The caste system is a social evil that is present in Indian society since ancient times. It has been criticized immensely by the people over the years. However, it still has a stronghold on the social and political system of the country. A number of social evils have been prevalent in Indian society for centuries and the caste system is one of them. The concept has undergone certain changes over the centuries and is not as stringent as it was in earlier times. However, it still impacts the religious, social and political lives of the people in the country.
Long and Short Essay on Caste System in India
Essay 1 (250 words)
Caste System in India divides people into four different categories – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. It is believed that these groups came into being from Brahma, the Hindu God of creation. Priests, intellectuals, and teachers come under the category of Brahmins. They stand at the top of the hierarchy and it is believed that they came from Brahma’s head. Next in line are the Kshatriyas who are the rulers and warriors. These apparently came from God’s arms. Merchants, traders, and farmers come under the Vaishya category and are said to have come from His thighs and the labor class forms a part of the fourth category that is the Shudras – these are said to have come from Brahma’s feet.
Then there is yet another category which was added later on and is now known as the Dalits or the untouchables. These comprise of the street sweepers or cleaners. This category was considered to be outcasted.
These main categories are further divided into as many as 3,000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes, based on their occupation.
As per Manusmriti, the most significant book on the Hindu laws, the Varna system came into being to establish order and regularity in the society. The concept is said to be 3,000 years old and distinguishes people based on their dharma (duty) and karma (work).
The religious, as well as social life of the people in the country, has been influenced largely by the caste system for centuries and the trend continues today, with political parties misusing it for their own ends.
Essay 2 (300 words)
The caste system has been prevalent in our country since time immemorial and continues to have a stronghold on the society and political system. People have been divided into four different categories of class – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. Historically it is believed that this social system came into being in the country in around 1500 BC with the arrival of the Aryans. It is said that Aryans introduced this system in order to control the local population at that time. In order to make things systematic, they defined main roles and assigned them to groups of people. However, in the 20th century, this theory was dismissed as it was stated that Aryans never invaded the country.
As per Hindu theologians, it is said that this system came into being with the Hindu God Brahma who is known as the creator of the universe. As per this theory, the people who hold the highest stature in the society that is the priests and teachers came from Brahma’s head, the ones from the second category were the warriors who came from God’s arm, those belonging to the third category, that is, the traders and merchants came from God’s thighs and the peasants and workers, that is, those belonging to the lowest category came from Brahma’s feet.
The actual origin of the caste system is thus not known yet. Manusmriti, the most ancient text on Hinduism, however, has cited this system in 1,000 BC. In ancient times, the communities followed the class system stringently. While the people from the upper classes enjoyed several privileges, those from the lower class were deprived of many things and thus suffered immensely. Though not as stringent as in the earlier times, even today a lot of discrimination is done based on a person’s caste.
Essay 3 (400 words)
India has been under the clutches of the evil caste system since the ancient period though the exact origin of this system isn’t known as there are different theories that state different stories about its initiation. As per the Varna system, people were broadly divided into four different categories. Here is a look at the people who fall under each of these categories:
- Brahmins – Priests, Teachers, and Scholars
- Kshatriyas – Rulers and Warriors
- Vaishyas – Farmers, Merchants, and Traders
- Shudras – Labourers
The Varna system later got degenerated into a caste system. The society was divided into 3,000 castes and as many as 25,000 sub-castes based on the occupation of the community that a person was born into.
As per one theory, the Varna system initiated in the country as the Aryans arrived here in around 1500 BC. It is said that Aryans introduced this system to have control over people and make things work more systematically. They assigned different roles to different groups of people. As per the Hindu theologians, on the other hand, the system initiated with Brahma, the Hindu God who is known as the creator of the universe.
As the Varna system degenerated into the caste system, a lot of discrimination was done on the basis of caste. People belonging to the higher castes were treated with great respect and enjoyed several privileges while those from the lower classes were scorned at and were deprived of several things. Inter-caste marriages were strictly forbidden.
The caste system in urban India today has declined immensely. Though, people from the lower classes are still not respected in society as the government offers several benefits to them. Caste has become the basis of reservation in the country. People belonging to lower classes have a reserved quota in the education sector and also when it comes to securing government jobs.
After the departure of the British, the Constitution of India banned discrimination based on the caste system. It is then that the quota system was introduced for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes. BR Ambedkar who authored the Constitution of India was himself a Dalit and the concept of social justice for protecting the interests of these communities on the lower rung of society was considered to be a great move in the Indian history, though now it is being misused for narrow political reasons by different parties in the country.