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Page history last edited by Yashas Vaidya 9 years, 4 months ago



Climbing up the ladder


by Yashas Vaidya and James Huang GB49


A look at how the Indian caste system has changed over time.  



Get to know the caste system. (Section 1) 


Historically, the caste system has existed in India for quite a long period of time. The caste system is a way for Indians to seperate certain civilians in society, seperated into five social groups shown below.  For centuries, Indian society has been segregated by the caste system. The former caste system diminished over the 20th century. It can be summarized by the following picture:



  (Captions: Shown on the left is a pyramid of the five Indian social groups. Notice how the untouchables are seperated

                                                                from the pyramid, because they were so low class that they weren't even recognized as a social group. )


The caste system has remained like the following for centuries:

Below each caste name is a voki describing their lives.


Brahman- This was the priestly class, the highest class of the system. The most well respected and honorable class. (Click play on the voki shown below)



Kshatriya- This was the noble class, in which resided the kings, Warriors, and other people of that nature (Click play on the voki shown below)



Vaishya- Merchant class. Similar to the middle class in the US. Looked down upon by Brahmins, but were not considered low class. (Click play on voki shown below)



Sudra- Peasant class. They had limited rights in Indian society. (Click play on voki shown below)



Untouchable- Looked down upon so much that people from this group had to tap two sticks to warn others of their presence. They had no

rights in Indian society, and were poor. They were destined for manual labor work, if they even found a job. Untouchables weren't allowed to handle or

food meant to be eaten by people of higher caste. (Click play on voki shown below)





Introduction Paragraph (Section 2)

For long periods of time, Indian caste system has remained exactly the same shown above. Each caste was distinguished, and people were born into their caste,

unable to move up. The caste system today is now officially banned by the government of India. Yashas and I chose the caste system as our topic because

its influence on Indian society is substantial. Also, the changes that it has experienced in the last 100 years is immense! How could something so traditional lasting for a millenium suddenly be destroyed in the last 100 years, if not, less? Is the caste system really banned, or does it still somewhat exist in India? Time to find out.


Differences from Traditional and Modern


The differences in modern day caste system and traditional caste system is great. First of all, in traditional and olden days, the caste system was practiced in ALL areas of India. However, now, the caste system is more strict in rural areas, where middle class people pick on the dalits, also known as the untouchables. This is against

the Indian Constitution, formed more than 50 years ago. Urban areas, such as Bombay (Mumbai), New Delhi, and Kolkata, the caste system is not as strict. People can easily see one person in a higher class mingling with another person in a lower one. Everyone is equal in the urban areas, but untouchables are unable to reach the big cities since they simply are not wealthy enough. Therefore, many untouchables are trapped in rural areas, left to be picked on by higher classes.


Traditional Indian caste is shown in section 1, however, the caste system in India during British imperialism is different. The British divided the Indians into two groups, the Jats (Varnas) and the tribes. The Jats were the higher class of Indian society, and were more favored by the British. This included rich entrepreneurs, military men, wealthy merchants, and more. The tribes included those who lived deep in the jungle, with little to no communication with the British. Tribes were the lower class, including the untouchables as well as those who made a living from robbery and scamming. As you can see, during British rule (relatively modern), there were only two main groups to distinguish Indian society. However, traditional uses five distinct ones to define the social status of an individual.


Similarities from Traditional and Modern


Despite the relatively recent abolishment of the caste system, strong feelings towards a persons social group is still present. Grandparents pass down their caste to their children, and onto the next generation, and so on. Even though the caste system is illegal, people still have strong connections and emotions on their social class.

The caste system, lasting for centuries, has not completely dissolved in the recent 50 to 70 years. Today, when someone from a brahmin class sees an untouchable, they act the same way as their ancestors would. The brahmin looks down and pities the untouchable. Thoughts on the caste system has not completely been wiped out, even though the cities no longer practice it. It would still take a lot of time for each individual in India to be FULLY looked upon as equal. In conclusion, certain thoughts and actions that people today have towards lower classes is the same as their ancestors.





Photo Gallery



URL: http://notmytribe.com/2008/gandhi-and-indias-untouchables-83597.html


Captions: Above are two untouchables in modern India. As you can see, their job is demeaning, and requires no skill. They are poor

and weak, skinny as well. The clothes they have are unwanted from other Indian people, or they are donated. Many

starve to death and do not even have a home. This is similar to what an untouchable (dalit) would look like in traditional times. This shows

a tug-of-war because untouchables are now being helped more than they have been in the past, showing a great difference.




URL: http://www.textually.org/textually/archives/2007/02/015032.htm


Captions: Here is a photo of modern India. As you can see, nobody seems to care about castes at all. Everyone just

mingles with each other and treats one another as a worker. This shows a major difference in modern and traditional caste

system. This shows a tug-of-war between traditional and modern cultures, because some of them still practice the caste

system yet modernization tries to prevent it, causing conflicts.




                                                                                  Untouchables in India: Traditional vs. Modern




URLS: http://www.art.com/products/p13050120-sa-i2291198/tony-waltham-untouchables-harijan-in-shanty-hovels-alongside-river-in-town-centre-coonor-tamil-nadu-india.htm http://www.art.com/products/p13050120-sa-i2291198/tony-waltham-untouchables-harijan-in-shanty-hovels-alongside-river-in-town-centre-coonor-tamil-nadu-india.htm                                                                     

Captions: Above shows traditional untouchables, living in their run down               Captions: Above shows untouchables in the urban cities of modern India,

shacks. They live close together and are so poor that their houses                        living well. The rules on the caste system are not nearly as strict as it was

are made of hay. They are not given a chance to thrive in Indian society.               back then.






Mock Dialogue (Section 3) Read it, Its pretty decent.



Saagar (Sudra) (traditional)

Dharin (Sudra) (Modern)

Temal (Brahmin)(modern)

Raj Mukundar (kshartiya)(traditional)

Sujay ( Vaisya)(modern)

Farhad (Vaishya)(Traditional)

Kratas (Untouchable)(Modern)



Saagar (Sudra) (traditional) Hey! I think I remember you. Your an Sudra, just as me! Why are you wearing such fine clothes?


Dharin (Sudra) (Modern) Maybe if you left the rural area of India, you might be able to find opportunities in the urban cities.

The caste system isn't as strict as it was in the past...


Temal (Brahmin)(modern) Yeah dawg, they don't make teh rules like teh used to.


Raj Mukundar (kshartiya)(traditional) Excuse me? You are a Brahmin, the most important caste person, how can you act like this?!?


Farhad (Vaishya)(Traditional) Really, so I don't have to work for Raj Mukundar anymore?



Raj Mukundar (kshartiya)(traditional) What, the disgrace!! Bow down to me now!


Farhad (Vaishya)(Traditional) Okay, okay, I'm sorry (bows down)


Saagar (Sudra) (traditional) So, anyway, how has the caste system changed then?


Dharin (Sudra) (Modern) Well, the system hasn't really changed, but it has diminished.


Temal (Brahmin)(modern) Yeah dawg! Evar since the change, we Indian have started to like come together dawg!


Saagar (Sudra) (traditional) I don't understand what you mean by dog.


Sujay ( Vaisya)(modern) Wuddup my dawg Temal!


Saagar (Sudra) (traditional) Again with the dog!


Raj Mukundar (kshartiya)(traditional) Obviously they are bitter enemies, and they are insulting each other dogs to insult each other.


Temal (Brahmin)(modern) Naw dawg, me an' Sujay are like brothers.


Farhad (Vaishya)(Traditional) So you two have the same parents?


Dharin (Sudra) (Modern) No, that is simply a saying that we have.


Sujay ( Vaisya)(modern) Yeah dawg, an we don' say dog dawg, Dawg is like brother man!


Farhad (Vaishya)(Traditional) Whaa...?


Raj Mukundar (kshartiya)(traditional) I understand now, the sayings that they have modernized, and the caste system have complied into a complete family of brothers and sisters


Temal (Brahmin)(modern)Sure, why not?


Saagar (Sudra) (traditional) So then what happened to the caste system


Dharin (Sudra) (Modern) As I said before, the system got mixed and all came together.


Farhad (Vaishya)(Traditional) So what happened to tradition?


Sujay ( Vaisya)(modern) We still practice it, just not that only Brahmins are allowed to study so much.


Raj Mukundar (kshartiya)(traditional) That sounds nice, i might stay now.


Kratas (Untouchable)(Modern) Hey guys!


Sujay ( Vaisya)(modern) AHHHH!!! Run away!!


Farhad (Vaishya)(Traditional) Shield yourself!!! Run!!!


Raj Mukundar (kshartiya)(traditional) I no longer wish to stay!!! I must leave!!!


Saagar (Sudra) (traditional) I must leave this place!!!


Dharin (Sudra) (Modern) Such a horrible presence!!!!!


Temal (Brahmin)(modern) Filth!!!! AHHHHH!!!


Kratas (Untouchable)(Modern) Well, the system hasn't changed that much...


                                                                                                              Works Cited


Aharon, Daniel. "Caste System in Modern India." Pezarkar's Info Site. Adaniel's Info Site. 2005. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://adaniel.tripod.com/modernindia.htm>.


Mayell, Hillary. "India's "Untouchables" Face Violence, Discrimination." Daily Nature and Science News and Headlines | National Geographic News. June-July 2003. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/06/0602_030602_untouchables.html>


Szczepanski, Kallie. "History of the Caste System in India." Asian History - History of Asia. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://asianhistory.about.com/od/india/p/indiancastesystem.htm>.


Comments (7)

Yashas Vaidya said

at 1:24 pm on May 6, 2011

I created a page!!! =)

Thano said

at 9:51 pm on May 10, 2011

Nice job James, see you have worked on the wiki a lot tonight. Btw, finally finished my math project. LOL, took forever

Yashas Vaidya said

at 10:25 pm on May 10, 2011

James, the other vokis should be up by tomorrow, for whatever reason, my computer isn't letting them upload

Yashas Vaidya said

at 2:59 pm on May 11, 2011

They're on there

James Huang said

at 8:34 pm on May 11, 2011

nice job yashas

tmrw during class we gotta work on the mock dialogue as well as the works cited

Yashas Vaidya said

at 8:48 pm on May 11, 2011

Thanks James, and you did really well yourself. So we're basically finished now.

Yashas Vaidya said

at 2:06 pm on May 12, 2011


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