A lower caste woman
A lower caste woman
The caste system schema
The caste system schema
The protest
The protest

I happen to see a program in BBC few days back, about the poor in the developing India. I, being a ‘proud’ Indian, coming from the South, was shocked to see the plight of the so called ‘Dalits’ or lower-caste, poor section of a village in North India. It was then that I realized the burden of caste system and untouchables still haunt the fast developing country of mine.

Few months back, I had the privilege to read the Booker prize winning Novel ‘The White Tiger’ by the Indian writer Aravind Adiga. It is about a North Indian named Balram Halwai, who was a successful student at school (his teacher nicknamed him ‘White Tiger’, someone extra-ordinary compared to the remaining students) dropped out to pay debts to his landlord. This first time novelist begins his novel with a smirk for the West; it is the time of the East; it is the domination of the Chinese and the Indians; the era of the brown and yellow skinned. He describes through the words and thoughts of his central character Balram about the caste system, the oppression of the lower caste at the hands of the upper caste landlords, of why South India is better and advanced technology-wise than the superstitious North, and the Holy Black River Ganga full of unburned body pieces. I read it with a smile and a smirk...thought Adiga was exaggerating a lot...wondered what made the jury give him the Booker prize.

The BBC program to me in fact was a real eye opener. The presenter gratefully presented the facts; the misery, poverty, hunger and every suffering of the Dalits. They hardly have proper schools or colleges to educate their kids whereas the landlord’s kids are often sent to city schools and colleges. With no good education, they hardly can find good jobs. They thus end up doing some menial jobs like pulling a rickshaw or cart; or tilling the farms of their landlord, in exchange for which they receive few rice grains. And if the monsoon fails, they are doomed; not even those numbered rice grains. They end up starving; sometimes they resort to stealing crops (usually mango, sugarcane etc) from their landlord’s property; for which if caught they are beaten to death by their landlord’s goondas. The landlord’s goondas are known for their notorious activities like breaking the limbs and killing their ‘prey’ mercilessly; these mainly take place in the dark, at night.

Out of starvation, many are malnutritioned. Some end up eating what is available; that is RATS. The program showed how they put up sticks and fire to burn the rats they caught from under the ground. To the British presenter, that would have been his unique BBQ!

Because these villages have nothing to offer them other than miseries and death threats, many Dalits like Adiga’s Balram leave for metro cities. Life for them in cities like Mumbai is also hard; no homes, only slum or tent; it is difficult to find work; more competitive…but they struggle happily, having to escape their merciless landlords and the burden of the caste system. Life is a hope for them in these Metros.

Like how Adiga puts it, I feel my South is a ‘Haven’ even though it has no Holy Ganga flowing; particularly in my beautiful ‘God’s Own Country’ which boasts of 100% literacy and with moderate communists in rule there is no trace of landlords who purge on someone else’s blood.

How did the Caste system originate?

In a religion like Hinduism, which views the world as one family, contributed yoga and meditation, the counting system and numbers to the world, this evil must have crept in slowly in the Later Vedic Age, supported by the then law makers and Kings. Earlier, people practiced work that was passed down by their fathers. If you are born into a family of barbers, you are to take up that profession. I should say our society was too organized and strict. You can’t choose the job you like!

If we examine our Holy Texts like Mahabharata and Ramayana, Lord Krishna was born into the family of Cowherds, so not an upper caste. In the long run, some would have taken advantage of the system and exploited the weak. No wonder India produces lot of Phoolan Devis (a Dalit ‘Bandit Queen’ who killed her Landlord).

It has had many disastrous effects in our society than the Slavery practices of the West, even to this day. It is a shame that the Indian Government does practically nothing to save these Dalits from the clutches of the iron handed Landlords!

More by this Author


    The city of Bangalore is known as India’s Hi-Tech city or the Garden city or the more familiar term, the ‘Silicon Valley of India’. But lately its residence dared to rename it as the city of stray...

Comments 26 comments

SEO Expert Kerala profile image

SEO Expert Kerala 7 years ago from KERALA

Caste system still in tamil nadu ..... uneducated states in india are following the caste system ..Educated states like Kerala ,Delhi etc...are not following the caste system

athulnair profile image

athulnair 7 years ago from India

nowadays lower caste is getting benefit in the name of reservation.....

AnishG profile image

AnishG 6 years ago from India

I'm from Punjab and no, I don't think caste system is still prevalent here. And yes, true athulnair - there are reservations in almost every field, especially education.

mahajan 6 years ago

Unfortunately the system which brought about the downfall of India still exists in various forms even in Mumbai

samuel welsh 6 years ago

this system is pure evil,God hates it

jh 5 years ago

tum tik nai who

Bvijadfveijpfvqidvuo 5 years ago

Q eugcwuihmwhuscuo

Jitendra 5 years ago

Unfortunately C System is still in practice. Same as it was during earlear ages, you can visit any village in Uttar Pradesh nd find for ur own

Jitendra 5 years ago

In Uttar Pradesh, the so called pandits(upper caste) still call people by their caste name (so called surname) nd its really humiliating. The person is not identified by his position or quality but forced to be known by his caste only(life long). So called dalits are still being treated as untouchable nd its sitll in practice.

Caroline 4 years ago


C is everywhere even in your Kerala and Delhi.... but in southern states, where there is a dravidian population, the effect is less... You cannot compare north and south India where even villagers have a different attitude.... here landlords r from different communities and all work together... even the smallest village has a primary education.... I always ask y reservations? but ur article was a eye opener yes reservations r required along with awareness in North India 4 years ago

yes, we can not tell boldly that, educated states are safe from the caste system. but still caste system is existing in Kerala which is not much visible but burning within the hearts

raza 4 years ago

If you study the four thousand history of india then you can know that it caused fall of india through out the history because if you don't give right to qual life to all

this distory the society. You can see high caste hindus had creat this system to govern the india for ever but may be only the india which has been governed by foreigner through out the history.

hi 4 years ago

hi hi hi hi hi

pramodgokhale profile image

pramodgokhale 4 years ago from Pune( India)

It is shame ,it is curse.India is still feudal and backward .I born in upper caste, but could not tolerate disparity in the system.

In rural India nothing has changed ,caste based system exists and affluent class dominates.

suhaani 2 years ago

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”

suhaani 2 years ago

"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."

Be a nice human being is important not to have a good or high religion and caste.We need to work towards uniting the nation instead of splitting it. Work towards a society in which there will be no lower castes and no upper castes. We need to respect the way people live instead of looking at where they were born.

suhaani 2 years ago

All human-beings are equal in the eyes of God.The human-beings have only created the caste system.There are good and bad people in both high caste as well as low caste.Ultimately,what matters to God is, whether one is a good person or striving to become one, or not..

One who thinks himself to be of a high caste is actually low. While one who thinks himself/herself to be of low caste is said to be high caste.As per the scriptures, people are known by their nature and the quality of work they perform..

You cannot put people in high and low rank the basis of religious belief and caste. But those people do this who has a problem in their mind..

God doesn’t need Brahmin priest, god isn’t so narrow minded. god accept everyone. actually Brahmin priest needs god to make money..

suhaani 2 years ago

The brahmin community has been one of the dirty communities which has planned strategically to fool people in the name of god by generating the highest donations in the temple, doing business to fool and loot money in the name of puja, death, marriage, new home… For any occasion, there’s one puja. They charge very high prices and take away all the items after the puja. They have created prostitution in the name of devadasis. They suppress jobs and employment and welfare and equality are destroyed. they have destroyed the Indian medical system. They have killed Indian medical science like siddha vaidhyam and created ayurveda and carnatic music by destroying dravidian music. Even today they have the temples under their control. They say they don’t like untouchables, but they have always been sexually harassing low caste women.

suhaani 2 years ago

All Hindu communities in the country follow the varnashram system of Aryans and have divided the society in four castes – Kshatryas, Brahmins, Vaishyas and Shudras. Sindhis do not have such division in their society. They never followed a rigid caste system. That is why Sindhis are considered to be only businessmen. All members of the society inter-mingle with one another without any consideration of four castes of Aryans. There are no untouchables in Sindhis…..These religion and caste set up by mad and stupid people to control others not by god…who are still mentally sick they are following this castesim blindly..i must say be like all sindhi..leave these castesim and make only one hindu religion like sindhi religion don't create any caste,community and class…bcs its only give you tension and create problems for your own self..

who divided society in caste line……only stupid and mentally sick hindu..first change your thinking that all people as a human being so the system ll be change itself like sindhi religion, make one religion and killed the bloody varan system n caste system…you ll b more happiest person in this world if you all mad hindu change ur narrow minded thinking about these caste n class…Because “I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being–neither white, black, brown, or red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family there’s no question of integration or intermarriage. It’s just one human being marrying another human being or one human being living around and with another human being.”

suhaani 2 years ago

The Almighty Brahmin! by Khushwant Singh

Whatever be the sphere of curiosity – literary, scientific, bureaucratic, or whatever, the Brahmin remains the top dog. Before I give details, we should bear in mind that Brahmins form no more than 3.5% of the population of our country. My statistics come from a pen friend, Brother Stanny, of St. Anne’s Church of Dhule in Maharashtra.They hold as much as 70% of government jobs. In the senior echelons of the civil service from the rank of deputy secretaries upward, out of 500 there are 310 Brahmins, i.e. 63%. Of the 26 state chief secretaries, 19 are Brahmins; of the 27 Governors and Lt. Governors 13 are Brahmins; of the 16 Supreme Court Judges, 9 are Brahmins; of the 330 judges of High Courts, 166 are Brahmins; of 140 ambassadors, 58 are Brahmins; of the total 3,300 IAS officers, 76 [per cent?] are Brahmins. Of the 508 Lok Sabha members, 190 were Brahmins; of 244 in the Rajya Sabha, 89 are Brahmins.This 3.5% of Brahmin community of India holds between 36% to 63% of all the plum jobs available in the country.

suhaani 2 years ago

Whole world think that India has many castes which are main reason of discrimination of people but its very very big misconception of caste system spread around the world to defame culture of India because it was the biggest systematically designed system for people from thousands of years. Now let me tell you what is meaning of varna and caste system in India and how its was started. In Ancient India there were two great saints, one was saint Bhrigu and other was saint Bhardwaj. They met to discuss how to structure a stable society for human being to live proper life, First they recognized the four sources which are:

1. Knowledge 2. Weapons 3. Wealth 4. Land ( but all these category come under one religion so don't divide your own people into high and low caste..just stop this nonsense and cheapness.)

They decided to make system where nobody has more than one of that. These should not be in one hand, not even two should be in one hand. So those who has knowledge will not have wealth, will not have weapons and will not have lands. Those who will have weapons will rule the country but they will not make policy. They need to go to people having knowledge to seek their permission and advice. Those who are having wealth, their social status will be decided by the how much philanthropy they do not by their wealth. Those who has lands have to produce for the society. In fact none of these four category or “varna” was based on by birth.

suhaani 2 years ago

We always talk about religion and castesim but in reality there is no any caste and religion. We all are same our blood are same.then why we believe in discrimination. God never created any caste they made simple human being.. Mentally sick people take the path of fundamentalism and spread casteism and communism. They suffer from inferiority complex and divide the society into “we” and “they”. They (belonging either to higher or lower ranked caste) have a fear in their heart that if they do not get a higher place for themselves in society, “other” people are going to exploit them and going to put them down.They don’t have believe on themselves and their own work. They have doubt own their capability. People with negative mindset suffer from inferiority complex and divide society into compartments like higher castes or lower castes.and can’t tolerate “others” progress or well-being. They cannot work hard and cannot tolerate anybody else’s achievements. These are the people with negative mindset who believe in ranking some belonging to higher castes and/or some to lower castes. They are coward and they are unable to protect themselves…

suhaani 2 years ago

insaan apne guno se upar uthta hai unche staan pr baith jane se nhi..caste n community created by mad people jin logo ko khud ko dusro se shreshth batane ke liye apne aapko ek high community mein rakh liya or dusro ko niche dikhane ke liye lower community mein rakh diya gaya bina unki marzi jane...i want to tell to all mad hindu people community ye decide nhi kregi ki tum kitne high or low ho...tumhare karam tumhe upar or niche girane wale hai...arre god ne insaan banaye hai caste nhi...n listen aisa hota toh christan or muslim mein bhi aise hi char community hoti bt tum log unko as all christan n as all muslim hi bolte ho...tum katar hindu logo ne khudh hi apne bando ko khudh se alag kr diya...char community hai hindu mein let me explain it to very well ok...hindu ko as a body lo us body ke char hisse tum stupid logo ne char hiso mein describe kiya ..1st brahmin jisko sir ka staan diya or kshatriye ko bhuja or vaishya ko pait ka or tum sabki favorite community shudr jisko per ka staan diya....ab batao agr per kat doge toh kya apni manzil ki taraf tunde ho ke jayoge tum sb apahiz ho yaad rkhna..agr hmari body ka ek part bhi kat jaye toh hum apahiz kehlate hai toh tum stupid hindu khudh apahiz ban chuke ho..ek bade se bada brahmin or devta bhi jb apne maa baap ntmastak hone ke liye sir jhukata hai toh woh uske charno ko choone ke liye toh akal ke andho sabse uncha staan toh shudr log prapt kr chuke hai...tum nhi tum gire huye ghatiya egoist bande ho jisko god bhi narak mein dalega....i m also brahmin bt i hate castsim okh....say no to community n no caste den reservation should be stop itself...abroad isliye develop kr raha hai bcs unka mind indian ghatiya logo ki tarah nhi hai especially katar hindu..1000 saal baadh bhi india mein koi development nhi hogi yeh aise hi high low ke liye hi mrte rahenge...

suhaani 2 years ago

Many a time, man has taken birth in high caste and low caste; but this does not make him great or lowHaving been born in high caste man thinks himself to be great and being born in low caste thinks himself to be low and pitiable; both of these states of mind are wrong because many times man has been born in high and low castes. Hence, one should not be proud of having been born in high caste and not feel low if born in low caste family.

Greatness has nothing to do with high caste. Man becomes great because of his noble work, exemplary character and becomes loathsome because of his immorality and evil conduct. Thus, it is his conduct only that decides his greatness or lowliness. Who does not know that high family born Ravana, Kansa, Duryodhana and others are censurable; whereas Metarya muni, Harikeshi muni and others, though born in low family, are venerable.

Then, what is the importance of high or low caste?

suhaani 2 years ago

Hindu (body) four community: brahmin (head) kshatriya (arm) vaishya (belly) shudra (feet) All these four community called as hindu. We all are parts of one body. Without each part our body is not complete. If we lost one part of our body then we become handicap. The human body is the entire structure of a human being. Human Body is considered so loving that God even wants to have it. Spiritual Yogis have found that after going through the 84 millions species this souls get the most dignified human body. So it is the last step to explore the God or to get the view of almighty father god. We know that the soul never dies it takes birth again and again just like as we take new clothes to wear the soul as it takes new body and it is an infinite process. But the body what we get in next birth depend on our karma that thas been cited in Gita by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. We all here to perform our duties. Our action makes our destiny and nothing else. The result is in the hand of supreme power. Karma is the seed of plant and if the seed is genuine it must be fruitful.

suhaani 2 years ago

Some stupid people living in India that's why this country cant be develop anymore as the other countries are well developed. Bcoz indian people live in caste-ism and egoist by nature especially who belong to upper class which is created by themselves not created by God.God only created human being..He didn't put any human in high and low category..This cheap things only created by some mad people itself who live in India..and they be proud by called themselves hindu..I am also hindu but I feel bad when every person who proudly said they are hindu but their thinking is so narrow its depend on human what they want to become Devil or Angel..Nobody is lower and higher by caste or religion..they become high and low by their behavior..Reservation should be stop itself when you all leave this stupid casteism..Say no caste and no community..All are hindu who live in hindustaan understood..

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article