The Persistence of the Caste System in India Nora Balidemaj Dr. brooks 8G

My Question

After reading the New York Times article where a man had to wash his own plate because of his low social ranking and where a boy committed suicide after being denied a fair and proper education even when there were laws set up to avoid the discrimination of certain castes, I wondered how the caste system could be so persistent throughout the Hindu culture. This led me to my question: Even after being outlawed, why does the Hindu caste system still pose as a barrier in the daily lives of underprivileged hindus (Dalits or outcasts) and how does this affect what should be their basic human rights?

Why does the caste system still act as a prominent part of Hindu society?

The caste system has been a principle that Hindus in India live by which separates the wealthy from the lower class. This system has been integrated into the Hindu society and is considered a fair separation based off the spiritual advancement of a person. The lower caste members are treated unjustly and are not designated to the same the same rights as people with higher social ranking. Since this system was a clear violation of the human rights that all people are entitled to, the government stepped in and declared castes illegal. Unfortunately, the damage of the caste system had already been done. Even though there was now a legal aspect to the caste system, the social infrastructure was set up in a way that created a mental barrier that is still separating the people of different castes.

How was the Social Infrastructure of India different form the Governmental policies?

The rules of the caste system are followed by all of society. The people with lower social ranking did not receive the same treatment as people who had more rights because of their spiritual advancement. This system has been followed by Hindus since the creation of Hinduism and is one of the main philosophies of Hinduism. This Hindu society had their minds set about the castes and the roles they are entitled to. When protests began to arise due to these unfair conditions the government created laws banning this. They supported the allowance of equal treatment, opportunity to jobs, as well as an equal education. Society was set up in a different way making it very hard, if not impossible to get rid of this unjust and discriminatory system

http://archives.starbulletin.com/2007/06/17/editorial/special2.html

What has happened recently that shows certain castes still being discriminated?

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-watch-dalit-men-stripped-beaten-with-iron-rod-by-cow-protection-vigilantes-in-gujarat-3-arrested-2233988

This January, a college student that was studying for his PhD committed suicide due to the school not allowing him to continue his education because of his social background. This shows that the discrimination of castes is still a large component of the lives of many. After being beaten repeatedly throughout his life as a student, 6 months before he took his own life, he was admitted to the hospital after being beaten down by a group of men that did not want an outcast on their campus. After his death, protests became violent once Indian policemen beat almost 200 outcasts to death during these protests. This clearly shows the lack of change in mindset that has happened even after regulations have been passed.

Conclusive Summary

Despite efforts made to end the caste system, this system has been and continues to be a standard used to socially classify people. The caste system has been integrated into society making it hard to intercept. Even after the Indian government stepped in and made it illegal, the social infrastructure overpowered this giving certain castes more rights than others. Since the discrimination against the less fortunate often leads to the infringement of basic human rights, many protests arose. The voices of those who wanted change were silenced by society. Hindus firmly believe in the fact that everyone was born in a certain caste because of their spiritual maturity. Everyone should be aware of the events happening around the world that are affecting their access to equal rights. The awareness of Hinduism and its beliefs is an essential aspect needed to understand the different mindsets around the world. The mindset that Hindus have regarding the caste system makes it a very controversial and interesting topic in today's world.

Cover picture: http://www.aljazeera.com/mritems/Images/2015/8/26/8e3b8fbf195e4979bf850b45bb09022d_18.jpg

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