Caste System in India Upsc

What is Caste System?

The ancient Indian Civilization evolved with the Varnashrama Dharma that started the principle of hierarchy i.e. Upper and Lower Strata. The Varna system is also called the Four Varna System. According to the Four Varna System, the people were divided into Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vysyas, and Shudras.

This form of division on the basis of birth is inculcated and socialized along with different phases of civilization from which inequalities surfaced in the society.

Caste is an English word. But it is borrowed from the Portuguese word ‘Casta’, which means ‘pure breed’.

Caste in the Past

The evil caste system is an institution that is unique to the Indian subcontinent, among Hindus. The form of the institution is not found elsewhere in the world, but the social arrangements with similar effects are found. Caste System is the institution that is the characteristic of Hindu Society. But this caste institution is also have spread to other religious communities such as Christians, Sikhs, and Muslims.

Caste referred to a broad institutional arrangement that starts with the ancient language ‘Sanskrit’. It is referred by two terms, one is ‘Varna’ and another one is ‘Jati’.

‘Varna’, literally means Color. Varna system, in Sanskrit, means a four-fold division of the Indian society into brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra. This system excludes a large section of the population that consists of outcastes, foreigners, slaves, and others.

Outcaste, are the ones who are part of the four-fold divisions. These outcastes people are currently referred to as Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe People.


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* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.