Caste and Class Issues

Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar predicted that caste would stymie India's social and economic change. Regardless of the difficulty, he thinks a solid foundation can be demolished. However, there are several roadblocks in the way of progress. Capital (the wealthy) exploits the proletariat (the working class) by paying workers to produce goods for the capitalists to sell. Workers had no choice but to labor without a voice in the firm's management since they needed the job to survive. He felt that workers, not wealthy proprietors, should determine where and how they would sell their products. They worked at an office to make ends meet, benefitting the wealthy.

Explaining the Problems of Cast and Class

India has prejudice. Economics or ideology created India's caste structure. Aryans invaded India about 1500 B.C. and disregarded the natives. Warriors, priests, and farmers arose. Warrior and priest leaders competed. Where the monks won and took over India. Brahmans or priests led farmers, artisans, warriors, and villages. Like many cultures, a man's son succeeds him in India. This bloodline became a caste in India. Brahmans pushed socialism only inside their groups, creating vast inequity in this culturally rich society. In many communities, one caste degrades another, and this is permitted. Drain cleaners are "untouchable" "Scheduled Caste" members. "Scheduled Tribes" are forest dwellers. The Indian caste system is an essential part of Indian society. Marriage, careers, education, economy, migration, housing, and political participation are a few spheres of life that one's caste may impact. This signifies that they are not to be touched.

Most weddings in India are planned by parents, which is one way the caste system influences their children's lives. When trying to locate a life partner, they consider several things. Among them, one's caste status is crucial. People are against their sons or daughters marrying outside of their caste. As the term "untouchables" indicates, a Brahmin never would wed someone from the S.C. or S.T. castes.

Reservation System

Quotas are established depending on their caste to ensure that students from low-income households can attend public colleges. The reservation system makes it possible for someone from this background to enter a competitive university with average or below-average grades. As a result of this reservation system, however, poor Brahmans are more marginalized. Brahman students often need perfect scores on standardized tests for admission to the best universities. At the same time, those from lower social classes are given special consideration and may not even have to take the entrance test. Caste reservation plays a large role in the public sector's hiring practices, disproportionately negatively impacting already poor groups of Brahman origin.

Three-Tiered Stratification System

Rural India is establishing a three-tiered stratification system. It categorizes them as Forward Levels (top tribes), Backward Classes (middle and lower social classes), and Harijans (very low castes). These groups have similar challenges since they are large farmers, small farmers, and landless laborers. Some organizations band together across caste lines to obtain political influence and money. Certain north Indian middle-ranking farming castes have been politically unified since the late 1960s to promote their economic and market-oriented goals. They have been driven by competition with increased landed nobility.

The following table illustrates a comparative study of cast and class −

S.No Cast Class
1 According to Max Weber's terminology, castes are seen as hereditary groupings having a set ceremonial position. A person's Class reflects their relative position in society as well as their income, influence, education, and other accomplishments.
2 Each caste has its own set of norms and expectations that its members must observe. A member of a given group does not need to adhere to established norms of behavior.
3 Researchers in the field of anthropology, such as Louis Dumont and Edmund Leach in the field of social anthropology, have concluded that caste is exclusive to the Indian subcontinent. European and North American nations with advanced economies are typical locations for such institutions.
4 The caste system is anti-democratic since it restricts people's opportunities for advancement. Because it is founded on factors like education, social position, and the kind of job one undertakes, the class structure does not inherently pose a threat to democratic governance.
5 One of the major problems with the Caste system is the restriction on moving forward in one's chosen profession. No of one's aptitude, passion, or training, he must follow in the footsteps of his forefathers and continue the family business. There is no ceiling on the salary you may make regardless of one’s social standing. Any member of society, regardless of social standing, is free to pursue a different line of work if he so chooses.
6 Widening divisions between members of different social classes hinder a country's development as a whole. Differences in social status between members of various classes are less pronounced than those between members of different Castes.
7 The caste system remains unchanging. The social order is fluid.
8 The caste system is functional in a political context. The social stratification of society does not function as a driving political factor.

The Most Fundamental Taboos

It includes 

  • Brahmins and Kshatriyas would place Vaishyas and Sudras at separate tables out of dread of physical contact when serving tea or snacks at a social event.

  • One may see this by bringing a Sudra friend to a Brahmin's house and seeing how they are kept out of the main living areas.

  • A person of lesser social status stopped by a buddy's house to catch up on the festivities. To the man's chagrin, the friend and another Brahmin guest sat drinking in the kitchen while he was asked to wait outside and served a drink. (This humiliating occurrence happens all the time.) Unless very special circumstances exist, a Brahman priest will not go to the home of a Vaishya or Sudra to perform cultural ceremonies.

  • Home deaths emphasize social stratification. Even if they were there, Sudras and Vaishyas were not permitted to interact with the deceased or their mourning. They will gladly accept cash and gifts.


Those in positions of power must make deliberate efforts to free humanity from Casteism because of the subtlety and severity of the human rights abuses that result from it. In addition to the examples, many more instances of discrimination and exclusion occur daily. It is important to emphasize that this system's implementation is considered a crime towards humanity in countries including India and Nepal. Furthermore, its expression has been outlawed by the constitution. It has been stated that in other nations where the Indian diaspora has established big communities, legal action is being taken to halt this practice. However, it has been mostly symbolic since prejudice against marginalized groups persists, with little improvement.

Updated on: 04-Apr-2023


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