The Persistence of The Indian Caste System By Michael deGraft-Johnson

The caste system has been around in India for centuries. It is a very important part of Hindu culture and has had a major influence in India overtime. However, the caste system has been outlawed. This has happened because there has been so much discrimination towards those in the lower castes, such as the Dalits or untouchables.

I chose this topic because it struck me as an interesting one. My reaction was , "Why would they keep doing something although it is illegal and the government forbids it?" This question was the reason I decided to look further into this topic and find out their reasons behind disobeying the government and why it was illegal in the first place.

The Dalits feel like society is unfair towards them.

The caste system was created long ago, through a book called the Mansumitri. The Mansumitri is a Hindu book of law that regards the caste system as a basic law of the religion. The caste system breaks Indian society into four groups that one would be assigned to at birth. This person then has to stay in this caste for the rest of their life. the four main castes are, the Brahmin caste which consists of priests and other religious figures, the Kashatriya which consists of kings, queens and warriors, the Vaishya which consists of merchants, and then the Shudra which consists of laborers. There is an unofficial fifth caste which is called the Dalits or the "untouchables". This caste is the lowest of the low. Because they are so low in society, it is a lot harder for them to get government jobs and get into universities. Because of this, the government created a system called the job quota system. This provides government jobs and also normal jobs for those who can't usually get them.

This is a Dalit slum in India.

Rohith Vemula was one of many Dalits students that got into a university. He was a 26 year old p.h.d student. He committed suicide on January 17, 2016. His reason for this was that " [his] birth was [his] fatal accident". He wrote a note explaining the struggles of being a Dalit while pursuing a higher education. This touched apron many who felt the same way and led to many outbreaks of violence that were sometimes deadly.

Rohith Vemula

A lot of the protests and violent outbreaks were started by the Jats. The jats are a group of farmers and traders. They happen to share the beliefs with Rohith Vemula and they ask why it is so hard for them to get into universities and to get jobs. This caused them to start many outbreaks of violence that led to many deaths.

A jat protest

Aside from those who want to cast out the caste system, there are those who think that it is a positive force in society and believe that it should not be taken away. Although the caste system is outlawed, it will never go away. There are many reasons for this, one being that there are still people that believe in it and want it to stay in place. No matter what the government tries to do, the people will try their hardest to keep this aspect of the culture alive.

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