India's caste system is among the world's oldest forms of surviving social stratification. The BBC explains its complexities. The system which divides Hindus into rigid hierarchical groups based on their karma work and dharma the Hindi word for religion, but here it means duty is generally accepted to be more than 3, years old. Manusmriti , widely regarded to be the most important and authoritative book on Hindu law and dating back to at least 1, years before Christ was born, "acknowledges and justifies the caste system as the basis of order and regularity of society". The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories - Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. Many believe that the groups originated from Brahma, the Hindu God of creation.
They've left South Asia, but they can't escape the discrimination and division of its caste system
Caste system in India - Wikipedia
The caste system in India is the paradigmatic ethnographic example of caste. It has origins in ancient India , and was transformed by various ruling elites in medieval, early-modern, and modern India, especially the Mughal Empire and the British Raj. The caste system as it exists today is thought to be the result of developments during the collapse of the Mughal era and the rise of the British colonial government in India. In , negative discrimination on the basis of caste was banned by law and further enshrined in the Indian constitution ; however, the system continues to be practiced in parts of India.
Caste system in India
Travelers to India have commented on caste for more than two thousand years. In Indian society the group comes first, unlike our own society that gives so much importance to the individual personality. Indians still often identify themselves by the community they belong to and caste is still a factor in marriage selection. In addition, caste has allowed countless groups that have migrated into India to find a place and to play an important role. The caste system, as it actually works in India is called jati.
But as Jasbeer Mustafa, an academic from Western Sydney University, told me: "If you don't know your caste, it's most likely you're upper caste. As a new migrant to Australia I was surprised when I learnt caste discrimination exists in a country so far removed geographically and culturally from South Asia. I grew up in Mumbai, and it wasn't until the Dalit Lives Matter movement was retriggered by the murder of a Dalit in India last September that I started to question the caste system and the role I played in it. I was curious to know more about how casteism impacts people in Australia, so I started speaking to a number of migrants who had first-hand experience with the caste system. The Hindu caste system is made up of four tiers — at the very top are Brahmins or priests and teachers.