Caste System In India, Hinduism And Buddhism

Caste Development and Religious Response in Ancient India

This paper will provide a brief explanation of the development of the caste system in ancient India, and the stances and responses of Hinduism and Buddhism to the concept and practice of caste. Caste is a method of social organization in which people are divided into categories of purity in breeding and risk of pollution, based on occupation, family heritage, skin color, diet and other clustered elements, and then discriminatory rules and privileges, or the lack thereof, are assigned and enforced (Rai). In India, this system has evolved over thousands of years, originally with four and now with thousands of caste categories (Rai). Hindus (80 of India’s people) support the caste system. Buddhists do not support it, theoretically (Kawasaki and Kawasaki), but to some extent are drawn into it with their two-tier system and social pressure (hotathrandom.com). The Government of India has outlawed negative discrimination, based on caste, yet they practice positive discrimination and protect those who practice negative discrimination (hotathrandom.com). Law does not quickly change thinking and belief.
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