The caste system in India originated about 2500 years ago. In ancient India, society was organized so that each specialized job was performed by a specific group, or caste. The interdependence of all of the various castes was recognized, and each one was considered necessary to the society as a whole.This changed with time and the whole idea of caste changed and the caste of a person was determined by a person's family and by birth. It is prevalent not only among Hindus but also among
Sikhs, Christians and Muslims. While it has many aspects, we are concerned about the hierarchy, of high and low, of touchable and untouchable, which has led to the exploitation and oppression of lower castes besides discrimination against lower castes by higher castes. The most obnoxious part of the caste system was that it designated certain groups as untouchables and outcastes, and then used this to deny them ownership of land, entry into temples etc.
From the middle to late nineteenth century onwards, breaches began to appear in the above. Economic changes, especially commercialization of agricultural production changed the position of the untouchables. Many people like Jyothi Phule in Maharastra started questioning the caste system. The situation improved with shift in time towards independence. With independence, major initiatives in the area of removing caste injustice and equality were attempted. The constitution extended political rights to all citizens irrespective of religion, caste, language etc. Article 17 declared untouchability abolished and any such practice punishable by law. In 1982, the reservation system was introduced in India bring the lower castes the opportunities they were refused. But this has done little to decrease the broad gap between the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ castes. Inter-caste marriages are still being opposed and communal riots still happening.
This blog mainly focuses on the various issues in the Indian caste system covering Inter Caste marriages, Reservation System in the country and Caste based Riots throughout the country.
- Mukhil Warner T ( CH12B042)