TERM PAPER Topic

“CASTE SYSTEM” Will it exist in India of tomorrow?

By

Name: Moumita Sengupta Class: M.A. 1st year Roll No.: Registration No.:

Under the supervision of Reader Dr. Gayatri Bhattacharjee

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY

UNIVERSITY OF CALCUTTA
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I am very grateful to be a part of the Calcutta University. I hereby would like to convey my sincere gratitude to our professor Dr. Gayatri Bhattacharjee for her guidance. I would also like to acknowledge her for sparing her Valuable time and suggestions without which I would not have been able to complete my term paper. I would also like to show my regards to the people of the National Library and Central Library of our university for their co-operation. Last but not the least, my parents and fellow beings for their support and help which made me develop a perspective on this topic.

(Moumita Sengupta) M.A. 1st year Dep’t of Sociology

NO.No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Introduction Rationale Caste in India of tomorrow Case Study Analysis Conclusion References 1-3 4-5 6-8 9-15 16-17 18 .CONTENT Sl. TOPIC PG.

But between these entities there is not only connection but much communication. Village level leaders cultivate . political factors have been responsible for the weakening of the barriers between the sub-castes The point which has to be emphasized here is that for the purposes of sociological analysis a distinction has to be made between caste at the political level and the caste at the social and ritual level. A caste is usually segmented into several sub-castes and each sub-caste is endogamous. The latter is a much smaller unit than the former. the linkages between groups have become more and more significant. The policy which the British adopted of giving a certain amount of power to the local self Governing bodies and preferences and concessions to the backward castes provided new opportunities to the castes. In the above definition it is assumed that a caste group is easily identifiable and that it does not change its social boundaries which however are not true. endogamous. and the strong walls erected between the sub-castes have begun to crumble. and usually localized group having a traditional association with an occupation and a particular position in the local hierarchy of caste. caste was the smallest group which constituted the unity of endogamy and the identity of this tiny group stood out sharply against other similar groups. All the members of this group pursued a common occupation or a few common occupations and this group was the unit of social and ritual life. Traditionally. Relations between castes are governed among other things by the concept of purity and pollution. the movement to the cities for higher education and employment. and generally commensality occurs within the caste. however. Certain other factors have also been significant in the context: the greater mobility brought about in the British rule. There is indeed a wide gulf between castes as endogamous and ritual units and the castes-like units which are so active in politics and administration in modern India. During the last 60 years or more. which were also more rurally oriented than the higher. In the case of the lower castes. urban cosmopolitanism and westernization.INTRODUCTION A sociologist would define caste as a hereditary.

caste appears as an immutable system where the place of each caste is fixed for all the time. mobility may be said to occur within the framework of caste. (1) Every society has a structure of its own but the structure as is seen by the indigenous inhabitants is not always the same as the structure which the sociologists infer from the data which M. Srinivas has collected.N. But if the system as it actually operates is taken into consideration the position of several castes is far from clear. Sanskritization and Westernization are linked processes in modern India and it is not possible to one without the reference to the other. it will not help the particular caste to move up. The sociologists have tried to perceive the complex facts of the caste system in terms of Varna.ministers for privileges and varieties of favors and the ministers in turn need the help of village leaders during elections. Sanskritization can also occur independently of the acquisition of political and economic power. The two social processes i. When there is Sanskritization. . taken to mean that highly westernized individuals are completely free from any attachment to caste. According to Varna. Concentration on Varna also meant stressing the attribution or ritual factors in mutual caste ranking at the expenses of economic and political factors. In such a case. however. however. The idea of Varna was on the one hand the result of preoccupation with Ancient Indian Literary Material and on the other hand it led the scholars back to the same material. This should not be.e. whereas westernization implies mobility outside the framework of the caste. Sanskritization is both a part of the process of social mobility as well as the idiom in which mobility expresses itself.

the Brahmin and the Kshatriya. Pocock and Dr. D. Brahmins were able to be agents of Sanskritization in rural areas. Even in the villages of South India.F. In the rural India. While the influence of the locally dominant caste may spread over a few villages or a tehsil or district or state. In villages within the radius of a few miles from Delhi live Brahmins whose style of life resembles that of the locally dominant Jats.(2) Dominant castes have played an important role in either advancing or retarding Sanskritization. viz. while the Brahmanical mode of life has undergone some modification in the direction of that of the locally dominant caste. the process of Sanskritization has acquired prestige all over the country during the last 100 years or more.C. A. The Brahmanical model was naturally more favorable to Sanskritization than the Kshatriya model. the culture of is undergoing a change in the direction of Sanskritization. Dr. style of life and values of the latter. Mayer have mentioned the existence of two models which other castes have imitated. Brahmins resident in villages dominated by the non-Brahmin peasant castes tend to borrow the speech. Even when they are cut off from regular contacts with the centre because Brahmanical life was dominated by the ritual. .

The questions are as follows: 1. caste and Varna.(3) RATIONALE The main aim and objective behind this term paper is to find out whether the caste system would exist in India of tomorrow or not or is it likely to exist in future. I also wanted to know about the mental setup of the people regarding the caste system. why? 2. Is caste system an important factor regarding marriage? If yes. will you give your son or daughter in marriage to them even if they come from different caste? . What they think about it and do they practice caste system in each and every perspective of life? Another aim of this term paper is to find out what they think that is caste system an important factor regarding marriage or not. Do you believe in inter-caste marriage or intra-caste marriage and why? 4. why and if no. All the above description forms the whole perspective of my topic which I have named my work as “CASTE SYSTEM”: Will it exist in India of tomorrow? In order to make my work more affective I have prepared certain questions which also includes their age. How much do you think caste is important in one’s life? 3. Are they willing to give their son or daughter in marriage to the girl or boy belonging to other caste if their expectations of a perfect bride or groom are fulfilled? I also wanted to know that according to them caste system should exist in the future or not and will the upcoming or the new generations practice the caste system in future as their parents are practicing today. If your expectations regarding a perfect bride or groom are fulfilled.

What do you think.(4) 5. Is caste system likely to exist in India of tomorrow? 7. caste system should exist in future or not and Why? 6. Do you think that the upcoming or the new generations would practice caste system as their parents are doing today? .

The principle of caste is so firmly entrenched in our political and social life that everyone including the leaders has accepted tacitly the principles that. Most of us. while at the same time our sense of facts tells us that nothing serious is going to be done by anyone. in the provincial cabinets at any rate. as they will not have the courage to come out against measures to improve the conditions of the Harijans. Secondly. each major caste should have a minister. He said that in this country a small minority who are merely powerful desires caste system to go out.N. not only our politicians but our intellectuals as well bamboozled into agreeing with something merely because we are afraid to be mistaken for being ‘reactionary’. . He also said that a vast majority of people do not consider caste as an evil and that the small minority sees caste as a menace or threat to our country. are they likely to exist in India of tomorrow? He considered the former question first. The first lesson to be learnt here is not to underestimate the strength of your ‘enemy’. that should caste exist in India of tomorrow? Secondly.(5) CASTE IN INDIA OF TOMORROW M. Caste is an institution of prodigious strength and it will take a lot of beating before it will die. In the case caste this disease has proceeded so far that there is a great danger that our talk and policy will leave reality far behind.Srinivas was asked two questions. For the bulk of people living in rural area. caste is a collection of kin groups and nothing more than that. and that caste will continue to remain as it is. Agreeing to progressive resolutions satisfies our consciences and assures us of our worldly prospects. The giving of the vote to the Harijan is also a crucial measure. Even discussion of the subject is taboo. In the legislative assemblies. Caste Hindus will be increasingly on the defensive. coupled with the widespread fear of being dubbed a reactionary there is also a shrewd if somewhat cynical appreciation of facts. Firstly.

it was also aware of its solidarity with other castes. The ‘bottling up’ of caste ties within the region. and annual grain-payments made to the Smith. This had many important effects one of which was that it prevented the horizontal spread of caste solidarity beyond the chiefdom. Barter was widespread and important while money played a minimal part. Relations between chieftains and between them and the king or viceroy were always unstable. Loyalty to one’s village was universal. It is necessary to point out here that the Harijan occasionally exercised authority over the members of the upper caste and this was especially true of south India. and this was common to all the castes from the Brahmin to the Harijan. Potter. and frequently characterized by warfare. . and the derivative emphasis on interdependence of all castes living therein. The political system erected nearly impassable barriers between one chiefdom and another. Barber. and forced the many castes of a region to be interdependent. A feudal type of society prevailed when the British overran India. Relationships between individuals and groups were not governed by contract but by status. “Are caste likely to exist in India of tomorrow?” To answer this question there must be a reference to the past. At the village level caste were not only interdependent but acutely aware of the fact. The warring chieftains prevented the extension of ties beyond the region though here and there we find that the Brahmins were considered superior to these political cleavages because of their position as priests. Relationships were also ‘multiplex’ – the same people were involved in several kinds of relationships. Washer man and Priest dramatized the interdependence. Only a tiny section of people lived in the few cities scattered over the subcontinent while the vast majority lived in villages.(6) Now he considers the second question. While each caste had its own solidarity. was an important feature of the pre-British system.

the privileges given to the backward castes. if not the Brahmins. the legal rights given to Harijans. should gradually remove the more obnoxious features of the caste system. the industrial revolution which our Five-Years Plan are helping to bring about. and the concomitant decrease of a sense of interdependence between different castes living in a region. The last 100 years have seen a great increase in caste solidarity. Industrialization and an expanding economy will mean jobs to educated people and this should minimize the bitter inter-caste hatred which is now poisoning relations between individuals and groups. exercised over the new jobs induced the British to start favoring the low castes. Co-education is bound to make inter-caste marriages more frequent in future.(7) The horizontal solidarity of a caste gained at the expense of the vertical solidarity of the caste of the region. There are also signs that Harijans are organizing themselves to assert the rights which the constitution gives them. The virtual monopoly which the upper castes. adult franchise. and the greater Sanskritization of the way of life of the latter. and there were more men than jobs. the country is likely to have more trouble with caste. Educated members from different castes competed for jobs in the government. Certain additional factors have helped to increase horizontal solidarity as well as the tensions existing between different castes. the spread of literacy and higher education among the lower castes. . while on a long term basis. On a short term basis.

But she also said that if her expectations regarding a perfect bride or a groom are fulfilled then she might give her son or daughter in marriage to the girl or a boy belonging to the other caste provided the partners mental setup should match with each other. When she was asked that which type of marriage she believes in i.e. intercaste marriage or intra-caste marriage then her answer was intra-caste marriage because she said that if one goes for inter-caste marriage then after marriage it can never strengthen the bondage between the bride and the groom in future. According to her caste system is a very important factor regarding marriage because it would reflect in the blood of their next or further generations and that caste plays a very crucial role in one’s life. She thinks that the caste system is likely to exist in the future because the general people of our country are still rigid though she is not at all sure about it that whether the upcoming generation would practice caste system in future or not. Anuradha Bhattacharjee. 63. is a housewife who belongs to the general caste and is a Brahmin has provided me with innumerable information regarding my topic which has helped me a lot to develop the perspective in this regard. She also expressed her view regarding the existence of caste system in future that the caste system should exist in the India of tomorrow since it is an important pillar of our religion. .(8) CASE STUDY ANALYSIS CASE STUDY – 1 Mrs.

reason reigns supreme not superstitions or dogmas and so she thinks that caste system should not exist in future. She would also give her son or daughter to the bride or groom coming from other caste if her expectations of a perfect bride or groom is fulfilled because for her caste is a man-made barrier which has nothing to do in match making. According to her caste system is not an important factor regarding marriage because she thinks that it is an existing dogma which retards our social existence and upliftment.(9) CASE STUDY -2 My second case study includes a lady of 45 years who is a teacher by profession and belongs to the general caste. She also mentioned that since the upcoming generation will not further practice caste so the caste system is not likely to exist in the India of tomorrow. Finally. she expressed her view that since this the 21st century and is the age of science and technology. Her view is different regarding the caste system. . She gives preferences to inter-caste marriage because it can help in the unification of our society which is divided into narrow domestic walls. She also stressed that caste system has nothing to do with one’s life rather it does not play a crucial role in one’s life.

(10) CASE STUDY-3 Mr. But he also says that the caste system is likely to exist in India of tomorrow though in his view the upcoming generation would not practice the caste system in future as their parents have done. a retired APMG. of a family and he also said that caste is very important in one’s life. According to him caste system is an important factor regarding marriage because it through an indelible impact about social status. Manik Sengupta. age 63. According to him if he finds a bride or a groom to fulfill all his expectations then he has no objection to give his son or daughter in marriage to the bride or a groom belonging to other caste. belongs to the general caste and is a Baidya. culture etc. . He believes in both inter-caste marriage as well as intra-caste marriage because the compelling circumstance is rapidly changing the social values. unemployment is improved in the society. He feels that caste system should remain till the social values or commitments like education.

According to him caste system should not exist in the future because it always holds back our mind while crossing certain boundaries that can help us to broaden our own thinking process. he would have only one expectation and that is that his son or daughter should live happily with her or his soul mate and that cast does not matter to him. 37 and a lawyer by profession belongs to the general caste and is a Brahmin. He thinks that caste is not an important factor regarding marriage because marriage is the attachment of two different soul and caste can never be a part of a soul. For him marriage a holy celebration which combines two different mankind into a single bondage for good and as far as it remains ok. . then inter-caste marriage or intra-caste marriage would just be a word for him. He also thinks that caste is not an important factor in one’s life. Although he is single as of now.4 Debabrata Bhattacharya.(11) CASE STUDY. Indian people and mainly he village people are too rigid about this caste system but he thinks that this caste system should be abolished from our society in future because he does not think that the upcoming generations would practice caste system in future. but still from a father’s view.

Rajib Chowdhury. belongs to the general caste and is a Kayastha said that caste is not an important factor regarding marriage because marriage depends on two individual. According to him caste is not an essential factor for marriage and so he believes in inter-caste marriage and regarding his son’s or daughter’s marriage he has no problem if the bride or the groom comes from different caste but the main thing is that he would give stress on his son’s or daughter’s judgment and likeness only. their likeness.(12) CASE STUDY-5 Mr. and that caste is not at all important in one’s life. He stressed that caste system is not likely to exist in India of tomorrow and that the upcoming generations would not practice caste system in future as their parents are doing today. . faith. According to him caste should not exist in future since it is an obstacle for the overall development of the country. 43. opinion etc.

Mitalee Sengupta. . Further she also said that caste system should exist in India of tomorrow though it is likely to disappear since the new generations are not willing to practice the caste system. She is a supporter of the caste system and said that caste system play a very important role in one’s life. 58. housewife belongs to the general caste and is a Baidya said that caste is a very important factor regarding marriage because it strengthens the bond between the spouse and balances the mental setup between them. She opposes inter-caste marriage and supports intra-caste marriage because she thinks that in intracaste marriage happens then the mental status or the social status doesn’t matches with the opposite partner but if she finds a perfect bride or groom for her son or daughter who fulfills all her expectations then she would not have any objection even they come from different caste.(13) CASE STUDY-6 Mrs.

35. For her caste is not at all an important factor for marriage because marriage is based on mutual understanding. For her literacy and culture are more important in life than caste. She also thinks that the caste system is likely to exist in India of tomorrow because it is not that easy to abolish such a deep rooted system but to some extent it would be less effective because the upcoming generation will not practice caste system in future and will try their level best to overcome this age-old practice. In order to be mentally united.(14) CASE STUDY-7 The last case study of my topic includes a lady. who is a private tutor. she would only guide them to choose the perfect bride or groom and that caste or religion both is immaterial for her. Regarding her son’s or daughter’s marriage. She is in support if the inter-caste marriage because in this way only exchange of true culture is possible. this meaningless system of caste must be abolished. . Mrs. belongs to the general caste and is a Kayastha. Soma Chowdhury. She stressed that caste should not exist in future. adjustment and faithfulness and so there is no question of caste.

. They also supports inter-caste marriage because they help in the unification of our society which is divided into narrow domestic walls and also makes the exchange of new cultures possible. The former category that caste system is an existing dogma which retards our social existence and since we are living in the 21st century. so it is the age of science and technology where reasons reign supreme and not superstition.(15) CONCLUSION On the basis of the entire case study. Whereas on the other hand. They think that caste system is not at all an important factor regarding marriage because marriage is an attachment between two souls and caste can never be a party of a soul. It also has an immense impact on the social status. They think that caste system is an important factor regarding marriage and also is plays a crucial role in one’s life. I found the people belonging to the age group between 56-60 years and above. are the staunch followers of caste system. Apart from that only intra-caste marriage helps in the balancing of mental setup which inter-caste marriage can not. They also expressed their view that caste plays a very important role in one’s life and that they do not believe in inter-caste marriage but intra-caste marriage because intra-caste marriage has been practiced for a long period of time even by their and so they cannot stop practicing the caste system. They said that caste system is very essential because according to them caste makes the bond between the bride and the groom strong and that it also balances the mental status between them. I found that the people belonging to the age group between 35-55 years are against the caste system and the age group between 56-60 years and above are the supporters of the caste system. culture of life.

(16) Thus.14% against the practice of caste system who think that caste system is an existing dogma which retards our social existence and since we are living in the age science and technology so reason reigns supreme and superstition whereas on the other hand 42. . from the above discussion we can finally conclude that 57. They also think that caste system should exist in the future and they are also likely to exist in the India of tomorrow because it is not so easy to abolish such a deep rooted system though they believe that the upcoming generation or the new generation would not practice the caste system as their parents have done. For them since caste system is an age old practice so one should not stop practicing it.85% are the supporters of the caste system.

com www. • Caste System in India: A Historical Perspective by Ekta Singh.N.(17) REFERENCES • Caste in Modern India and Other Essays by M.com .macmillandictionary.Srinivas. • Caste System in India by Ramesh Chandra Sangh • • www.wikipedia.

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