Global Ambedkarites

What is the Indian caste system and how does it work?

What is the Indian caste system and how does it work?

What is the Indian caste system and how does it work?

What is the Indian caste system and how does it work?

What is the Indian caste system and how does it work?

Question details:

As an American, I am completely unfamiliar with Indian culture and have a hard time understanding what the caste system is and why it exists. Could someone provide an overview?

Answer details:

I assume you mean: What is the INDIAN caste system based on?

This answer assumes you know nothing about the Indian jati system (inaccurately translated as the caste system) and you are not an Indian.

First a little story.

The conversation is between two good looking medical students on the day of their graduation. They both find themselves very much attracted to each-other. Both are seeking an ideal life partner. At one point both start talking about their families.

GIRL : Back home my grand dad was a very poor lawyer. He would only fight cases on behalf of poor people who were falsely accused of criminal behaviour. My dad, on the other hand came to Europe and became an extremely successful Lawyer. He made tonnes of money representing famous personalities.

BOY : That’s great. Back home my grandfather too was very poor. He was a small time engineer working as a car mechanic. However, my dad ended up in business and now owns several engineering firms all over Europe and Japan.

GIRL : Sorry, I won’t be able to marry you since I’m a lawyer and you’re an engineer. And since lawyers are higher than engineers, my parents will kill you if they ever find out we’re thinking of tieing the knot.

BOY : Shame we belong to different jatis. You’re a lawyer and I’m an engineer. I wish I was a lawyer too. I could easily fall in love with you.

GIRL : It’s not all doom and gloom. Since we are going to be in the same profession (Physicians), we can hopefully work in the same practice or hospital and still be best of friends.

BOY (with a sad face): I guess you’re right.

The End (of story).

Question 1: Is the boy an engineer or a doctor?

Question 2: Is the girl a Lawyer or a doctor ?

Think about it before you read the answers. Read the story again.

Answer 1: The boy is an Engineer by caste and an aspiring doctor by profession who broke the caste rule of occupation (not too serious in modern days). He was expected by SOCIETY to become an engineer.

His father’s full name is:


X is the boys grandfathers first name and ENGINEER is the surname based on his caste.

The boys’ full name is:

Dr. BOY. INDIAN. ENGINEER. The “Indian” in the middle is the initial of his father’s first name, Indian.

ANSWER 2: The girl is a Lawyer by caste and an aspiring doctor by profession.

Her father’s first name is also INDIAN. His full name is Mr INDIAN. Y. LAWYER.

The girls’ full name is:

Dr. GIRL. INDIAN. LAWYER. The middle name ‘Indian’ is her father’s first name and LAWYER is her surname based on her father’s caste.

If she marries the boy in the story her name will change to Dr. GIRL ‘Boy’ ENGINEER. The middle name is her husband’s first name and ‘Engineer’ is the husband’s caste surname. Even though her surname has changed to ENGINEER, her caste is still of LAWYERS but her occupation is doctor.

I hope that makes it absolutely clear to you how confusing, contradictory and childish the “jati” system really is.

All in the name of maintaining hegemony by the high castes.

The jati system is a control system in which human are divided into groups and the GROUP is assigned a NAME, it’s jaat/jati/caste.

People falling in these jatis are expected to perform duties AND live in accordance with what is expected from their jati. Their jati controls almost every aspect of their life.

It is a system designed to control the masses for the benefit of the few who call themselves of the highest jatis. The lowest jatis were meant to serve the higher jatis.

It is a system in which there is not only division of labour, but division of labourers.

It is a system of graded degradation which must be annihilated if India is to survive as a progressing nation.

It is often claimed by adherents of the caste system that your caste is based on your profession. IT IS NOT. If that is so, than why not simply call it a profession?

Instead, it is your profession, like thousands of other things, that is based on the jati in which you were born. If you are, for example, from the jati teacher/ cleaner/ farmer/ entrepreneur, then you are expected to train and take up occupation ONLY as a teacher/ cleaner/ farmer/ entrepreneur. It so happens that you are expected to stay in the profession of your ancestors for life.

Thus, if your ancestors were slaves, your next generations will also be expected to do the same menial jobs as your ancestors and remain slaves. You’d be laughing if you were the masters. You’d surely then want to maintain the system if you belonged to the highest caste and most likely would want to make the jati system as rigid as possible.

Caste system is a system in which future generations are expected to do the same jobs as their ancestors for life.

Once you understand the above, you realise that the caste system is NOT based on your profession BUT..

YOUR EXPECTED PROFESSION IS BASED ON THE CASTE THAT WAS ASSIGNED TO YOUR ANCESTORS. They were MADE TO BELIEVE that they belonged to a particular jati and will always remain in that jati and system for good. Castes are man-made to control man. In reality, they don’t ACTUALLY exist.

The purpose of strict marriage laws (to marry within the same jati .was to strengthen the jati system and ensure it’s continuation. Denial of education to the lower jatis also served the same purpose. All to keep the jati system intact. As is evident today, they certainly did an excellent job ensuring that the desired result is obtained.

The jati system has been around for millennia in its most rigid form. In modern times, many from the so called high castes (as with lower castes) wish to be in lucrative occupations that never existed in the past. Today when opportunity presents itself to the young generations, they grasp it. This results in scenarios illustrated in the above story. The high castes are willing to break caste laws selectively (like entering a desired occupation not in line with their jati) but NOT break the marriage laws.

When applying for jobs and entry into higher education, here too, the privileged jatis naturally have the upper hand since the historically deprived castes have little resources and are discriminated against. It’s a catch 22 situation for them. They don’t get the jobs because they don’t have the resources (contacts, education, money etc) and they can’t build on resources unless they have adequate education and employment. Of course, there are exceptions. Some do break the cycle but even so, continue to be discriminated against.

The Reservation system :

To ensure that the historically deprived castes are given the opportunity to prove their worth and somewhat reduce discrimination, a system if reservation, in benefit of these deprived castes was proposed by Mr M.K Gandhi and his supporters and agreed in a pact with Dr B.R Ambedkar at Poona (present day Pune), called the ‘Poona Pact’. This pact was as a result of Mr Gandhi going on a fast unto death in protest of the seperate electorate that was granted to the Scheduled tribes and castes and also to ‘Other Backward Castes’.

The reservation system is a pain in the backside for the upper castes but most of them fail to understand that it will automatically be annihilated once jati is annihilated. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem this is likely to happen anytime soon. It can take a few generations for it to die out. How many generations?. Your guess is as good as mine. I say this because currently I do not know of a single prominent organisation whose sole aim is “annihilation of jati/caste (AoJ)”

Only COMPLETE Annihilation of caste will end casteism. If there are no castes, there cannot be caste discrimination. The caste system is the most vile system of social control in history, a mammoth task to end. By ‘complete’ annihilation I mean completely eradicating it ALSO from the psyche of those who (mainly from low jatis), yet understand and want to reject the caste system but, subconsciously continue to behave as if belonging to a particular caste. Brainwashed to the core, they develop caste behavior.

‘Annihilation of jaat/caste’ means to sever ALL emotional ties with the jati that your ancestors were MADE TO BELIEVE they belonged to.

Caste victims need to ask themselves the question, “In modern society, is there ANY benefit of having a caste identity?” and continually keep asking that question until caste is annihilated from within themselves.