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What is caste and list its features?

What is caste and list its features?

Course: ba sociology

1 Answer

Caste is a system of social stratification peculiar to Indian society. Cast is defined as a hereditary, endogamous, usually located group, having traditional association with an occupation and a particular position in the local hierarchy of castes. Relations between castes are governed among other things, by the concepts of purity and pollution, and generally maximum commonality occurs within the caste.

Theoretically caste system is rooted in the varna division of society into four categories—Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Shudras and a fifth category of the untouchables who though excluded from the caste frame of reference yet constitute its lowest stratum in social and ritual hierarchy. At the existential level, however, castes are divided into several sub-castes. Caste is hereditary and status is determined by the consideration of birth. Caste system has got a definite scheme of social precedence in which they are arranged in a hierarchy. Brahmins in India are at the top while the Shudras are placed at the lowest rung of social hierarchy. Concept of purity and pollution govern the inter caste relations. There are several restrictions on feeding and social intercourse and rules are laid down with regard to the kind of food that can be acceptable by a person and from what castes.


Every caste is divided into several sub-castes, each one of which forbids its members to many outside it. That is, caste is endogamous. Members of a particular caste are expected to follow the caste occupation. There are civil and religious disabilities imposed on the castes. The impure castes are made to live on the village/ town outskirts.

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December 22, 2018