Castes Today Abby Beckler

Caste is a social status which has been going on for centuries. At the top of the chain are the Brahmins, the most spiritually connected who are the most likely to achieve moksha. Next are the Kshatriyas, or the warriors. Third is the Vaishyas, who are the merchants. And the lowest caste is the Shudras, in which the Dalits are a part of. Even though the lower castes make up most of the population, the system is still going strong because the Brahmins don't want to give up their status.

An example of the unfairness of castes is when four members of the Dalit caste, one of the lower sub castes, were caught skinning a cow. They said that the cow had already been dead, but some upper caste members did not believe them. The upper caste members killed them.

A group of Dalits, one of the lower castes, who protested after the unfair murders of four other Dalits who were accused of skinning and killing a cow.

This is not the only incident caste related to the issue of caste. "Last September, a Muslim man whose family was suspected of eating beef was killed by a mob. In March, two cattle traders were lynched in the state of Jharkhand." More Dalits are dying by the day, so because of the unfairness, people are starting to switch from Hinduism to Buddhism to escape castes.

The reason why the caste system is so prominent in India today is that upper caste men have been part of upper caste families for generations, and because they are so well off, they don't want to change that. Meanwhile, the lower caste people are so used to being pushed around by the upper castes and they don't really feel they have a choice. That is why people are starting to switch to buddhism to have a better life and a better chance at moksha/nirvana.

A visual representation of castes, with the bigger people on top representing the upper castes and the smaller people representing the lower castes

Some questions that came up because of this research are:

  • Are there police officers enforcing the an on caste and why not?
  • If it's against the law, shouldn't someone be doing something to help that law stay in power?
  • Is there going to be a repeal on this law because nobody is following it?

It is important for Americans to know the legacy of Buddhism and Hinduism in India because these legacies are still around today, for better or for worse.

A depiction of the castes of India. The person on the far left is a Brahmin, the most spiritually connected. Next came the Kshatriya, then the vaishya and lastly, the person on the right is a Shudra. (


Dore, Bhavya. "Facing Discrimination, Dalit Caste Members Are Converting toBuddhism." The Christian Century, November 23, 2016. trust this source because it is a trusted database source by Horace Mann school and the source is well known.

Editorial Board, The. "Modi and India's Dalits." New York Times (New York City,USA), August 3, 2016. Accessed November 30, 2016.

Tassir, Aatish. "India's Eternal Inequality." New York Times (New York City,USA), October 12, 2016. Accessed November 30, 2016. I trust this source because this is an article that we discussed in class from a well known and trusted source.

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