Caste system has been an integral part of Indian society since thousands of years. The categorical mention of castes is also made in ancient scriptures. In the essays below we will go through the origin of the caste system, the classification and also the effects.
Short and Long Essay on Caste System
Essay 1 (250 Words) - Effects of Caste System
The caste system is a structure of the society that defines your caste at the time of your birth. A child carries the same caste and social status as his/her parents and enjoys the same social liberties as adults as granted to his/her particular caste.
Effects of Caste System
The caste system has many derogatory effects on society and hampers its growth in some way or the other. The system is divisive and disturbs the harmony and unity of society. It creates a divide among the communities, sometimes so deep that it is almost impossible to fill it.
It infuses a false sense of pride in the upper castes and an inferiority complex in those belonging to lower castes. The upper castes don’t look upon the lower caste community as one of their own and always consider them to be inferior. This, in turn, breeds a silent emotion of hatred and remorse among the communities.
This divide and unrest benefit no one but only those with ulterior motives. For instance, the caste divide that exists today in the society has benefitted no one but some politicians who take advantage of the situation and further polarize the communities for their own vested interests.
The caste system in society must be eliminated at all costs to bring equality and similarity in all dimensions. The true advantage of democracy could be experienced in its full gloom only in a society without any discrimination and divide.
Essay 2 (400 Words) - What is Ancient Caste System
Caste system is an ancient system for the classification of people and communities based on the jobs they do. It was introduced thousands of years back and is also mentioned in some ancient scriptures.
Ancient Caste System
The ancient caste system classifies the Indian society into four main castes as described below-
1) The Brahmins
Brahmins are given the highest order in society. They play highly reputed roles like the teacher and the priest. Everyone else treats them with respect and bows down to them. Brahmins also act as the guardians of the society and dictated religious and social order. They have an obligation to maintain that order as defined in the religious scriptures.
2) The Kshatriyas
Kshatriyas come next in order to the Brahmins. Both shared a cordial relationship in the ancient times which could be well witnessed even in these days. Kshatriyas were in the role of warriors and landlords. They were in the armies of the kings and princely states of India and were well regarded for courage and valour.
3) The Vaishyas
The Vaishyas were the people involved in business and other trades. They were merchants, goldsmiths, small traders, etc. They were basically the suppliers of goods and community to society. Vaishyas enjoyed a strategically important position in society after the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas.
4) The Shudra
Shudras were the persons doing all kinds of menial jobs as artisans and labours etc. They were not entitled to take part in the upnayana sanskar or the initiatory rites to the study of Vedas to obtain full membership of the religious community.
5) The Untouchables
While the above four classifications were mentioned in ancient texts, the fifth one called ‘untouchables’ or ‘Dalits’ emerged from the Shudra caste. Those among Shudras working as sweepers, washers, shoemakers, and scavengers were classified as untouchable and the work they did was considered as filthy and dirty by other castes. The untouchables suffered a lot of discrimination in society. They were not allowed in religious functions and forbidden even to sit in front of upper caste people.
The caste system had been introduced based on the profession of communities to keep society in order. But unfortunately, somewhere down the line, it became a reason for harassment of a particular community, depriving it of its fundamental privileges and honour. It is our duty as the rightful citizens of the world’s greatest democracy to ensure equal liberty and status to all the citizens irrespective of the caste and other divisions.
Essay 3 (600 Words) - Caste System: Origin and Expansion
Caste system is the classification of people based on their birth, community, and work. Casteism in India has its origin in the ancient period and has since then underwent many significant changes. Today it has become a contentious issue and a basis of reservation in jobs and educational institutes.
Origin of Caste System
The caste system in India supposedly originated from social and economic factors. The Indian castes are classified primarily into four groups – Brahmins the priests; Kshatriya the warriors; Vaishya, the merchants and landowners and finally Shudra, the commoners, servants and those involved in menial jobs. The Brahmins are the learned ones and enjoy the topmost position in Indian society followed by the Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras at last.
This classification is found in one of the ancient legal texts of Hindus called ‘Manusmriti’; written around 1000 B.C. The classification was based on the action (karma) of an individual or a community. The Manusmriti has detailed laws of marriage for all the castes as well as their conduct, food, and property. The scripture prohibits an upper caste person from eating the food prepared by a Shudra, as it will affect their next life.
Expansion of the Caste System
With time, many other castes evolved in the Indian caste system, which further got divided to include sub-castes. The main castes mentioned in Manusmriti were further divided into 3000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes. The classification of the castes and sub-castes was based on the occupation.
Caste System and the Society
Caste plays a significant role in Indian society up to this day. Indian rural communities follow the caste system diligently and in a way, it sets the order for their conduct.
A divide between upper castes and lower castes is always witnessed in the society, more so in rural areas. First of all the residential areas of upper and lower castes are well segregated and both live in separate colonies.
Lower caste people do the menial jobs as required by the upper caste persons, in exchange for money, grains, etc. Though they both need each other for survival, still, the distance between them is maintained. Even today, in rural areas of India, it would be inappropriate for a Shudra to enter the house of an upper-caste person without the latter’s consent.
Lower caste persons are also not allowed to use the same resources as the upper caste. They are not allowed to drink from the same well or even bathe. In some rare cases, the lower castes are not even allowed to enter temples.
The Diminishing Caste System
The caste system despite having deep-rooted in the Indian community is at its diminishing phase due to several socio-economic developments. The Shudras and other lower caste people have long changed their profession and are today doing all kind of works which were done only by upper castes. Today, lower caste people are getting into business and jobs and are far away from doing menial jobs. They are getting educated and realizing new horizons of growth.
The government has also taken several initiatives to lift the social and economical position of the lower caste communities. There is a reservation system in force in the government sector and also for admission to higher education institutes. It was introduced with an objective to bring the lower caste into the mainstream and to lift their social and economic status.
Despite the efforts by the government and also the society, the caste discrimination in India still remains. The signs are more evidently visible in rural parts than in urban. We need to understand that a society that’s divided on basis of caste will benefit only the ulterior motives of few opportunistic persons.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Ans. The caste system originated in India in about 1500 BC after the Aryans arrived.
Ans. Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras are the four varnas in Hinduism.
Ans. Paramahansa Mandali was a group formed in 1849 with an aim to abolish the caste system in India.
Ans. Brahmin is stated as the highest caste in Hindu.
Ans. The Satyashodhak Samaj was founded by Jyotirao Phule to work for cast equality.