more specific, there are Hindu castes, Muslim castes etc. in India a person's caste, or "jati" is often ancestral and depends on a persons profession. for example, during the 'premodern' days (or even now in certain areas) a persons jati is passed from generation to generation, ex. the son of a cobbler is expected to become a cobbler himself-therefore limiting what you can become, which is why the government outlawed it in favor of secular democratic principles.

However in Hinduism, these castes often fit into 5 major categories:

Brahman 
These were the priests of Indian/Hindu society, they conducted holy rituals, were expected to stay vegetarian, and were at the top of hindu heirarchy. 

Kshatriya
These were the rulers, warriprs, and nobles of hindu society. they were permitted to eat meat (not from cows since they are considered holy). khatriyas are second in ranking to the brahmans.

Vaishya
They are the merchants/business owners. Vaishyas come third.

Shudra
They are workers, farmers and artisans in hindu society. Shudras are the most numerous of hindu jatis and are fourth.

Harijan
Otherwise known as 'untouchables', they are often looked down upon and occupy positions that are percepted as lowly by other hindus. the harijan is and was always the most impoverished jati with generations often discriminated against while being seen as beggers. Although the Indian government has outlawed the caste system, this discrimination runs rampant throughout the nation. 

I am (or was) a descendent of the Kshatriya caste (khatri to be specific) but seeing as it was an unfair sytem created to "keep society in its place", i feel its better to shun this class-based discrimination and contribute to the progression of religious equality. Wink





Edited by Jallaludin Akbar - 10-Mar-2009 at 21:18
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Post Options Post Options   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2009 at 22:52
I am (or was) a descendent of the Kshatriya caste (khatri to be specific) but seeing as it was an unfair sytem created to "keep society in its place", i feel its better to shun this class-based discrimination and contribute to the progression of religious equality

That I can respect - you sound very evolved and progressive. I know there are stories of a mass conversion of the dalits or untouchables to Christianity but I do not know much about that. Do you? Anything that will give them more freedom and equality.

My Greek family because they remained Orthodox Christians had to pay the so-called protection and live under dhimmi status until the Greek revolution. (Please do not splinter off to this) I am only saying this because my Greek ancestors were basically in a religious caste not equal with the Ottoman Muslims. They were also called people of the book; Christians, Jews, Sabians and Zoroastrians. Hindus were classified as pagans.

It is good to live in the land of the free!!
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jallaludin Akbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Mar-2009 at 01:00
That I can respect - you sound very evolved and progressive. I know there are stories of a mass conversion of the dalits or untouchables to Christianity but I do not know much about that. Do you? Anything that will give them more freedom and equality.

Yea, the first time I heard of this was during the India Day parade (August 15, date of independence) in New York City-the parade was going on and was very festive w/good food and everything but all of a sudden, many people came with banners protesting the conversions of Dalits into Christians the police hurried them up and the music continued playing afterwards.

Then i searched it and it was true..particularly in south indian states like Kerala, or also in east india. I read that as a result of the conversions, local hindus lashed back by burning churches and killing priests. Hindus call the Christians Imperialists, while Christians say they are disupring their freedom of religion. I also heard that christian priests get paid for however many people they convert so who's the good guy in this? There isn't one.

To tell the truth, hinduism is a peaceful religion and so is christianity, its the extremists that aren't really doing it for religion, they are mearly fighting for personal gains. There's the fact that you can't force anyone into following your ideals. As far as I know,such retaliations are unesessary-you win people over with love and equality, hence, the faults of the caste system.

It is good to live in the land of the free!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dolphin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Mar-2009 at 01:29
Eaglecap - evolved? Very strange choice of word, are others not evolved?
Am not I Dametas? Why, am not I Dametas?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Mar-2009 at 07:41
Originally posted by Jallaludin Akbar



However in Hinduism, these castes often fit into 5 major categories:

Brahman 
These were the priests of Indian/Hindu society, they conducted holy rituals, were expected to stay vegetarian, and were at the top of hindu heirarchy. 

Kshatriya
These were the rulers, warriprs, and nobles of hindu society. they were permitted to eat meat (not from cows since they are considered holy). khatriyas are second in ranking to the brahmans.

Vaishya
They are the merchants/business owners. Vaishyas come third.

Shudra
They are workers, farmers and artisans in hindu society. Shudras are the most numerous of hindu jatis and are fourth.

Harijan
Otherwise known as 'untouchables', they are often looked down upon and occupy positions that are percepted as lowly by other hindus. the harijan is and was always the most impoverished jati with generations often discriminated against while being seen as beggers. Although the Indian government has outlawed the caste system, this discrimination runs rampant throughout the nation.



Thanks for the summary. How much do these ancestral castes correspond with modern professions?
Are there many examples of descendants of "Harijan" and "Shudra" who had studied at university and made it to the upper-middle classes?

Could a rich "Harijan" integrate easily into higher society? Or would he face rampant discrimination just because of his low caste?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Azat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2009 at 14:53
Originally posted by Jallaludin Akbar


I am (or was) a descendent of the Kshatriya caste (khatri to be specific) but seeing as it was an unfair sytem created to "keep society in its place", i feel its better to shun this class-based discrimination and contribute to the progression of religious equality. Wink
 
 
LOLLOLLOL
 
Sorry ,my friend Khatri or bhappe has nothing to do with warrior Kashtriya communities.
 
They are simply decendants of Indogreeks as indicated by their genetic samples.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Azat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2009 at 15:14
Originally posted by calvo

Thanks for the summary. How much do these ancestral castes correspond with modern professions?
Are there many examples of descendants of "Harijan" and "Shudra" who had studied at university and made it to the upper-middle classes?

Could a rich "Harijan" integrate easily into higher society? Or would he face rampant discrimination just because of his low caste?

 
 
Events have taken a U turn now.
 
and Brahmans are now cajoling same Harijans to get favor.
 
Main slogan of a political party of Brahmans and Harijans is ,,,,
 
''Brahman sankh bajayega Hathi badata jayega'' meaning
 
May  Harijan win Brahmans will blow trumpets for him.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jallaludin Akbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2009 at 20:59
LOLLOLLOL
 
Sorry ,my friend Khatri or bhappe has nothing to do with warrior Kashtriya communities.
 
They are simply decendants of Indogreeks as indicated by their genetic samples.

interesting...please provide a source, i'll look into it.

I also have a another thread about khatris, feel free to reply:


Edited by Jallaludin Akbar - 19-Mar-2009 at 21:01
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Azat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2009 at 02:27
Khatris are basically businessman class not a martial community and that is an open secret for any one from this part of continent, so they belong to    Vaishaya group  not kashtriya .
 
Britishers have written about them in cast and tribes of Northwestern India and you can read that to know more about Martial and non martial casts .
 
Regarding Indo Greeks ancestry we can discuss in relevant thread .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2009 at 08:20
How do other religious groups, such as Muslims and Sikhs, fit into the Indian caste society?
I mean do Hindus regard them as "superior", "inferior", or "outsiders" compared to their castes?

For example, would a typical "Khatris" see a Sikh as someone superior or inferior to an "untouchable", although he is of a different religion?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2009 at 15:43
Originally posted by Jallaludin Akbar

I read that as a result of the conversions, local hindus lashed back by burning churches and killing priests. Hindus call the Christians Imperialists, while Christians say they are disupring their freedom of religion.
The violence was in Orissa state and is complex. Some of the factors are:
 
- Hindu religious militancy: Like militants of any religion, Hindu militants need a "them" to oppose. In this case, recent converts who are poor and uneducated are easy targets and make a perfect "them" to attack. 
-Christian (and some Buddhist) conversion efforts: Evangelical Churches are growing in India and actively seek converts. Some of their conversion efforts are in poor taste.
- Tribal land disputes: Indian government has allocated land to indigenous tribes. But... who is or is not an indigenous person?, Are there tribal religions?, Can conversion cause one to gain or lose tribal status and thus access to land?
- Economic aspects:  Secular local elites  are used to "dirty" people doing dirty jobs dirt cheap.  These people need the traditional economic arrangements to continue. They have nothing against Christianity untill...Christian converts start to cause "problems" by refusing certain employment etc. .  
Originally posted by Jallaludin Akbar

I also heard that christian priests get paid for however many people they convert so who's the good guy in this? There isn't one.
In all probability, this is propaganda by Hindu militants who refuse to accept that there is a genuine interest in Chrisitianity in the area. Ironically, Hindu activists seek converts as well from amnistic tribal groups.
 
 


Edited by Cryptic - 20-Mar-2009 at 15:58
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jallaludin Akbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2009 at 20:56
LOLLOLLOL
 
Sorry ,my friend Khatri or bhappe has nothing to do with warrior Kashtriya communities.
 
They are simply decendants of Indogreeks as indicated by their genetic samples.

Information from genetic samples state that Khatris are more reated to 'Jatts' and 'Tarkhans'. Khatris are descendents from Indo-Scythians, and share more haplotypes with German, Baltic, and Central Asian groups. Yes you're right, Khatris have European ineage, but as far as I know..not so much from Indo-Greeks.  
Khatris are basically businessman class not a martial community and that is an open secret for any one from this part of continent, so they belong to   Vaishaya group  not kashtriya .
 
Britishers have written about them in cast and tribes of Northwestern India and you can read that to know more about Martial and non martial casts .
 
Regarding Indo Greeks ancestry we can discuss in relevant thread .

There is a misconception that Kshatriyas must be warriors. As this is true in many cases, however, they can also hold positions as Civil/ Government officials, Nobility, and landowners. The word 'Ksatra' in Sanskrit in fact means "authority". The title 'Khatri' itself is somewhat of a general term. As a result of economic and political factors, many Khatris have established themselves as businessmen and engaged in mercantile occupations. Others remained as part of the Kshatriya caste. 
Originally posted by previous post

I am (or was) a descendent of the Kshatriya caste (khatri to be specific)
The Khatris that I've stated above in my previous posts were landowners.   
How do other religious groups, such as Muslims and Sikhs, fit into the Indian caste society?I mean do Hindus regard them as "superior", "inferior", or "outsiders" compared to their castes?

For example, would a typical "Khatris" see a Sikh as someone superior or inferior to an "untouchable", although he is of a different religion?

In Hindu caste society, Muslims and Sikhs are usually referred to as "Others". As part of my past experiences, i haven't really witnessed many occurences in which Hindus regard other religions as "Superior" or "Inferior". 

My relatives for example don't see Sikhs as inferior. They admire them very much (you also must understand that most Khatris are in fact Sikh). I have also witnessed that Khatris tend to look down upon 'untouchables' see Sikhs as superior to 'Harijan'. But of course, this is all based on personal experiences and opinions, so it would be nice to get another Khatri's view on this Wink. 


Edited by Jallaludin Akbar - 21-Mar-2009 at 20:57
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Post Options Post Options   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Mar-2009 at 15:04
In today's Indian society, which factor of social separation is greater:
- Hindus of different castes
- Hindus and non-Hindus.

At least before the separation of Pakistan and India, Muslims and Hindus generally got on pretty badly.
How's the relation between today's Indian Hindus and Indian Muslims?

Do lynching such as that in "Slumdog Millionaire" still occur?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rcscwc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2009 at 08:03
Originally posted by Dolphin

Eaglecap - evolved? Very strange choice of word, are others not evolved?
 
Yes, I too wondered. As if renouncing Hindu dharma is evolution. As if a Hindu is a primitive specie!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rcscwc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2009 at 08:23
Originally posted by calvo

To the Indian forum members....

Could anyone give me a brief summary of the distinct castes of Hinduism, and what the social implications are in modern-day Indian society?

Thanks
 
Hinduism is a Dharma, way of life. Dharma does not translate as religion, which is bound by dogma.
 
Castes started more as social stratification system due to the increased specialistion of civilised. There is a four fold divsion.
 
1. Brahmins. A class devoted to scholarly pursuits. Sure enough, they produced priests, but also produced philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers, physicians.
 
Factiod: Physicians, though from Brahmin class, were treated as untouchaeable on social plain. Today also a good physician shuns socialisation, as he is a potential carrier of infections.
 
2. Kshatriyas. They were rulers and general administrators. They devoted themselves to martial pursuits.
 
3. Vaisyas. They were the ones running commerial pursuits like trading and agriculture.
 
4. Shudras. They were the service class. Artisans etc came from that class.
 
All castes can be classified as one of these four.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rcscwc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2009 at 09:22
Originally posted by calvo

In today's Indian society, which factor of social separation is greater:
- Hindus of different castes
- Hindus and non-Hindus.
 
Hindus and non Hindus. But you can also see it as:
Muslims and non muslims
Christians  and non christians.
 
Islam and christianity are 100% exclusive, ans separation was due to them.


How's the relation between today's Indian Hindus and Indian Muslims?
They get along in most of the fields. After all, any non Hindu MUST have interaction with Hindus.
 
Muslims invite Hindus to their weddings. They defer to the Hindus' dietary considerations.

Do lynching such as that in "Slumdog Millionaire" still occur?
Are films a source of epitemology? Dis Jesus marry as per Da Vinci Code?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rcscwc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2009 at 09:24
Originally posted by calvo

How do other religious groups, such as Muslims and Sikhs, fit into the Indian caste society?
I mean do Hindus regard them as "superior", "inferior", or "outsiders" compared to their castes?

For example, would a typical "Khatris" see a Sikh as someone superior or inferior to an "untouchable", although he is of a different religion?
 
Muslims and Sikhs too have their caste systems. So do christians and the few thousand Jews.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2009 at 17:51
Originally posted by Dolphin

Eaglecap - evolved? Very strange choice of word, are others not evolved?


off topic but yes I have seen this in many people so I am not alone. I remember when I was in a community college a friend told me he thought I was more evolved than others- I laughed.

I am not sure if Priest get money to convert people which is really contrary to anything in Christianity but anything is possible. When you say Priests I assume you mean the Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox faiths. In the Prostestant faith you might say Pastor or Reverend.

If converting to another faith or political view would set the Dalits from their oppressed lives then I support that.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rcscwc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Apr-2009 at 05:35
Originally posted by eaglecap

Originally posted by Dolphin


I am not sure if Priest get money to convert people which is really contrary to anything in Christianity but anything is possible.
 
They do offer money and other monetary inducements. They must funds from somewhere to do it.
 
If all the conversion records are totalled up, India is already christianised. But xian population stagnates around 2.5 % for a century or so.
 
When you say Priests I assume you mean the Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox faiths. In the Prostestant faith you might say Pastor or Reverend.
 
To me tweedledee and tweedledum look alike.

[quote]If converting to another faith or political view would set the Dalits from their oppressed lives then I support that.
 
Had they felt that "oppressed" they would convert yesterday.
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