The diversity in India is unique as it is a large country with large population. India presents endless varieties of physical features and culture patterns. In short ‘India is the epitome of the world’. The vast population is composed of people having different castes, creed, religion, customs, sex, etc. Even though Indians in modern era are following the western culture and are modernizing at a rapid pace, some social evils prevail till date and one of them is casteism.
Caste comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word ‘Casta’ which means race, breed and lineage. There are 3000 castes and 25000 sub-castes in India, each related to specific occupation. Caste is both the historical truth of the Indian subcontinent, and a reality of modern India. Caste is present in a passive way in most of India and caste based discrimination and violence takes place. India’s caste system is among world’s oldest forms of surviving social stratification. The system which divides Hindus into rigid hierarchy groups based on their karma (work) and dharma (duty). Manusmriti, the most authoritative book of Hindu law acknowledges and justifies the caste system on the basis of order and regularity of society. The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories- Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. At the top of the hierarchy were the Brahmins who are mainly teachers and intellectuals and are believed to have come from Brahma’s head. Then come the Kshatriyas, or the warriors or rulers, supposedly from his arms. The third slot went to Vaishyas or the traitors who were created from his thighs and the bottom of the heap were the Shudras who came from Brahma’s feet and did all the menial jobs. Outside the Hindu caste system were the Dalits or the untouchables. The untouchables were treated awfully and were deprived of all the basic amenities like drawing water from the wells which are of high caste people, sitting with them, using the same utensils in which the high caste people use. Not only this, the children who have pure soul, for whom each and every human being is equal irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or sex, are also being unjustifiably discriminated. This can be seen in playgrounds, schools, temples, etc.
Today, if we go through the status of development of our country we can see that it is on a developing phase. Not only there is an increase in the population but the GDP rate has also increased. But if we study in detail we get to know that more than half of the Indian citizens are living in rural and undeveloped areas where the Dalits or untouchables faces discrimination each and every moment. These marginalized group of people are still prey of the orthodoxy customs and traditions which were followed in the past. Even today the horrific devadasi practice is prevailing. We being the citizens of India should feel abashed that a part of our country is being exploited and we don’t have enough guts to raise our voice for it rather we fight for the reservations being given to this vulnerable group.
We are no one to differentiate people on basis of caste and hence we should move on from social barriers like this to live in a more peaceful place rather than a community which divides the existence of humans. I guess with time everything can change the principles of equality, fraternity and liberty has also played a major role and also due to globalization the way in which the urban cities have developed even the other parts of India will be free from this caste system and aim for a higher standards of living.