About 1500BC, powerful nomadic warriors known as Aryans appeared in northern India. The warriors were from Central Asia, but managed to overcome the Himalayas by finding lower passes in the mountains.
About 1500BC, powerful nomadic warriors known as Aryans appeared in northern India. The warriors were from Central Asia, but managed to overcome the Himalayas by finding lower passes in the mountains. The Aryans conquered the Dravidians of Central India and imposed their social structure upon them.
The Aryans divided their society into separate castes. Castes were unchanging groups. A person born into one caste never changed castes or mixed with members of other castes. Caste members lived, ate, married, and worked with their own group.
At the top of the caste system were the Brahmin – the priests, teachers, and judges. Next came the Kshatriya, the warrior caste. The Vaisya castes were the farmers and merchants, and the Sudras, were craft workers and laborers.
The untouchables were the outcastes, or people beyond the caste system. Untouchables were often forbidden “to enter temples, schools and wells where higher castes drew water. In some parts of southern India, even the sight of untouchables was thought to be polluting. The untouchables forced to sleep during the day and work at night. Many untouchables left their rigid social structure by converting to Islam, Buddhism, or Christianity.
Caste system today
The caste system is still intact today but the rules are not as rigid as they were in the past. Because of western education, contact with foreigners, media, and modern communications, people are progressive in many aspects.