People in Western world hear a lot about the Hindu Caste system. How did it came about?
When the ancient world was in primary stage of socio-economic develpomen, the Hindus in India had evolved into a highly civilized society. In order to ensure social order, the ancient social scientist classified Hindus into four groups; those who imparted knowledge and pursued religious or intellectual work were called Brahmins; rulers, administrators and soldiers wre known as Kshartriya; merchants, farmers, and industrialist were called Vaishya; labourers and artisians were called shudras. This social framework, called “Varna Vyavastha” meaning classification system, had nothing to do with one’s birth, race, colour, creed or economic status. According to hinsu scrpitures, all four Vernas are equal and must work in unison for the welfare of the whole society.
Unfortunately, the four Varnas degenerated into countless castes, called jatis, based on occupations. Every Hindu belongs to a Jati which are can be compared to the trade guild in Europe. Each Jati developed its own social norms and customs. The caste system became very rigid, exclusive and heriditar. It was not possible for a member to switch over to another caste with money and power exploited the weaker castes to the extent that a perfectly practical social order became a curse for Hindus who have settled outside India no lnger practice it.
This Q/A was taken from the book Hinduism: Myth and Reality written by Ajit Adhopia and published by Inderlekh Publication.