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Caste

Essay by 24  •  September 19, 2010  •  305 Words (2 Pages)  •  581 Views

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In the United States the caste system is usually interpreted negatively. Yet, in South Asia, it provides an important measure of identity and social cohesion. Explain.

Although the United States frowns upon the caste system, the culture of the South Asian people uses this system as a way of survival and identity.

The scriptural definition of the caste can be found in the Rig Veda. In summary, it states that there are four levels of caste: the first and the highest level would include the priests (Brahman), below them, soldiers/ prince, (Kshatrya), followed by the merchants who are known as Vaishya and last, the laborers (Shudra). This system is called the Verna System. But, remember caste is NOT Varna, caste involves Varna. A person in India would classify themselves according to purity and pollution. Caste is supported by, who you touch, who you eat with, as well as who you marry, which also in turn can cause pollution depicting on the social level of the other person your involving you self with. Knowing all this, being a member of the caste, is like being in a larger family known as Jati. This is a group of people who marry within themselves, as well as share some of the same lively hood. Caste IS Jati that is ranked by the Varna System. For example, a Jati, a group of people in a village of the same caste, would have occupational jobs such as; one person sweeps the streets, while the other makes the food and another may be the teacher... This helps the village become self sufficient. People, individually, have a special role to contribute to in their social village. The caste system is not to separate people and belittle them, rather to unite people together and help each other out in survival due to their little resources.

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