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Word Count: 425
Caste The caste system in India is an important part of ancient Hindu tradition which dates back to 1200 BC Portuguese travelers who came to India in the 16th century first used the word caste It means race breed or lineage There are 3000 castes and 25000 subcastes in India each related to a specific occupation The purpose of the caste system is to divide Hindus of India into different social classes There are five main classes or Varnas Brahmans the highest ranked group are important people such as preachers or priests The Kyshatriyas who are people such as soldiers or warriors come next The agriculturists or salesmen are classified as Vaisyas The Sudras are the laborers and servants Harijans as named by Ghandi or the untouchables were members of the lowest social class and performed the unappealing tasks Their jobs consisted of tanning caring for the dead cleaning the toilets and carrying away human waste They were considered dirty because of their jobs High-class members presumed low class members to be so filthy that they had to stay out of their sight and do their work when it was not light outside Untouchables were looked so far down upon that they had separate entrances to homes and had to drink from separate wells Caste not only dictated ones occupation but dietary habits and interaction with members of other castes as well Members of a high caste enjoyed more wealth and opportunities while members of a low class performed menial jobs Each division of citizens has strict rules of behavior from which all members must abide Marriage only to other caste members occupation restrictions and limitations on personal contact with members of other castes are just a few of the many rules Eventually the caste system was made part of Hindu religious law It began to brake down however during the period of British Rule in India It
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