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International Journal of History

2021, Vol. 3, Issue 2, Part B

Cast in Indian history with special reference to medieval India

Author(s): Bharat Rohin

Abstract: Caste is an institution that is unique to Indian subcontinent. It dates back to arrival of Indo-Aryans on the Indian soil in around 1500 BCE. It is based upon differentiated hierarchy placing people in different social ranks and positions and assigns them specific roles and occupations. It divides Hindus into four broad classifications and numerous sub-divisions and sub-categories.
Introduction: Caste system is deeply embedded in Indian culture. It has been an integral part of Hindu society for millennia. There are numerous examples that manifest that caste system existed in ancient India as well as medieval India though with regional and temporal variations. And so is the case even today despite massive transformations the caste as an institution has undergone.
Caste is a discriminatory institution which fosters social exclusion and isolation in a variety of ways. It creates inequality in the society, social divisions and violation of civil liberties of those people who belong to lower castes. Caste is practiced widely in the Indian sub-continent with regional variations and intensity such as the variation in rural urban binary.
While social exclusion and patterns of social inequality do exist in other parts of the world, caste as an institution remains unique to Indian subcontinent which fosters untouchability, unprecedented forms of discrimination, chauvinism and intolerance.
Though caste is prevalent among Hindus-as its origin, according to many scholars, is traced to the Hindu scriptures-and many would argue that it is restricted to the Hindu community alone. But the reality is that it has permeated to other religions affecting them considerably. It has had an enormous impact on Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. This is the reason that Muslims have adopted the institution despite the fact that their religion stipulates a strict egalitarian system which tends to further communal feelings, brotherhood, sense of equality and social parity in all walks of life. Interestingly, the system has equally affected Christians and Sikhs. It has left permanent footprints on these two communities as well.
Besides, the Indian caste system has had an effect on tribal communities too despite being living in the hilly and forest terrains and a perceived geographical distance between the two. Furthermore, tribals and mainstream communities have been in constant touch with each other despite disparate geographies. This is the reason that caste system has permeated to the tribals.

Pages: 132-135 | Views: 539 | Downloads: 172

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International Journal of History
How to cite this article:
Bharat Rohin. Cast in Indian history with special reference to medieval India. Int J Hist 2021;3(2):132-135.
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