Features of Caste System
(a) From times immemorial human society has been riddled with inequalities & discrimination from the beginning of civilization we find some or other form of hierarchy in society. The society has always been divided into various classes having different rights & privileges & each enjoying a unique distinction & status in society. The classification & stratification in society have always been governed by some definite principle. As a matter of fact neither all persons in a society are equal nor are the various functions in the society of equal value. Therefore, in order to maintain some system & order in society it is necessary to establish a hierarchy of functions in society. In different societies the principal behind the hierarchical arrangement of functions in different. In some societies the distinction between classes is based on the relationship of master classes. Still in some other societies the governing principle of this distinction is caste system. In the modern industrial society, the classification & stratification of society is based upon the concept of economic classes. The society today divided into the classes of capitalists & labour.
As refused to above, the basis of distinction between classes in society is different in different countries & different times. This basis is sometimes biologic, sometimes biologic, sometimes historic & sometimes religious. As a matter of fact in the stratification any society are reflected its values & ideals. In a religious society the genus & god men enjoy a place of pride. In a martial society warriors & conquerers occupy top positions. On the other hand, in a capitalist society the wealthy persons are on top. In some industrialized societies like the Japanese, the technocrats occupy privileged positions. Thus it is apparent that in different societies the basis of distinction among classes is different.
In the Indian society the caste system has had a unique role & importance. The social stratus of a person was determined by his caste. The urbanization has diminished the role of caste. Falls are the salient features of the impact of urbanization upon the Indian caste system. (Kumar P-124).
(b) The status system of developing countries generally change at a slower pace than these of industrialized countries class & caste lines & other status distinctions were hardened by centuries of observance. But with the introduction & application of modern forms of technology & organization, together with the diffusion of ideologies favorable to social change, the tradition ally rigid status system has been undermined, although not necessarily abandoned. Much of this change has occurred in cities, but the values & life styles associated with a more flexible status system have filtered into the rural sectors, planting the seeds of the "revolution of rising expectations". The caste system of India has existed in its pristinely rigid forms in the villages more than in the cities. Although the system is still intact as a group concern, its functions & to some extent to structure has changed considerably in recent decades. No longer is it the tyrant that determines the status & life chances of the individual Hindu. The society has moved more in the direction of an open class system with emphasis an achievement rather than ascription.
In most urban-industrial societies there has been a long-time trend towards equalization of rights & privileges for all classes in which the power of the elite has been reduced. Almost every industrial country & many developing societies have extended voting rights to adults on all social levels, minimum –ways laws to "improve the economic position of the working classes & graduated income taxes utilized as a 'share the wealth' principle. Numerous other institutional devices to equalize opportunities have been adopted including, social security for the unemployed, children, the physically handicapped & ill & retired persons; education for the masses, free public recreational facilities & a judicial system to protect the rights of individual whatever their position in the social structure may be. Yet the concentration of economic & political power in most urban industries is still formidable. Cutting across the various levels of a class structure are such components as race ethnicity & religion, each adding to the complexity of the system.