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Ancient Indian Caste System by Mind Map: Ancient Indian Caste
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Ancient Indian Caste System


Very Beginning

The first four varnas apparently existed in the ancient Aryan society of northern India.

The Aryans were in the higher castes, and they put the native peoples of the subcontinent into the lower castes.

The system favored those at the top economically, so they were motivated to maintain the status quo.

* Hierarchy is natural: The belief that a hierarchical social structure is part of the divine intention for natural order.

* Purity: The need to emphasise the importance of ritual purity and impurity.

Religious Theory

The religious theories explain how the four Varnas were founded, but they do not explain how the Jats in each Varna or the untouchables were founded.

Story from the Rig Veda, Purush - destroyed himself to create a human society., The different Varnas were created from different parts of his body.

Other religious theory claims that the Varnas were created from the body organs of Brahma, who is the creator of the world.



Brahmin, the priests, teachers, and judges, Highest caste, with only a very select few people., Considered twice borns, They provide for the intellectual and spiritual needs of the community., white

Kshatriya, the warrior caste, considered twice borns, Their role was to rule and to protect others., red

Vaisya, the farmers, skilled workers, and merchants, considered twice borns, They were entrusted with the care of commerce and agriculture., yellow

Untouchables, literally the "out-castes", lowest caste possible, usually in this caste because of religious reasons.

Sudras, the craft workers, unskilled workers, and laborers, Their task was to perform all manual labor., black


Social, In the more urban areas, it is still noticeable, and people know which caste they belong to, but they do not pay attention or care about it as much as they would have in the past., Even if the system has been abolished, it is still in the culture., It is especially prevalent in the more rural areas., social distinctions have been more persistent., Ghandi, Attitudes toward the untouchables only began to change in the 1930s under the influence of Mohandas Gandhi's teachings., Rebellion against the caste system., completely changed India's social settings.

Economical, The occupational barriers among Indian castes have been breaking down slowly under economic pressures since the 19th cent, As increased industrialization produced new occupations and new social and political functions evolved, the caste system adapted and thus far has not been destroyed.

Governmental, The Indian Government has officially abolished the system., untouchability was declared illegal in 1949

Varna vs. Caste

a varna is not a caste.

However, when directly asked for their caste affiliation many Indians will reply with a varna name.

Jati, A jati is an even smaller subset inside the jati., when asked what caste they belong to, sometimes they will not only give their varna, but also their jati.

Different Religions


The main religion that the caste systems started with and revolves around.

Inequalities among castes are considered by the Hindu faithful to be part of the divinely ordained natural order and are expressed in terms of purity and pollution.


Christianity, Since the British colonized India, pockets of Christianity show up in the main cities that were colonized., Like Judaism, they are also normally considered Untouchables, however, some fall into the Hindu classes., Though Christianity also does not recognize caste system, there are upper and lower caste among Christians., It might appear surprising that Islam and Christianity though being religions of equality should be so riddled with caste. Their apologists invariably explain that Hinduism has corrupted them.

Jainism, Choose to reject the caste system, however sometimes they are pressured by the other societies to join., Peaceful Society

Islam, Holy war against the Hindus causes turmoil in all the classes., They have their own set of classes that are closely related to the main Hindu classes., This is one one of the reasons for the fighting between the Hindus and the Muslims., This happened because of the two religions being in close quarters with each other., The Muslims who arrived in India were strong and powerful to be treated as untouchables., Not only were they strong in the military sense, they also tried to enforce their religion on the Indians., The Indians who converted to Islam in most of the cases remained in the same social status as they had before their conversion to Islam.

Judaism, In the larger cities, there are a few groups that make up a very small minority., Usually considered as Untouchables

Sikhism, Sikhism rejects caste system., But different Jats who adopted Sikhism act according to traditional Jat lines.

Buddhism, They chose to make a heirarchy of their own two classes, hoewever these are also closely related to the Hindu classes.

All foreigners and non-Hindus are all supposed to be untouchables. But in reality neither all foreigners nor non-Hindus were treated as untouchables.

Different religion followers got different status in different parts of India.

Effects on Indian Culture

Not Part of the System

About 7% of India's population are referred to as tribes and not as castes or Jats.

They preferred to live away from the main societies deep in the jungles, forests and mountains of India.

These tribes had different religious beliefs and different gods.


Castes in Rural Areas

Members of a caste are typically spread out over a region, with representatives living in hundreds of settlements.

Tribes, Numerous groups usually called tribes are also integrated into the caste system to varying degrees., Some tribes live separately from others., Some tribes are themselves divided into groups similar to subcastes.

Villages, In any small village, there may be representatives of a few or even a score or more castes.

Social Dynamics

A caste cannot be defined as if it existed in social isolation or suspenĀ­ sion, because it is in fact an inseparable element of the society

One caste cannot exist in an otherwise casteless society, for castes are interdependent social phenomena.

the caste system constitutes a type of society--the structure and substance of a society.

Personal, It is not permitted to contract marriage with a person of another caste., The closest thing we in the west can relate castes to is race., It effects every one in the community, even if they choose to reject it., You are born into a caste and you will stay there for the rest of your life., o maintain ritual purity, members of each caste neither marry nor dine with members of other castes ( endogamy).

Occupational, It is not permitted to change from one profession or trade to another., For each caste has a traditional occupation, Within a caste, most people may share an occupation, belong to the same religious sect (group), or have the same level of wealth.