Caste System

Here in America when you are born you have the choice to become whoever or whatever you want. In places like India where the caste system is in place when you are born you are to automatically assume the same social rank, or position as your parents. Caste means hereditary rank, usually religiously dictated, that tends to be fixed and immobile. The caste system is mostly associated with Hinduism in India and in some other countries as well. In India there are priests, warriors, merchants, and artisans/farmers. They are also known as Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra. These are the four major castes. There is also a fifth caste known as the untouchables or the Dalit caste. The Dalit caste is known to be so low in rank and unclean that they are said to have no place in this system of stratification.

People who live within a caste system have no choice about their social rank, they cannot change which caste they are in. You are expected to marry within your caste as well. This reminds me of a time when I was in middle school and some classmates were telling me that since my parents didn’t go to college and don’t have good jobs that I would turn out the same way. Just because I was born into a family that doesn’t have a history of going to college doesn’t mean that I can’t. I can experience social mobility and can change the social rank that I am in.

Social mobility is not seen in places like India, people do not have the right to move from one position in a society’s stratification system to another. The caste system is a closed system; the people involved have little to no way of social mobility. People live very unequally in the caste system and they should be able to do whatever they want, go wherever they want, and be able to be or marry whoever they want. There should be no invisible walls keeping these castes separate. There should be an open system everywhere in the world. An open system is where the position of an individual is because of their own achieved status, not because of their parent’s status. Even a class system would be better than a caste system because you have the freedom and opportunity to move from one class to another, it’s all up to you.

— Emily



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