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Caste

Derived from ancient Aryan religion-Brahmanism; the precursor to Hinduism, based on the Code of Manu (a masterplan for life in a multi-racial society). An individual is born into their caste, which is determined by karma and previous lives. Therefore, those of low caste are not pitied as their plight in life is seen as a result of their own actions. Those of lower caste accept their status because they believe that suffering for their past deeds, in this life, will assure a higher status in the next. Caste determines profession and social status, regardless of wealth or degree. There are four castes and thousands of sub-castes within each of the major four. One’s family name tells the rank and caste; it is impossible to lie about one’s caste. There are four castes: Brahmin (intellectuals/priests), Kshatriya (rulers/warriors), Vaishya –(businessmen/traders), and Shudra (servants). There also Outcastes/Dalits, who are deemed unworthy to a part of the caste system, typically descendants of dark-skinned tribal people who were conquered by higher castes. These outcastes hold the worst jobs in India and are shunned and avoided by higher castes for fear of contamination even from their shadows. The Indian Constitution banned discrimination against lower castes. However, there are daily reports of atrocities against those of lower castes, and ‘Untouchables’ (Outcastes) have no rights to education, prayer at temples, or even hearing the Vedic scriptures read.

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