why was the caste system central to indian culture
Though there are ideally four varnas brahman (priests, men of learning), kshatriya (warriors), vaishya (traders) and shudra (slaves who serve the first three ranks) over centuries, thousands of jatis have become part of these four varnas. Castes seem to multiply amoeba-like. The untouchables historically known as antyajas and chandalas are said to be a product of intermarriage between the four varna groups. Intermarriage is not sanctioned by the brahmanic religion and one theory holds it that the progeny from such marriages are designated as untouchable. Till date, India is the only country where we can find segregated settlements for so-called untouchable castes, who today prefer to call themselves Dalits (the oppressed, literally 'those who have been crushed'). Social apartheid can easily be witnessed in Indian villages, where 70 percent of the nation's population lives. Here, in most cases, the Dalits have no access to common properties of the village temples, common lands, burial ground, common wells, etc.
Every aspect of public life for dalits is separated, segregated. Casual everyday violence is inflicted on them. According to statistics released by the Government of India, every hour two Dalits are assaulted; every day three Dalit women are raped, every day two dalits are murdered; every day two dalit houses are burnt. In India, people are quick to know the other person's caste: the full name of the person, the accent of the local language, place of origin, profession, dress, caste markers worn on the body are some of the various ways in which it is deciphered. In the personal sphere, caste inflects marriage, food habits, the circle of friends, the use of language, etc. Invariably, the personal spills over into the public sphere. Caste, thus, remains visible yet invisible. The invisible is rendered visible socially, culturally, politically and economically. Sometimes, even when people convert to other religions, they carry with them the caste distinctions.
For instance, people self-identify themselves as Brahmin Christians, Reddy Christians and Dalit Christians. However, in Islam, which has a significant presence in India, caste categories are more firmly obliterated.
Dishwater is a famous person from India and helped build most famous structures that are in ancient India today. Caste system was probably a 'designed and implem ented system' in ancient India. Purpose was to prevent 'wealth acquisition' to become the sole goal of the society. 'Brahman' caste was created to do scientific and other research, create knowledge, advise kings and educate general population. Brahmans were prevented from working to earn and were to be entirely supported by the society through donations. Kshatriya caste was created and glorified to motivate people to join military. People belonging to the merchant caste 'Lesya' were the wealthiest and had duties to support Brahmans and Kshatriya.
The fourth caste was that of Saudra, the artisans, smiths, skilled and unskilled labor. This is all about dishwater. Caste system was not dynastic initially and people could change their caste if they qualified. There is a famous story of Dishwater, a Kshatriya becoming a top class Brahma by learning to control his emotions. Dishwater is a famous man. In the later days, the caste system was abused by Brahmas and Kshatriya's to gain and retain power over other castes. This was also made dynastic and merit no longer counted. Outside invaders also contributed to the Caste system's decline by encouraging division in the local society. Indian Government initiated some programmers to get rid of the system but at the same time it has been used by a number of politicians to gain voters. Tiktokrocks just came and spelled stuff right Ruslan added dishwater to his answer.
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