Difference Between Caste System and Class System
Caste system vs. Class system
How ill- fitting would it be if you were born in a system where your life is already pre- destined? That if you were born by a slave you’d be a slave yourself for all your life without being given a chance to rise to the top but just die like that as you were born like that. Of course there’s a brighter side of that ill- fitting fate. If you were born of royalty, then the world is definitely brighter on your side. You’ll have more chance to be living out your life and become the most that you can be. This is the situation in India. You are either born a slave, an in-between, or a royalty. But no matter what you are born to, you will never have the chance to reconstruct or to change it. It’s just the way your life is going to be.
Yes. It is inequality. Infact this kind of social system has been banned by India itself. However, it is still widely practiced and predominant in the streets, in every household, even on working places in India. And there will be no escape because it’s ordained by the society, by the culture, and generally accepted and respected by the people. What scholars deemed as India’s only flaw, the inequality of its social stratification, is worth exploring just as the streets of this great nation.
So how do scholars define India’s unique social stratum? How is the caste system different from other social strata? Is caste system closely similar to class system? You must remember though, before you begin reading further, that both social systems exist because of inequality. Here are the characterizations of caste system and the class system.
Caste system is a very complex and intricate social system that determines social status achieved by birth. There are four different ways in which ones social status can be determined or can be controlled by caste: (1) Occupation or the work that a person does. (2) Marrying another person within their own caste only. (3) Socializing with other people within their own caste only. (4) Indulge into the religious code of belief or social ideology that reinforces or strengthens the caste system only. There are five varnas or social orders created by the Hindu god Brahman, which is highly believed to be the classification of people for the caste system. (1) Brahmans or high priests. These priests have the responsibilities to provide the spiritual and intellectual needs of the society. (2) Kshatriyas or the warriors and the rulers. These warriors and rulers have the responsibility to protect the society. (3) Vaishyas or the merchants and the land owners. These people were entrusted by Brahman for the agriculture and commerce of the society. (4) Shudras or the laborers and the artisans. These people are commissioned to do and perform all the human labor for the society. (5) The Untouchables, the lowest class where all the dirty jobs relating to bodily decay and dirt.
Class system is also achieved by birth. But the big difference with it from caste is that one’s social status can be changed. It’s more humane. If you were born a peasant, you just might have to climb up that social ladder through nit and grit to become successful in life. If you were born a royalty, then there’s also that big possibility that you’ll be sacked off your throne. Merit is achieved or given out under the class system if a person would be able to move up from a lower class to the upper class. These social climbing is best achieved through education, employment, and skills. Scholars believe that the class system is based on wealth, power and economic status. The class system is identified with three categories: the Upper class, the extremely wealthy and powerful bunch of people; the Middle class, the highly paid professionals; and the Lower class, the weak and the poor.
Caste system screams of inequality because no person can change his/her social stratum under caste system. In short, he/she is stuck as being one of the five varnas until the day that he/she dies. Class system, on the other hand, is more human as one person can climb up and down the social ladder as much as he/she can.
Caste system has been outlawed but many people in India still practice it. Class system, although not creed by the law is somehow generally observed in every modern society.
Both caste and class system’s social status are achieved by birth.
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