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What Are The Different Castes? Remember there are over 30,000 caste & sub castes!

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Presentation on theme: "What Are The Different Castes? Remember there are over 30,000 caste & sub castes!"— Presentation transcript:


2 What Are The Different Castes?

3 Remember there are over 30,000 caste & sub castes!

4 Brahmins

5 Were the priests Highest ranking They performed rituals for the gods There were only a few of them. Only Brahman men were allowed to go to school, or to teach in schools (Brahman women could not go to school).

6 Brahmins White (sattva = truthful) Represents the qualities of purity, love, faith, and detachment Seek true knowledge Exists in individuals with a spiritual temperament Those that belong to this color, belong to the Brahmin class

7 Purpose is to help people of other castes fulfill their dharma Perform rituals and observe vows for the sake of others

8 Brahman Brahmans were considered the scholars and priests of the caste system. –Also frequently cooks because they could only eat food prepared by Brahmans The highest castes in the system

9 Brahmins The first and the highest class; intellectuals of the nations such as landowners, scholars, and priests. They are not allowed to do any job of lower castes. They may receive things from lower castes, but they don’t give anything in return to them.

10 BRAHMAN They are the priestly class, who are entitled to study the Vedas, which are the sacred scriptures, and perform rites rituals for themselves and for others. They are the men between the gods and the people. They are expected to show excellent behavior and spend their lives in the pursuit of divine knowledge and preservation the traditions of Hinduism.

11 Brahmin Dharma That person is called a Brahmin who is sanctified by rites pure in behavior studying the Vedas devoted to the six well-known acts (washings every morning and evening, silent recitation of mantras, pouring rites on the sacrificial fire, worshipping the deities, doing the duties of hospitality to guests, and offering food to the Viswedevas) properly observing all pious acts never eats food without having offered it first to gods and guests filled with reverence for his teacher always devoted to vows and truth a vegetarian diet


13 Kshatriyas A class directly follows Brahmins; mostly rulers and warriors. They managed the land, military service, and administration. They practice strict caste endogamy, marrying only within their caste.

14 Kshatriya Red (rajas = energetic) Represents the qualities of action, will, aggression, and energy Seek honor, power, and status Exists in people with military and political temperaments Those that belong to this color belong to the Kshatriya class

15 Responsible for leadership of the people Often rely on advice from Brahmins

16 Kshatriyas Rulers or warriors A lot of them were in the army, or leaders in other ways. Women could not be warriors, but they could be Kshatriyas anyway.

17 Kshatriya These people are the ruler (kings), warrior (military), and landowner of the caste system

18 KSHATRIYAS They are the warrior class, who are commanded to protect the people, give gifts to the Brahmins, offer sacrifices to gods and ancestors, study the Vedas, and dispense justice. It was their responsibility to protect the caste system and the social order and lavish the priests with generous gifts at every opportunity.

19 Kshatriya Dharma That person is called a Kshatriya who is engaged in the profession of battle studying the Vedas giving gifts to Brahmins taking wealth from those he protects consuming meat and alcohol

20 Vaisyas

21 Yellow (rajas = energetic) Represents the same qualities as the red color Instead, those with this quality seek communication, interchange, trade, and business Exists in individuals with a commercial temperament They make up the Vaishya class

22 Vaisyas The third class composed of traders, shopkeepers, moneylenders, farmers, and artisans; trading and banking. Typically stricter in observing their dietary rules and avoiding any kind of ritual pollution.

23 Vaisyas Farmers, craftspersons, and traders Owned their own farms or businesses. There were a lot of them

24 Vaishya These people are the merchants and cultivators of the caste system. These people are the merchants and cultivators of the caste system. (They feed the people) (They feed the people)

25 Shopkeepers who sell products (unlike the Shudra who sell services)

26 VAISYAS They are the merchant and peasant classes, who are expected to tend cattle, offer sacrifices, study the Vedas, trade, lend money and farm the land. They had the right to perform and participate in certain Vedic rituals but they were not allowed to marry women of higher castes.

27 Vaisya Dharma That person is called a Vaishya who is earning fame from keeping cattle employed in agriculture and the means of acquiring wealth pure in behaviour studying the Vedas

28 Sudras or Shudras

29 Sudras Black (tamas = inert, solid) Represents qualities of ignorance, sluggishness, and dullness Dependent on the rest of the world for motivation and seek nothing Exists in those with a submissive disposition Make up the Shudra class

30 SUDRAS The are the laboring class, whose only duty is to serve the other three castes. They were not required to observe any Vedic rituals. They were not allowed to study the Vedas or even hear the sacred chants. They were not allowed to eat food in the company of higher castes or marry their women.

31 Sudras Laborers, workers, servants or non-aryans Did not own their own business or their own land Had to work for other people. Largest Caste

32 Each subgroup of this caste performs a specific service. Jobs include gardeners, potters, and clothes washers

33 Shudra Dharma That person is called a Shudra who is eating every kind of food engaged in doing every kind of work impure in behavior not studying the Vedas engaged in conduct that is unclean

34 Harijan or Untouchables or Dalits

35 Oppressive Caste System

36 Untouchables of India National Geographic, June 2003

37 Untouchables / Dalits Cannot: possess any wealth get an education enter a Hindu temple drink from public wells/water systems Marry outside their caste Touch anyone from a higher caste!! Argue or disobey upper caste demands.

38 Untouchables Dharma Untouchables polluting people their dwellings were at a distance from the settlements were not allowed to touch people from the four Varnas were not allowed to enter houses of the higher Varnas were not allowed to enter the temples were not allowed to use the same wells used by the Varnas were compelled to sit at a distance from the four Varnas even contact with their shadow was seen as polluting deal with the bodies of dead animals or unclaimed dead humans tanning leather, from dead animals, and manufacturing leather goods clean up human and animal waste

39 Untouchables/Outcastes this not officially a caste but would rank below the shudra consist of people who are considered unclean typically uncleanliness is related to occupation may also relate to a disease such as Leprosy The Caste System

40 Belong to no caste Expected to do the “dirty” jobs Come in contact with animal skins, dead bodies and human feces Avoid contact with “caste” Indians for fear of “pollution”

41 Even their shadow was considered impure and seeing an untouchable was considered bad luck. So they lived mostly on the edges of society, unknown and uncared for, and working in graveyards or as hunters, butchers and professional cleaners of human waste. HARIJAN also called Untouchables

42 Entrenched Irony Members of the Untouchable Dhobi caste beat the impurities out of clothes on the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi. Life's "unclean" tasks, such as cleaning latrines and digging graves fall to those born into one of the hundreds of Untouchable castes. They face a lifetime of discrimination and brutality, prejudice that endures even though Untouchability is officially banned by the Indian constitution.

43 Laundry Yard Her fate scripted by Hindu law, an Untouchable girl can imagine little else than working along the Yamuna River in Delhi as a Dhobi. Members of this clothes-washing caste handle items 'polluted' by blood or human waste.

44 Water Rights Across India members of upper castes often refuse to share water with Untouchables, convinced that any liquid will become polluted if it comes in contact with an Untouchable. In the countryside Untouchables are often forbidden to use the same wells and ponds as upper caste villagers.

45 Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Overcoming numerous social and financial obstacles, Ambedkar became one of the first untouchable to obtain a college education. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar spent his whole life fighting against social discrimination of the caste system.

46 45 Who was Ambedkar? BHIMRAO RAMJI AMBEDKAR (1891-1956) Born into a Dalit family By virtue of his brilliance became a Barrister at Law Was the first Law Minister of Independent India; drafted the constitution; major disagreements with Congress leaders, Nehru and Gandhi Converted to Buddhism in 1956 (along with thousands of other Dalits)

47 46 Ambedkar’s theses on caste He disproved both dominant theses on caste The Laws of Manu The orthodox thesis that Sudras were born out of the feet of ‘God’ The modern thesis that they were non-Aryan indigenous peoples inferior to the other three castes who were of Aryan descent He argues that they are of the same ethnicity and the Sudras were pushed to a lower status because of their growing power and conflict

48 47 Ambedkar’s philosophy His two main thesis were: The issue is not only to accept inequality and end discrimination, but to establish political and social structures which are premised on the fundamental equality of all Justice can not be given from above (i.e. those who are privileged). It has to be secured by those who were victims of injustice

49 48 What happened at Independence The constitution was drafted by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. It became illegal to discriminate on the basis of caste or religion Untouchability was abolished by law Untouchables came to be categorized as Scheduled Castes

50 49 Quotes from Ambedkar (1) –It is mischievously propagated by Hindu scriptures that by serving the upper classes the Shudras achieve salvation. Untouchability is another appellation of slavery. No race can be raised by destroying its self-respect. So if you really want to uplift the Untouchables, you must treat them in the social order as free citizens, free to carve out their destiny. –From

51 Quotes from Ambedkar (2) What you have lost others have gained. Your humiliations are a matter of pride with others. You are made to suffer wants, privations and humiliations not because it was pre-ordained by the sins committed in your previous birth, but because of the overpowering tyranny and treachery of those who are above you. You have no lands because others have usurped them; you have no posts because others have monopolised them. Do not believe in fate; believe in your strength. 50

52 51 Quotes from Ambedkar (3) Caste cannot be abolished by inter caste dinners or stray instances of inter caste marriages. Caste is a state of mind. It is a disease of mind. The teachings of the Hindu religion are the root cause of this disease. We practice casteism and we observe Untouchability because we are enjoined to do so by the Hindu religion. A bitter thing cannot be made sweet. The taste of anything can be changed. But poison cannot be changed into nectar. from

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