Untouchables in My Society

As far as I have read the autobiography of Vasant Moon, named Growing Up As Untouchables In India, it reminded me of the incidents and prejudices I have encountered in West Bengal, India. There are several castes in the society by which people’s job and social status is determined. I can remember the names of different castes. Brahmins are the top caste and they are supposed to be pundits and operate religious activities. They are respected by everyone and considered as scholars. After that, the caste is Kshatriya. People of this caste are considered as warriors. Though they are not involved with war now, they also have a respectful position in the society. The lower castes in the society are Vaissha and Shudra, who are supposed to serve the society and do odd jobs like maids, scavengers, sweepers, and laborers. Though things there have changed to a great extent, still it exists. I had seen separate hand pumps and temples for the lower castes as they are untouchables. Some extreme Brahmins used to take bath and wash their clothes if they touched or were touched by any lower caste people. Marriages between two different castes are impossible and if it happened, it used to be a great shame for the higher caste family. Even if the lower caste people become rich by hardship, they are not accepted to the upper castes.

Seeing all these social norms and prejudices, I used to sigh with relief that my social structure is not like this. But when I observed my society more closely, I questioned myself, “Is my society really free from any hierarchy?” The answer is, “NO.” The two castes in my society are the rich and the poor. Though there isn’t anything like untouchables, the social status and jobs are kind of determined by these two words. The poor are likely to do odd jobs and serve the rich. Marriages between rich and poor rarely happen and even if it happens for any circumstances, it is a shame for the rich. Thankfully, the conditions are not that extreme. At least the rich don’t take bath or sweep their home if the poor entered. Moreover, there are opportunities for the poor to change their condition and social status. Thus they can be accepted to the rich. So, eventually, no society I guess has got equality in it. Every society has this rich and poor division more or less, which I think can never be diminished totally.

About fmoriam

2 Responses to Untouchables in My Society

  1. aditi27 says:

    Thank you Farrah for your informative post about the Hindu caste system. However, Vaishyas are not considered as lower as Shudras. Vaishyas take hold of business acording to the division of castes. Being a Hindu, if there is one thing I wish there was not in Hinduism is this rigid form of caste system. This always reminds me the prejudiced Hindu societies. On the other hand, it is a positive change that have been taking place in these Hindu societies, where people are being more flexible to caste system, and the concept of untouchability is slowly disapperaing. Next, no society is free from discrimination. On one side, poeple are discriminated against caste and on the other side against class. Change does not come over night. So we can hope and work from our side to eradicate the prejudiced form of caste and class system.

  2. fmoriam says:

    Thanks Munna for the correction. 😀

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