group of clans following particular culture, tradition and beliefs

The caste system is a system in India that was once mainly used by Hindus. This system has been generally accepted for about 3000 years. There are four castes in this system, and one outcast group regarded as "untouchables". There are also castes in countries other than India as the system spread to South Asia about 2000 years ago. For centuries, this system has dictated one's marriages, geographical location, and occupation. People must not marry someone from another caste, and they must not do things that another caste does. The Indian government today works to decrease this discrimination with the quotas set in government jobs in 1950.

  • Brahmin - priests and scholars
  • Kshatriya - warriors and kings
  • Vaishya - merchants and landowners
  • Shudra - peasants and labourers
  • Untouchables or Dalits - came much later after the other four groups and consisted of people who did jobs considered ritually polluting. This included sweeping ashes after cremations or ridding of animal waste or skinning animals such as cows.