21. Caste system

In a recent global class, we were talking about life in India and how there’s something called the caste system. I was really confused when Mr. Matheny first started talking about it because to me, it was a really unfamiliar topic. As I did some research online about what this actually was, I found that it’s a Hindu religion system where people living in India are put into occupational groups. Where a person is placed in this caste system determined what kinds of jobs they can have and who they can socialize with and marry. Apparently, it was once based on personality but as time went on, it turned into something that was very hierarchical and based on a person’s occupation and birth.

The classes in descending order are:
Brahmana: Consist of those engaged in scriptural education and teaching, essential for the continuation of knowledge.
Kshatriya: Take on all forms of public service, including administration, maintenance of law and order, and defense.
Vaishya: Engage in commercial activity as businessmen.
Shudra: Work as semi-skilled and unskilled laborers.


People from lower classes couldn’t pursue high-income jobs and couldn’t marry people from higher classes. As a result, India’s economic development slowed down. Ever since it was abolished however, the influence of the caste system has been fading in India.

In Canada, we don’t have a rigid hierarchy like the caste system. Something that comes close though, is the modern class system. It consists of the lower class, working class, middle class and upper class. However, everyone is treated equally and there’s nothing that really restricts people of different classes from socializing and we’re free to aim for the jobs we want. We are also equal before the law and given the same access to public facilities such as hospitals. Unlike the caste system in India, we don’t really discriminate against other people and the difference isn’t as evident.