Indian caste system

Abagond

Caste: punishment (or reward) for your past lives. (Reuters/Amit Dave)

The caste system of India (by -1000) grew out of Hinduism and divides society from high to low into four main castes. On paper it has been done away with, but in practice it still shapes how people act and think, even if it is not as strong as it used to be.

According to Hinduism the god Brahma created people from his body:

  1. Brahmans came from his mouth. They became the priests.
  2. Kshatriyas came from his arms. They became the rulers and soldiers.
  3. Vaisyas came from his thighs. They became the merchants and farmers.
  4. Sudras came from his feet. They became servants, labourers and craftsmen.

Each of these castes in turn is divided into hundreds if not thousands of subcastes determined by occupation, region, family, etc.

Dalits, aka the Scheduled Caste, aka the Untouchables (not a nice word for…

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