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Page history last edited by Hannah Drake 9 years, 2 months ago



The Ladder to the Modern World


Hannah D. and Sarah H. A2




  • Modern vs. Traditional: The Caste System

     The original Caste System  that developed in the 13th century B.C. consisted of five castes.   The highest caste was the Brahmins (or priestly caste), the second caste was the Kshatriya (or the warriors), the third caste is Vaisya (or commoners/merchants), the fourth caste was the Sudras (or peasants, artisans and manual laborers) and the fifth caste was the Pariahs (or untouchables).  The majority of Hindus were the Sudras, who had few and limited rights. In the Hindu religion, through Samsara (the cycle of birth, death and rebirth) it is believed through having good Karma one could make their way up the Caste System in hopes of receiving Moksha (the release from Samsara).




The picture on the left shows in a pyamid the levels of the traditional caste system, the Brahmin being at the top and the Untouchables at the bottom.  The picture on the right depicts the five levels through a charater, working from left to right, highest to lowest.




  As India has developed it has become more modernized, and in turn with the new and old culture coming together, the caste system has changed.  Even though inequality has been illegal since the Constitution of India was created in around 1954 (India gained independence from Britain), this inequality deeply rooted part of Indian society is still somewhat present.  For instance, originally one could only move up the castes through Samsara, and you were forced to follow the careers of your caste. Recently through higher education the people of the lower caste have had some opportunity to rise above, and the government, in order to make this possible, has had colleges reserve over 50% of enrollment specifically for lower castes.  But this action is controversial because now it is discriminating against the upper class and many upper class, and those who fall into neither category, have protested it. Government jobs and university spots have been the only major things the government has done to address the discrimination of the caste system while it prevents India from modernizing, and riding themselves of poverty.   As the new and old culture met, a push for the caste system made mostly by traditional Brahmins, is rebuked with the push against it, made by members of the lower and middle castes.

Members who are not of the lower caste in Gurgaon, India violently protest in order to try bringing attention to the the discrimination towards those not in the higher class or the lower class, but in the middle. They protest in hopes of eventually gaining the high level of education, and pay the higher classes currently receives, and the lower class's government given opportunities.


Above, hundreds of lower class's members protest for the rights they have been waiting to receive since their independence from Britain.





 Sergei-Untouchable(member of the lowest caste) 


                                                Pavel-Sudras (member of the middle/lower caste)   Evgraf-Brahmin (member of the highest caste)


Sergei, Pavel, and Evgraf Conversation about the Caste System and it's affect on society:


  • Sergei- Recently in the pasts years the Indian government has began setting aside educational opportunities and government positions for the people of my caste, in order to create equality between the different castes.
  • Evgraf- Unfortunately,for my caste the Brahmins, this system creates, in my opinion, a great amount of disorder and unbalance between the classes. We are Brahmin by right, and by the Hindu religion, and this educational foolishness should be demolished at once, Sergei!!!  
  • Pavel- I must disagree with both of you, since neither system gives equal rights to all the castes.  The Sudras are not given the new educational rights and places in society due to the fact they are not considered part of the lowest class. My people have an even greater disadvantage in society, because of our place in the caste system, and the lack of concern for our rights.
  • Evgraf-  Although your predicament is unfortunate, you were placed there due to your actions in your past life.  Instead
  • of fighting the caste system and in turn, the Hindu religion, you should accept your  place in society, do the jobs fit for your caste and then maybe in the next life you can move up through Samsara.
  • Sergei-That statement was really very uncalled for from you Evgraf, to flaunt your place in society to those of a lower rank trying to move up is plain rude.  I agree with Pavel that the government should work more with creating an equal societal standard between all the castes instead of just focusing on the lowest and the highest castes.
  • Pavel-  Thank you Sergei, my people are trying to send this message to the government through violent protests, although we have not been successful so far, we are still working hard at our goal.
  • Evgraf-  My apologies to you both, I see your points now, and shall try to work in favor of equality, and diminishing the brakes between the castes.



Work Cited


Briefing: Dalits." Herald [Glasgow, Scotland] 31 May 2004: 13. Global Issues In Context. Web. 13 May 2011.
Shattuck, Kathryn. "What's On Tonight.(Metropolitan Desk)." New York Times 21 Oct. 2007: A36(L). Global Issues In Context. Web. 13 May 2011.
"In India, education helps overcome caste system." Yomiuri Shimbun [Toyko, Japan] 5 Mar. 2007. Global Issues In Context. Web. 13 May 2011.
"Thousands riot in Delhi streets over the right to be 'untouchable'." New Zealand Herald [Auckland, New Zealand] 31 May 2008: 12. Global Issues In Context. Web. 13 May 2011.
Nelson, Dean. "Deep divisions As India becomes more modern, caste system is stuck in time." Daily Telegraph [London, England] 18 Mar. 2009. Global Issues In Context. Web. 13 May 2011.

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