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Essay on Caste System to the Hindu Concept of Dharma

3 pages
609 words
Middlebury College
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The transformation of the caste system was done by the ruling elites in the periods of the medieval, early-modern and modern India. Currently, it serves as the center for gathering knowledge and reservation of jobs. It is the collapse of the regime of British colonial that resulted in the rise of the system of the caste. Many men who were associated with power rose and connected to the priests, kings, and ascetics. The caste system was martial and regal. During this moment, the British offered administrative jobs as well as senior appointments to the higher ranked castes only (Stevenson 54). It was the social unrest that facilitated the change in this discriminative policy.

Levels of the Caste System

The priesthood was the traditional occupation of the Brahmins at the temple of the Hindu and the rite of passage rituals like wedding prayers. They were agriculturalists, traders, warriors among other professions. It is within the oldest Hindu Dharmasutras that the Brahmin may attend a ritual ceremony but should not perform a ritual in any capacity unless invitation was done on the same. Brahmin has various functions enshrined in the Dharmasutra. These duties include learning the Vedas, the Vidic supplements, the epics, the Puranas and the secular sciences. They are also to understand what their roles are and should lead a virtuous life. The duties of Brahmin entail modesty, charity and should never portray arrogance and unnecessary anger. It was the mandate of the Brahmins to encourage a relationship and connection of a person with a god. Some of the Brahmins led a movement that was spiritually-oriented without any form of discrimination and criticized idolatry. For example, Basava and Vallabha Acharya.Kshatriya is a social order in the society of Hindu as it consists of the military and the ruling elites. It is their mandate to ensure that the community is protected by establishing peaceful governance and fighting in the wartime. There is a tribal chief known as Rajan whose significant duties were to offer protection to the cattle and the tribe with the help of a priest. The tribal assembly elects the king. There was adherence to the democratic form of ruling. Vrsni and Adhaka are some of the examples who adopted the elected ruler's system. The central chiefs were chosen by clan chiefs. These Kshatriya were mostly viewed as pre-eminent in the circles of Hindu societies.

Traditionally, the religion of Hindu mandated the Vaishyas to head the cattle-rearing and agriculture sectors, but later on, the roles changed to more complex tasks such as being traders, lending money and owning lands. These translated that they were responsible for the provision of sustenance to the high class. After the initiation, Vaishyas claims spiritual birth.

Shudras are the lowest rank among the social class in the Hindu society. It consists of the laboring class that serves other fellow citizens. However, in some cases, the shudra performed different roles such as the coronation of the kings elected by the tribal assembly. It is a medieval era text of the Hindu society.


Those who are in the lower caste are motivated in several ways to remain in that position. This was done by the facilitation of the policy that was viewed as positive discrimination. This was achieved by a reservation of a particular number of government jobs for those in the lower castes. The laws were also enacted and some social initiatives initiated with the aim to protect and enhance the social and economic conditions of those in the lower rank.

Work Cited

Stevenson, Henry Noel Cochran. "Status evaluation in the Hindu caste system." The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 84.1/2 (1954): 45-65.

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