Social Institutions: Continuity And Change

Social Institutions: Continuity And Change

Question

What is the role of the ideas of separation and hierarchy in the caste system?

Answer

Role of ideas of separation in caste system:

(i) It has engendered discrimination, inequality and prejudices among people.

(ii) As per Varna system, some people are declared Brahmins, Kshtriya and vaisya i.e. the upper caste while a majority of others as Shudra. There is also a section of society excluded from these four Varnas and people of these classes have been declared as depressed or untouchables.

(iii) This idea of separation and hierarchy has brought drastic changes in social processes since the Post Vedic Era to colonial and Post-Colonial Period.

(iv) This ideology imposes caste by birth and compels people to compare his/her skills only to hereditary occupations viz. a barbers son will or can do only hair cutting and a cobbler's son will do shoe manufacturing occupation.

(v) This ideology had divided society and this was the sole reason for India's falling in the trap of slavery for more tham two centuries in the past.

(vi) As per caste system every person has a distinct caste and every caste has a specified place in the hierarchy of all castes.

(vii) Castes also involve sub-divisions within themselves, i.e. these have sub-castes and sometimes, sub-castes may also have sub-sub-castes. It is called a segmental organisation.

(viii) Ideas of separation and hierarchy proved beneficial for some castes while others are condemned to a life of endless labour and subordination.

(ix) Each caste is supposed to be different form and therefore, separated from every other caste.

(x) Different and seperated castes do not have an individual existence and they can only exist in relation to a larger whole, the totality of society consisting of all castes.

(xi) Economic or military/physical power is closely associated with social status so that those in tend to be of high status. People defeated in wars were assigned to low caste status.

(xii) Each caste has its own place in the system which cannot be taken by any other caste. It allows no mobility.

More Chapters from Social Institutions: Continuity And Change