ancient indian caste system activity
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The period between 300 CE to 700 CE marked the intersection of multiple religions. As a large Varna populace became difficult to handle, the emergence of Jainism propounded the ideology of one single human Varna and nothing besides. Many followed the original Varna rules, but many others, disapproving opposing beliefs, formed modified sub-Varnas within the primary four Varnas. This process, occurring between 700 CE and 1500 CE, continues to this day, as India is now home to a repository of the primary four Varnas and hundreds of sub-Varnas, making the original four Varnas merely ‘umbrella terms’ and perpetually ambiguous.
Shudras would serve the Brahmins in their ashrams, Kshatriyas in their palaces and princely camps, and Vaishyas in their commercial activities. Although they are the feet of the primordial being, learned citizens of higher Varnas would always regard them as a crucial segment of society, for an orderly society would be easily compromised if the feet are weak. Shudras, on the other hand, obeyed the orders of their masters, because their knowledge of attaining moksha by embracing their prescribed duties encouraged them to remain loyal. Shudra women, too, worked as attendants and close companions of the queen and would go with her after marriage to other kingdoms. Many Shudras were also allowed to be agriculturalists, traders, and enter occupations of Vaishyas. These detours of life duties would, however, be under special circumstances, on perceiving deteriorating economic situations. The Shudras’ selflessness makes them worthy of unprecedented regard and respect.
The Vedas are the Sanskrit writings that are the earliest sacred texts of Hinduism. The Vedas suggest the caste system in India. There were four social classes in the ancient Aryan society. These were the brahmins (priests & scholars); warriors & nobles; artisans & merchants; and on the lowest level, farm workers, laborers, servants
The people without a caste, the Untouchables: There was one other social rank in ancient India. People who were born into this social rank were called Untouchables. These were the people who were considered the lowest in society in Hindu India, so low that they were not part of the caste system. They had no rights. If they had a job at all, other than begging, it was a degrading job that no one else wanted to do. If your parent was an Untouchable, so were you. Untouchables could not move up or marry out of their social rank.
Lexile Measure 1110L
Mean Sentence Length 15.19
Mean Log Word Frequency 3.24
Word Count 697
The British controlled part or all of the Indian subcontinent from 1612 to 1947. The British thought that caste members believed they would have to live out their lives in a particular caste in order to be reborn into a higher caste. We now know that some Indian people did have an opportunity to join higher castes, but this didn’t happen very often.
Major castes were subdivided into hundreds of sub-castes or Jātis. Each jāti typically has an association with a traditional job function in Hindu society, although religious beliefs or linguistic groupings define some jātis. A person’s surname typically reflects a jāti association: asari meaning carpenter, thattar meaning goldsmith, muusaari coppersmith, karuvar ironsmith, ambattar clothes-washer, parayar cobbler.
Caste became an important element of Indian politics after the British used the entirely theoretical construct of Varna (literally meaning “color”) as the basis of classifying the Indian population, especially the Hindus, in the Population Censuses of late nineteenth century. This became more specific in the 1901 Census, because the Indian population did not understand what was meant by “Caste” and gave their occupation, religion and education as their “Caste.” In the 1901 Census, the people were asked to classify themselves, or were classified by enumerators, as members of the specific castes of Brahmin, Khshatriya, Vaishya, or Shudra. This was ostensibly done to simplify an otherwise difficult to categorize society, with subtle hierarchies, for the purposes of better statistical manipulation.