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Pros and Cons of the Caste System in India

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Tariq Kazan

on 14 April 2014

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Transcript of Pros and Cons of the Caste System in India

Merits of the Indian Caste System
Harmonious Division of Society
Caste Systems as a Constitution of Hindu Society
A Source of Stability and Contentment
Demerits of the Indian Caste System
Social Disorganization
Political Disunity
Untouchability
Despotism of Upper Caste
Religious Conversions
Lower Status of Women
Obstacle to Social Progress
Undemocratic
Harmonious Division of Society
Classification of society is indispensable in every country. In ancient India such classification existed in a perfect form. The whole society was divided into four classes namely. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishayas and Sudras. These classes were not rigid and closed. No one was Brahmin by blood nor was anyone Sudra by birth. Everyone was free to attain the highest social dignity. The classification was based on some scientific principles namely heredity and economy of labor. Thus, it always preserved the social integration.
Pros and Cons of the Caste System in India
Tariq Kazan

WOH 2001

4/13/2014
Caste Systems as a Constitution of Hindu Society
The caste system has worked as a constitution of Hindu society. According to some European writers, “It is this principle of Hindu social constitution that has enabled the nation to sustain without being shattered to pieces, that the tremendous stocks given by the numerous political conventions and religious upheavals that have occurred during the last thousand years. Similarly according to Sir Henery Cotton, “The caste system has rendered most important service in the past and still continues to sustain order and solidarity”.
A Source of Stability and Contentment
The caste system has been a fundamental source of social stability. In the words of Sidney Law, caste system is the main cause of stability and contentment by which Indian society has been traced for centuries against the stock of politics and the cataclysms of nature. Apart from this, caste system has provided a definite professional career to each individual.
Social Disorganization
Instead of remaining a uniting force as it was in its past, the caste system has become a dividing element in Hindu society. It has divided the Hindus into hundreds and hundreds of sub-caste groups and sects. Enmity and hatred has replaced the feeling of respect and sympathy amongst the members of high and low caste.
Political Disunity
The caste system divided the whole society into innumerable subdivisions and to unite them politically has become impossible. This national disunity which was the direct outcome of caste system enabled foreigners to conquer and rule over this land without any apparent difficulty.
Untouchability
The caste system was the cause of degradation of a large portion of population of the Hindus. Sudras were and still are treated as sub-humans. To say honestly they were regarded more repulsive than crawling worms of the gutters. Persons of high caste think it necessary to wash themselves if they accidentally touch a Harijan. They were deprived of all social privileges which were available to members of high caste and were forbidden from all of such public places as temples, ghats, wells and schools etc. Thus, caste system cut nearly crores of persons from the main stream of Indian social life.
Despotism of Upper Caste
The caste system ultimately became an instrument in the hands of upper caste for suppression of the persons of lower caste. That section of population which is called by the common name of Harijans, were deprived of all kinds of property rights, of utilisation of villages ponds and the right of self-development. Such treatment of a part of Hindu community by the rest portion weakened the strength of the whole community.
Religious Conversions
Compelled by the tyranny of upper caste, great masses of the lower castes converted their religion and accepted Islam or Christianity and became worst enemies of the Hindus. In Hindu social organisation, cultural sphere is closely interwoven with the religious one. With the growing rigidity of caste system, the religious life of an individual became an adulterated one and so became the whole culture. Each caste and every sub-caste claimed the superiority of its own brand of culture. This fact stood as a veritable abstacle in the way of cultural development of India as a whole.
Lower Status of Women
The caste system is the principal cause of the downtrodden state of Hindu womanhood. By the practice of the maintenance of the structure almost every right of a free human being were snatched away from women. They were deprived of education and all directions of their progress were closed. For the sake of caste, they were married before they could differentiate between a doll and a husband. They were not allowed to remarry even if they became widows on the first day of their marriage, instead they were compelled to burn themselves with the dead bodies of their husbands.
Obstacle to Social Progress
The caste system does not allow changes to be introduced in society. Under the caste system people are very conservative and traditional. They believe in customs and traditions and they do not accept changes needed for social progress.
Undemocratic
The caste system is undemocratic because it denies equal rights to all irrespective of their caste, creed or color. Social barriers are erected specially in the way of lower caste individuals who are not given opportunity for mental and physical development. Thus, caste system has been undemocratic and created inequality among the Hindus.
Caste System in India Video
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