India has stratified social hierarchy known as caste system. Its complex history is interesting and this Caste system has evolved from Thousands of years Development Caste is a term used to specify a group of having a specific social rank. This System is believed to be adopted around 1500 BCE.
Jati is Indian Hindi word that is used to denote a community and few communities of almost same ranks make a “Varna”
Varna is a Sanskrit word, which literally means “Colour”, described in Veda to represent and stratify Indian society. According to Veda there are four “Varna’s”
Brahman, highest in social ranks, learned people who were supposed to do Priest and teaching works.
Kshatriyas, second highest in social ranks, warriors and rulers of kingdoms.
Vaishyas, third in social ranks, indulged in trading and commercial works.
Shudras, the lowest in society, servant labor of lower class
Vedas do not mention Untouchability in their text. The untouchable practice came in to existence in medieval India. The lowest was treated as untouchables. Vedas before coming in to its written form were transmitting from one generation to another in Oral form. Any of the hymns of Veda don’t describe untouchables. But this was a Strong practice in British India and this was so powerful that Legislation has given a reservation for Lower caste to upgrade them to equality.
According to Indian Mythology “Brahmin are born Head of Brahma (GOD), Kshatriyas are from Hands, Vaishya from two thighs and the Sudras from his feet.”
Muslims of India also have a caste system.
Ashrafs Highest status Muslim
Ajlafs lower status Muslims
Like Hindu caste system Untouchables practice was common in Indian Muslims. Arzal caste was regarded as untouchables,
Marriages and caste system:
Instances of inter-caste marriage were very few in India in last century. Though in last few years Indian Society is seems to be accepting the Inter-caste marriages. One cannot imagine the wrath of Indian society showered on couples who married inter-caste. Even today in few states, the inter caste marriage is not acceptable. Marriage between Brahman sub castes is very accepted but marriage between a Brahman and a Shard is not acceptable.
Castes in India have numbers of sub caste. Marriages in Sub caste of same caste are acceptable but marriage between persons of two different castes is not acceptable.
Before 30 years from now Inter -caste marriages were rare. Records Speaks that thousands of Couples got killed who tried to go against the caste system. A long story of tears is embedding in this caste system. Now India, in its constitution, has given rights to every citizen to marry at this will. But even today maximum numbers of Indian marriages are arranged and to a large extent are forced. Many couples have abandoned by their family. Couples who have seen or facing the social boycott are the best to elaborate the story.
Dower system in India
Dowry, known as Dahej in India, is a payment of an amount in cash or in form of given to bridegroom’s family along with the bride. Though sex ratio in India is low (940 females per 1000 males) but even then this dowry is a naked fact of India. Every 60 per 1000 will not able to form a couple if we arrange them in couples. But this hard fact is known to everyone that Dowry is the first thing what most of the Indian family discuss while agreeing to tie the knots of their children.
Dowry system puts a financial burden and it’s been one of the reasons for families of India wants a sons. Many incidents in Haryana, Rajasthan have come in the light where a girl fetus was identified and killed. Asking or paying dowry is a punishable act under The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act by Sections 304B and 498a of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Contrary to what many thinks Indian dowry system was not a practice before European rule in India.
Prior to European rule native population of Indian rejected dowry, as they believed that society would say that this is a buy husbands of a women. In 2011 alone, more than 7000 dowry deaths were reported in India. Even national capital Delhi records hundreds of Dowry deaths every year. Dowry is an ancient practice of India and even Vedas prescribe dowry in form of money and gifts at time of wedding. Though Vedas also mention some marriages where Bridegroom offers money to marry a maiden. Veda recommends the donation of cows and gifts to Bridegroom as a financial help to start a new wedded Life. Dowry is condemned by Indian Constitution and Government Strictly working to eradicate this problem.
- Education is the best way to eradicate this Problem. An educated society can give equal rights to women.
- Demanding or accepting dowry is a punishable offence. A woman makes family and she has same rights and privileges a man has according to constitution of India.
- A whistleblower is a need to prevent dowry murder. If anyone sees any domestic violence must report it. Any ill treatment towards a bride is crime and must be reported to local police station immediately.
- Women must raise their voice about this ill-treatment and must fight for their rights. Government has made arrangement for fast track justices these cases. There are many women organizations which help and cast their support to the women in such pain
- Parents of Groom and bride are advised to say no dowry. Those who are blessed with a girl child must educate the girl so that she could find her place in the society. Say a complete no to the Dowry asking proposals. Money cannot be basis of a relationship.
Dowry and caste system are, like two diseases which are downgrading society. A lot of brutal acts have happened. The only satisfactory thing is that the dowry cases and rigidity of caste system is lowering down. Hope! We’ll see the day when these all ill practices will be eradicated completely from system.