Wednesday, July 24

What are the Theory and Features of the Caste System in India?

The word “caste” comes from the Portuguese and Spanish word “casta,” which means “race, lineage, or breed.” When the Portuguese referred to the hereditary Indian social groups known as “jati” in India, they used the term “cast” in the modern sense. The word “Jati” derives from the root “Jana,” which denotes birth. Caste, therefore, has an interest in birth. Students are taught about caste in class 10. They occasionally struggle to fully comprehend the caste structure. Hence, they seek online tuition for class 10. There, they get clear answers from the teachers. They get comfortable asking questions because they get a one-on-one session.

The theories of the Caste System in India

There are numerous hypotheses that attempt to explain the Indian caste system, including traditional, racial, political, occupational, and evolutionary ones.

Traditional Theory

This theory contends that the caste system has divine roots. The four varnas also developed from Bramha’s body, and the caste system is an extension of the varna system.

In terms of social standing, the Brahmins, who were mostly scholars and educators and were descended from Brahma, were at the top. The Kshatriyas, or warriors and kings, sprung from his arms. He produced the traders, or vaishyas, using his thighs. The Shudras, who fell from Brahma’s foot, were also at the bottom.

The Shudras’ mission is to serve everyone else, and while the mouth symbolizes its function for preaching, studying, etc., the arms serve as defense, the thighs are used for labor or commerce, and the feet sustain the entire body. Sub-castes only emerged later as a result of inter-varna marriages.

Racial Theory

Sanskrit’s “varna,” which also means “color,” is the term for “caste.” The stratification of caste in Indian civilization began with the chaturvarna system, which made distinctions between Brahmins, Kashtriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. In his book “Races and Civilization in India,” Indian researcher D.N. Majumdar argues that the caste system emerged following the arrival of the Aryans.

The Varna system, which was in existence during the Vedic era, was built on the division of work and employment. In the Rig Veda, references to the three classes of Brahma, Kshatra, and Vis are common. The warrior-chief was symbolized by Brahma, while the poet-priest was represented by Kshatra, respectively. Vis included everyone in the community. The term “Sudra,” the name of the fourth class, appears just once in the Rig Veda. Sudras was the term used to describe domestic assistance.

Political Theory

This hypothesis holds that the Brahmins devised the caste system as a cunning means of elevating themselves to the top of the social scale. In order to win the king’s favor, the Brahmins even incorporated the idea of the king’s spiritual merit through the priest or purohit.

Occupational Theory

The hierarchy of castes is determined by occupation. Those who worked in those better-regarded and respectable professions were seen as superior to those who worked in filthy occupations.

Evolution Theory

This idea contends that the caste system did not emerge overnight or on a specific day. It is the outcome of a protracted societal evolution process.

The features of the Caste System of India

Segmental Division of Society

The several little social groups that make up society are referred to as castes. Each of these castes is an advanced social class known as a caste. However, each of these castes is a sophisticated social organization whose membership is based on a person’s birth.


Castes teach us a fundamental social concept of hierarchy, claims Louis Dumont. In this hierarchy, the untouchable caste is at the bottom and the Brahmin caste is at the top. The intermediate castes are in the middle, although their relative positions are not always clear.


Endogamy violations will result in caste loss and social exclusion. Hypergamy and hypogamy, however, were also common. Each caste maintains gotra exogamy as well. Based on gotra, every caste is divided into numerous minor divisions.

Hereditary status and occupation

The hereditary profession is one of the two characteristics of the caste system mentioned by the Greek traveler Megasthenes in 300 B.C. The other attribute is endogamy.

A particular name

Each caste has a unique name that we can use to identify it. An occupation may occasionally be linked to a specific caste.

You have it! These are the theory and principal features of the caste system of India. Students of class 10 get to study the caste system in detail. You will also get proper guidance on this topic in an Online Tutoring Service. Moreover, online tutors help students to clear any political science doubts. They give proper education guidance as they are well-experienced. Students get daily and weekly live classes. An online tutor supports and guides the students throughout the course. Getting yourself in an online tuition class help you get high grades.


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