An Overview of the Hindu Caste System
The lowest Varna, the Shudra, is not even allowed to hear or study the Vedas based solely on their inescapable station in life as servants to the higher three classes. However, when one looks at their class system from a purely religious standpoint, you discover that the class system is not abusive in itself, and that the abuse that may take place comes from aspects of humanity outside their religious practices. Sanatanadharma breaks down society into four classes (Varnas), and the untouchables.
The caste system originated from the Vedic society where there was flexibility of changing the class but with the increasing pressure from the foreigners, Vedic scholars created a strict and rigid caste system that do not allow anyone to shift classes. The Hindu believed that it is the will of God to separate people into their respective classes. The caste system leads to the isolation and exploitation of the weak classes of the society by the upper privileged classes, since the Hindu religion and traditions view poverty and their respective social classes as the will of God.
After independence in 1948, the Untouchable caste was abolished by law although not in custom and actual social practice, while all persons were declared equal citizens before the law regardless of caste. To be sure, the caste system continues to exist in reality, especially in rural India, and influences many areas of social and economic life, although it remains incompatible with the ideas of a modern, democratic society.
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