The things is inter-caste marriage is the best way for caste to be eliminated, and since that is hardly happening, doubt it'll go away anytime soon. Hell, Indians on matrimonials openly advertise theirs and ask for partners of specific caste.
I have found that one of the quickest ways to be sure that the answer you get for that question matches what you’d like is to open them up to the possibility you might not get married at all. If my parents ever cared about that, they sure don’t now, and they’re nowhere near desperate ;)
I don't know you or your kids. So I'll just leave that as a general warning and hope you can make the right decision as to allowing your kids many good choices while keeping them from making a really bad one.
Off topic but this is something that grinds my gears.
India didn't have a post WW2 baby boom, there are no Indian boomers. Etymology aside, Boomer is used to signal generational privilege which also doesn't apply to India.
Also, who someone is isn't set in stone. It can be molded by those around them.
This test will fail because it doesn't account for what truly is caste in people's minds. Even among those who do not want to discriminate, different castes represent different daily cultures, traditions and even languages. So the question becomes on if they are comfortable with someone from a different culture - and that answer is almost always no.
I mention it because, a spouse of a different culture can be a wonderful thing. Language, food, daily culture are a constant source of enjoyment and growth.
Watch his reply to your post where he cleverly passes off muslims and Christians as invader cultures, without you noticing.
Right I totally forgot about the different languages that exist in India. Or the different religious ceremonies. Or the different Gods people worship. All those must somehow not mean the culture is different.
> Watch his reply to your post where he cleverly passes off muslims and Christians as invader cultures, without you noticing.
Those are your words, not mine. I suggested no such thing. The people of India today, irrespective of their religions, are all equally Indians. But to claim that there were no religious wars in the past (and even the present) and that there was no effect of religious conversion on hardening of stance on culture in Hinduism is naive and ignoring a big problem.
There is also a HUGE difference between talking about people today vs 5 centuries ago. We should be able to talk openly about the impact of foreign conquests in India without negatively impacting the people of those religions in the country today.
Historically speaking, India was once a Buddhist country. Buddhism was violently suppressed and eliminated by the caste based Brahmin kings. Is this what you are referring to when you are talking about - "religious wars in the past (and even the present) and that there was a sizeable effect of religious conversion on hardening of stance on culture in Hinduism is naive and ignoring a big problem."?
The Brahmins took over control with a caste based system - apparently still active in California. Over time the new Indian dynasties which arose after the 7th and 8th centuries tended to support the Brahmanical ideology and Hinduism, and this conversion proved decisive. These new dynasties, all of which supported Brahmanical Hinduism, include "the Karkotas and Pratiharas of the north, the Rashtrakutas of the Deccan, and the Pandyas and Pallavas of the south" (the Pala Dynasty is one sole exception to these). The persecution of Buddhism started as early as in life or soon after the death of King Ashoka (Gonandiya). D.N. Jha writes that according to Kashmiri texts dated to the 12th century, Ashoka's Son Jalauka was Shaivite and was responsible for the destruction of many Buddhist monasteries. The story of Jalauka is essentially legendary, and no independent corroboration of the Kashmir tradition has been discovered. Patanjali, a famous grammarian stated in his Mahabhashya that Brahmins and Sharamanas (Buddhists) were eternal enemies With the emergence of Hindu rulers of the Gupta Empire, Hinduism saw major revivalism in the Indian subcontinent which challenged Buddhism which was at that time at its zenith. Even though the Gupta Empire was tolerant towards Buddhism and patronized Buddhist arts and religious institutions, Hindu revivalism generally became a major threat to Buddhism which led to its decline. A Buddhist illustrated palm-leaf manuscript from the Pala period (one of the earliest Indian illustrated manuscripts to survive in modern times) is preserved in University of Cambridge library. Composed in the year 1015, the manuscript contains a note from the year 1138 by a Buddhist believer called Karunavajra which indicates that without his efforts, the manuscript would have been destroyed during a political struggle for power. The note states that 'he rescued the 'Perfection of Wisdom, incomparable Mother of the Omniscient' from falling into the hands of unbelievers (who according to Camillo Formigatti were most probably people of Brahmanical affiliation). In 1794 Jagat Singh, Dewan (minister) of Raja Chet Singh of Banaras began excavating two pre Ashokan era stupas at Sarnath for construction material. Dharmarajika stupa was completely demolished and only its foundation exists today while Dhamekh stupa incurred serious damage. During excavation, a green marble relic casket was discovered from Dharmarajika stupa which contained Buddha's ashes was subsequently thrown into the Ganges river by Jagat Singh according to his Hindu faith. The incident was reported by a British resident and timely action of British authorities saved Dhamekh Stupa from demolition.
Omvedt states that while Buddhist institutions tended to be less involved in politics, Hindu brahmins provided numerous services for Indian royalty:
However, there is no theological opposition to other gods or atheism within modern Hindu culture. It is in fact a reason why Hindus have millions of gods and are encouraged to make more.
That stands in stark contrast with Christianity or Islam, which has not waged religious wars just in India but in much of the world.
Moreover, the disappearance of much of the ancient religions and cultures can be attributed to just these two religions.
> that is what happens in reality
Are you claiming a "mid" caste family given two marriage proposals:
1. To a brahmin spouse
2. To a lower caste spouse
with everything else being equal (including geographic region) will reject both with equal probability?
If everything is the same, would a rational actor not pick the one which is more advantageous?
Edit: splitting this comment into a reply. Please downvote or upvote individually...
I feel like the quest for universal equality is like the quest for a universal compression algorithm, futile. everyone is unique, so you can’t equalize people.
The most productive and happy path forward is to think about the individuals (yourself and your counterparty).
It’s not your group against the world. It’s you against the world. And it’s not your group at your disposal, it’s the world at your disposal.
On some level it feels to me like it's something Indian folks don't share because they feel it would be misunderstood (which makes a lot of sense). Or maybe it's a kind of "not airing out the laundry in public."
I would love feedback on this. Thanks.
Hindus believe that humans are like dogs and they have a breed. So a person who is born in a higher caste is of a better breed than a person born in a lower caste. Numerous genetic studies have found no significant difference amongst Indian castes. The moment an upper caste person realizes that you are a lower caste, you will be made fun of and ridiculed. Caste is also tied to your last name, so when a Hindu person says his full name he is telling his First name and his Caste. Which is why brahmins will be the first ones in a group to say their full name, while dalits will only meekly say their first name. The entire religion and caste system was built to make people feel shameful of their last name. In fact, some last names of lower castes are commonly used as abuses by upper caste.
It is the worst form of discrimination known to man and it's horrible how hindu society openly supports and promotes it. While slavery lasted only for a couple of hundred years, caste system has been going on for millennia. Dalit atrocities are common in India even today and everyday 10s of lower castes dalits are raped, killed , tortured and humiliated just because they were born a lower caste Hindu. Upper caste hindu managers openly look down on lower caste hindus, even in the US , and will discriminate against them. Caste shame is also inbuilt in a lot of Dalit hindus and they themselves feel embarrassed while even saying their full name.
One of the best things I did after coming to this country was to convert to christianity and a few of my dalit hindu friends have done too. Upper caste hindus have no problem seeing a converted christian as their equal, but they would still regard a hindu dalit as inferior. Hinduism has a huge conversion problem even in India, and it is the fastest shrinking religion in the world.
This is the country where “Yankee Doodle” started out as an anti-American insult by the Brits and ended up being one of the nation’s favorite songs. The nation that used the N-word seriously until around 1965, then by 1975 it had been completely co-opted by people like Richard Prior, and later hip-hop artists. Just so you know, I am married to someone whose parents forbade her to go out with me because of my race. Before I married her another girlfriend stopped dating me because I wasn’t black. Before that, another girlfriend’s parents tried to stop her relationship with me because I wasn’t Jewish. Now that I have a passel of mixed-race kids... guess who makes endless racial jokes? All of us. It drives our friends crazy.
I’d have a DALIT license plate. I’d have a line of DALIT T-shirts. I’d shove it right in people’s faces for the sheer enjoyment of it. I would totally kill it with the DALIT merch.
My heart goes out to you, and my best to you and yours. What a nightmare.
Caste based conflicts are the highest among the Christians, because the church was way too successful in exploiting social divisions, just like they did elsewhere in the world like Rwanda.
Caste is a poisson, but when it is bread and butter for some people they would like nothing better than to keep it alive.
EDIT: Replaced "origin" with "social identity", which seems like a better fit.
> how hindu society openly supports and promotes it
My 'high class' friends always bring up their caste even when it is not related at all.
'in Bramhins we don't do x'm 'In us Rajputs, we don't do x'
They can easily say, 'I am a veg or I dont' drink or my family is xyz'. But no. their caste _has_ to come up.
A friend of mine had asked one of her friends who used to do this: 'okay, we get it that you are a Bramhin, there is no need to bring it up in every other sentence.' She was shell shocked and never ever did I hear her say "oh we Bramhins we do xyz".
After centuries of cast discrimination, do you think that lower caste people will be 'proud' of their caste? No. they were brainwashed into thinking that they're subhuman, that they are not worthy of it.
Dr Ambedkar was a LSE scholar and he was treated as crap. he was a distinguished scholar, not just any other who was treated as crap because he was a Dalit.
Here is why your equation to GenX and California/British is a false equivalence:
GenX didn't treat GenW like shit for a century
California/British: it is about being proud of _where_ you live. I am proud of India, I was born here and I'll die here. I am sure that all Indians, irrespective of their gender or caste or religion are proud to associate themselves to India.
> Not every mention of caste is about caste discrimination.
It is. How else do you explain that only Bramhins and Rajputs do it? I didn't see any Mahar or Jain or Parsi say "in us Parsis we do x" or "in us Jains we do x" or "in us Mahars we do x"
Mahars were fierce warriors from Shivaji Maharaj's times, they defeated the Peshwas in Koregaon Bhima in 1818.
Only them upper caste folks flaunt it, just like the 'south Bombay' folks can't shut up about where they live
I respect your personal choice, of course, but curious why people choose to convert to a different religion instead of just shunning the Hindu identity, given Christianity also tends to have problematic beliefs. Is it because sharing religious beliefs makes it easier to share a common identity?
I do find it fascinating how a converted Dalit is basically freed from the social burdens of their class. I would not have expected that, as most religious groups heap scorn or actual punishments on those who convert to another religion.
Based on what I've read so far in people's responses to my question it makes a kind of sense. If you convert to a different religion, historically speaking, you are now "out of competition" in terms of marriages, allocation of dowry, so on. So since many people historically never married across religion, there's no problem being nice to people who aren't competing for your same economic resources.
Please note that I don't mean to indicate approval for any of these things, just that historically that's how it has played out.
Hearing about a benefit of apostasy, from members of ones former religion no less, is quite surprising.
The perceived threat is from the claim that all other gods are false, which is one of the major factors in the anti Muslim/anti Christian sentiments playing out currently in India.
However, the attitude of muslims & Christians towards nonbelievers, idol worship and the historical violence and destruction wrought on them plays a bigger role.
A modern western atheist might carry the same "all gods are false", the vast majority of the Hindus will not have any problem with that.
I wouldn't take that statement at face value. They are definitely not freed from the social burdens of their station of birth.
They might achieve some sort of better treatment through their association with a larger group of Christians who together wield some political power and influence, but in matters of marriage and other aspects of domestic life, they will likely face the same discrimination that they did before conversion. Consider, for example, the caste system of Roman Catholic Indians in Goa:
Converting is the only way to get rid of your caste. It's common amongst Hindus to ask each other's caste and the only way to say that you have none is to not be a Hindu. If you are a hindu then people will figure out your caste from your last name.
You would end up without a caste, but with higher or lower social status depending on your original country.
A better off dalit is still a dalit. Thats the point. The society will discriminate against you in all ways possible. Right from job applications to finding a partner
There used to be some kind of exclusivity in being a christian in India. This might no longer true.
I am from Chennai where Christianity has spread rapidly in recent years, a christian doctor who died of covid had to be cremated in a Hindu cemetery because of conflicts between the different christian denominations.
This has been the case in the North-east of India for several years now, since they are more than 80% christian.
Christianity doesn't seem like a great choice then since it teaches God will burn all non-Christians eternally in Hell.
I'm an atheist myself but I don't see many things in Christianity that are particularly bad (...I just don't believe in the supernatural).
I know nothing about this at all, if you don't mind answering - how do you signal this? Do you wear a cross in a very visible way? In my experience, opinions about someone are formed when you meet hem and it's hard to change afterwards; what happens when people learn later on that you're Christian? Does their treatment of you change?
Also Jesus was born in a poor family, which would have made him a lower caste hindu if he was born in India
This is not really true. If I recall correctly, Jesus was born in the Davidic line as per the bible, which was important for his claim as the messiah. His high "caste" did matter to his followers. Caste is determined by your pedigree, and not by how rich you are.
It's true that caste-based discrimination is a curse that India must do away with. Perhaps it'd be more helpful to let different communities adhere to whatever traditions are important to them without attaching the concept of highness or lowness associated with it.
Not considering hiring people with non-Biblical or clearly "Black" names is one of those things which you can't see. Not showing Black people houses in good neighbourhoods is another. That behaviour is still racist, but invisible.
Casteism plays out along similar lines, with people not being hired, or promoted.
The term implies facing the wrong way
The irony is that there are some upper caste people fighting to classify their class as backward because they have quotas in govt jobs/education.
You see, eons ago, caste in Indian society was not right, it was your job (warrior = Kshatriya, scholar = bramhin, trader = baniya, labourer = shudra).
The first three called themselves upper class and the last one was the lower class.
Among the first three, the first one think that they're upper than the other two. The second one thinks that they're upper than the third.
But this was never hereditary. if you were born to a Bramhin (basically any person who had the brains to be a scholar) and if you didn't have the knack of being a 'scholar' you could become a warrior if you had the skills, or a trader, if you had those skills. If you had no such skills then you were the labourer.
But what happened is, centuries after this tradition started, it was made hereditary. So only sons of Bramhins can be scholars, only sons of Kshatriyas can be warriors, only sons of Baniyas can be traders and all Shudras were forever shudras.
The architect scholar and almost superman historical Dr Ambedkar was a Mahar aka Dalit aka Shudra. This guy graduated at the top of LSE, has written extensively on India and almost all of his writings were 100% spot on (his thoughts about why it was good that Pakistan formed for Indian Army's balance or what'll happen when Hindu nationalism will rise etc)
But he was treated as shit just because he was born a Mahar.
Now the tragical thing is that Mahars were warriors in Shivaji Maharaj's time (he was a Deccan King who was kinda democratic and not cruel like Mughals. Even actual Gods are below him in my state, people, including atheists like me worship him, not in temples obviously. It is like you can insult Gods and it'd be fine but if you insult him then you are done)
During his reign, Mahars were fierce warriors and had their own regiment in his army. But his descendents weren't exactly great and in the 3rd generation king's army, only 'higher caste' khastriyas could be warriors and others were treated as literally shit. there has been documented evidence (thank God for the documentation) that at the end of the Peshwa rule, the lower class people had to attach a broom at their backside so that they'd sweep the land they walked on because they were considered 'filthy' (not physically). No lower class man or woman or child was allowed in upper class wells, temples. they were not allowed to have horses in their weddings etc. Some of these practices are still rampant in India where upper caste privileged people are blind. you can see quite a few in this thread who are either blind or racist.
basically this was just like slavery without higher caste people owning the lower caste people.
My knowledge of India is very basic. I have indian friends and coworkers and have never thought about this being part of their story.
There is a skin colour bias, but that isn't about caste (darker skin is a sign that you have to work in the sun, which signals poverty and being of a lower economic class).
What I'm trying to find out is, if these casts are dependent on each other as if profession running in the family or are simply a way to organize within from top down with no cooperation of communities but exploitation. If the latest is the case, I wonder if there were uprisings and such.
This isn't true everywhere. There is a fair amount of bias embedded in society, and caste markers will follow you around.
Also all of this in the US; it's almost like many indian origin American (even second gen) Brahmins are far more racist than the general Indian population of the same group. Definitely a lesson in anthropology for sure.
I'm not a Brahmin (and am technically from a much "lower caste") and I wouldn't eat lard (I'm a vegetarian). IMO caste and vegetarianism are different concepts. While certain castes/communities/regions might promote vegetarianism and some might not, I'm not sure if they're always an identifying marker. A lot of people in India are vegetarian for a multitude of reasons and a lot of them who are new to the States might not know what contains lard and what not, so he might have been looking out for you in case you didn't know. I for one didn't know about rennet until much later, and am much grateful to an American dude who pointed that out to me.
I think it sucks that people conflate two different things, because it gives someone who isn't from an Indian background incorrect details. I'm not saying that that Indian-origin guy isn't casteist (given that he reacted against your "brahmin" comment that way), but certain nuances are lost here.
Answering to GP above - I don’t mind talking about it but some bar conversations have opened with it. That’s not pleasant. It’s not a light subject. It’s like me opening with some light chat about racism in America. It requires nuance to understand how deeply and yet subtly embedded caste is in India. You can’t get a house for rent in certain neighbourhoods of even major metros. It’s the reason I don’t use a last name at all. Not even legally. If people shun the practice of disclosing the caste it’ll one day disappear. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
It is entirely possible, however it does require you to learn nuances of that caste. Otherwise you will get caught out especially while discussing with elders. That said when it comes to marriage there’s no way to hide your caste. The priest knows your parents their relatives and what not. Their surnames being different will cause all kinds of red lights to go off.
Also, for governmental purposes you are expected to produce “caste certificate” which you can’t forge. So it’s not unusual for people in India to marry into lower caste to reap the benefits of governmental reservation.
So, the answer is nuanced. If you want to take advantage of surname in a private company like say Cisco then go for it. For any other purpose, changing surname alone isn’t sufficient. In fact it’s impossible to hide your caste.
While we are at it, it’s worth noting that “caste” refers to two distinct and intertwined hierarchical structures called “varna” and “jati”. Which means even among Brahmins (the upper most caste, intact Brahmin is a Varna and not Jati) there’s a hierarchy, priest being the top most. Jatis are sometimes referred as “sub-caste”.
This Jati is so pervasive in India that even the non-Hindu religions such as Sikhism and “Lingayat” which were explicitly formed to be away from the Hindu caste system couldn’t escape it. So we now have a few dozen Jati within Sikhism and Lingayats with an overly of Verna.
As an academic topic it’s a fascinating one. The roots of this codified structure is still not clear, it’s an active area of research. Recent advancements in human evolutionary genetics is revealing some interesting insights but long way to go.
So if you aren't a brahmin, you probably haven't had the same childhood experiences of temple-going and specific rituals. If I really want to ferret your caste out, I might casually quiz you on this background, maybe even in the context of innocently joshing about, "hey, wasn't that weird our moms would make us do blah blah blah." And if you didn't respond right away with a story about how your parents did that same thing, I'd maybe start to become suspicious ...
If you ever let slip that someone in your family got a job because they utilized an affirmative action program (called "reservations" in India,) it'd sound weird, and I'd get suspicious ...
If I started a joke about how some brahmins are better than other brahmins (yep, that exists. I know because I am the best Brahmin.) and you seemed clueless about the typology, I'd get suspicious ...
You do this enough times, I'm gonna cross you off my party list.
And this is the nuance I'm talking about. I understand vegetarianism definitely has positive connotations in India, but it's rarely about caste, which is what we're looking at here.
There's a lot of different opinions in a country of a billion people, but just labeling it as caste isn't going to do any of it favors.
> It’s not a light subject
None of it is. It's not fun being a vegetarian in the States; doesn't mean people have ostracized vegetarianism because they love their meat burgers. Two different things here, we can't get to the root of things if we don't parse them properly.
I’m not sure which part of India does this apply to. As an Indian living in India (born brought up, working now etc), almost every single instance vegetarianism was brought up in a discussion, it was immediately followed up with caste.
Sure, India is vast, but I just don’t know a place where diet is decoupled from caste.
Talking about myself, though I’m a Maratha Kshatriya my parents somehow didn’t prefer non vegetarian. So I ended up growing up a vegetarian dude. Only to be mocked by my relatives later in life “what kind of a Maratha are you who doesn’t eat meat”
But let us be real here, there are a lot of people in poverty following vegetarian diets, especially because meat doesn't always come cheap in India, and dal/milk relatively are. Some follow it because they were raised in a vegetarian culture. Some do it because they dislike the thought of eating animals.
Brahmins aren't always rich/powerful, and the "lower castes" aren't always that hard off, and this has been the case throughout history.
Some of my friends my well-to-do friends eat meat (sometimes including beef) just fine, some don't. Same with people from different socio-economic levels. This just doesn't reflect reality any more.
Really? So no haldi?
The funny thing about infiniteness is that half of it is still pretty infinite - and that also works with garlic, ginger, and potatoes, at least (I don't know if it's true of all roots and bulbs though) in that they'll sprout from a part.
Although I appreciate that's probably not the point. But if it were, one could have parts packaged for sale, with the regulated promise that the rest of it was replanted, analogously to religiously-compatible slaughter.
Animal protein is more expensive to produce than plant protein, the result of nothing less than thermodynamics.
It's fairly obvious that from the traditionalist point of view of the poster's friend a Brahmin is expected to care more than inferior people from no-good castes about religious and semi-religious precepts like not eating lard (to avoid eating inappropriate animals, not because lard isn't vegetarian).
I talk about vegetarianism because the GP talked about it through the lens of caste, and I stated that I thought otherwise.
All over South Asia - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, from Punjab to Tamil Nadu, Gujarat to Bengal - you will find a rough correlation of class/caste along skin complexion lines with higher class/caste people generally being fairer complexioned, and a broad based folk understanding and rationalization of this. Almost every region has a complexion/caste based folk cultural model for interpreting the phenotypical variation among themselves, a variation which is often vast even over small distances - and it's independent of religion.
What you are seeing is the aftermath of thousands of years of collision of peoples who migrated from various parts of the old world with differing phenotypes. Though they all mixed, they did so in differing proportions that were correlated with the dominant power structures and associated mores of beauty, defined by the new rulers, who were frequently people of fair complexion, culminating in the situation you see today. This pre-existing situation was then keenly exploited by the last group of fair skinned rulers of foreign origin, the British.
Consider these lyrics:
"They cut me out for a baking bread, but I had other dreams instead".
Now imagine a system designed to completely ignore your dreams and force you to bake bread for now and future generations! And you are not even in chains!
Your guess about not airing the laundry in public is pretty close. "caste awareness" is ingrained from a young age, and you can't lose those circuits even if you yourself don't agree with them. A lot of people, especially higher caste, "understand" at a logical level that this is all wrong, but find it very difficult to change. So discrimination continues in all social spheres, but it's covert.
The silver lining is that there are also those who have distanced themselves from that system, and their number keeps increasing.
That is because your not "Indian" you are an American, these caste based discussions happen among first gen Indians who were born in India and then moved to another country. The kids of these immigrants dont usually care about caste.
Lately, I picked up one of the introductory courses from Audible - “Great World Religions: Hinduism from The Great Courses”. It was well put together - a whole chapter dedicated to caste system in India. Particularly talks about restriction of mobility and exceptions when it can happen. Highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about the good, the bad and the ugly of Hinduism.
Apparently, I was born in the artisanal caste of India, specifically Blacksmiths: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchal
You could, historically, spread your "untouchableness" by contacting people of other castes, for example. Marrying your child to someone from a lower caste is seen as a shameful move to many people.
White people would absolutely not understand this, yes, but what is there to understand? This is just discrimination based on your family + skin tone to some extent, and the sooner it dies, the better.
Today it's widely understood that this was done to reward those who supported the British during the 1857 rebellion and to utilise caste-based segregation in British Indian army against any future rebellion.
The level of conformance (or even awareness!) to caste is different for different Indians even. Some don't even know much about the system apart from what has been taught in the textbook, being raised in a liberal environment. Some are steeped into it. Most are in the middle, and many are very very confused about the whole thing, which would mean that even if they tell you, their interpretation might be different from someone else.
In my opinion a lot of caste stuff is just hogwash. But certain remnants remain, and these remnants vary from person to person and place to place (some might put an emphasis on diet/religion, some on the education you receive, some on the gods you worship, etc). A lot of it has been used to divide people in the locality against each other, which is essentially just classic politics. But much of the new generation (depending on where they're from) is quite ignorant of/against all this, which is good.
> definitely a major part of marriage discussions
Again, not all of them; speaking from personal experiences. Most of those sites have a "don't know/don't care" field, and many have that option set :) I agree that the field itself shouldn't be there, but I tend to highlight progress wherever possible
I don't deny this happens, but it doesn't happen _all_ the time, or even the majority of the times nowadays (I can only say what I've experienced, I know others would have seen differently).
In my experience, it's informally reinforced. I haven't met an Indian American who actively contemplates caste. But family connections; shared customs, rituals and language; and economic disparities reinforce in-group over out-of-group relationships.
These informal factors conspire to cause generations of young Americans of Indian descent to have their Indian-origin friends be, predominantly, of a similar caste to themselves. They aren't selecting for it. They may not even know how to see it. But hidden social factors guide their relationships.
It reminds me of my friends from the South. Subtle social factors that reinforce racist hierarchies. Recognizing, discussing and actively subverting those mechanisms takes personal ownership of the problem. This has not happened, broadly, in the Indian American community.
At a startup, we had a couple of Indian engineers on the team (pretty common), but they would frequently converse with each other in Hindi. Eventually one of them left the company, and in his exit interview he revealed that the other guy was constantly harassing him about his caste.
There are always layers within every layer whether someone is higher or lower and even within a caste it depends on genealogy(which mythical ancestor your family originates), sub varieties, socio-economic status locality, education, organizations , roles you worked at etc.
It is persistent and systemic discrimination, while things have improved in the last 70 years, there are still a lot problems. Easiest way to to figure out who someone marries especially if it is an arranged marriage
Because it's a complex topic and one can't condense the lives of 1B+ people so easily. It's also not a solved problem, so most of the folks who speak out do it as form of venting or to bring a change due to some personal experiences.
Caste system and Varna system in India are 2 different things. Many people including Indians fail to understand this. Caste system and what was written in Manusmruti (some guidelines book for Hindus) was debated even in ancient times but some high-caste-people did take advantage of it and it went screwed up in-between years.
Caste system was based on the work you do. As many are talking about "surnames" pointing to your caste - please understand how they got these surnames in the first place! It's not the other way round. Also, traditionally descendants did the same business as it was easily taught to kids and was believed that those skills are genetically transferred as well. Note that I'm stating what was believed - not necessarily facts.
Please try to relate the concept of "untouchables" in today's pandemic times. Do you intent to go and touch those who work in the hospitals? How would you expect the people in those times to be okay with touching those who used to clean up toilets by hand, carry the waste on their backs? Note that I'm not justifying what followed in thousands of years later
Hoping you get the context. Please don't evaluate the origins on today's level of sophistication
I do believe that the caste system exists through out the world even today. Just that castes are different. How about now we have "Software Engineers" as a caste? There too you are higher if you belong to FAANG, no? How many software engineers like to marry software engineers? Isn't it convenient to marry someone who has similar work life, thought process, education background and such? Wasn't it same in the old days? I know people who - if they work at FAANG, then looking for partner working in FAANG because their status matches!
One more example in the context of "untouchable" and Brahmins to help you understand the point of not touching others - If lady in a Brahmin house is preparing food in the morning (she will always take bath first), NOBODY (her parents, kids, husband, whatever) in the house is allowed to go to the kitchen, touch her or even drink water from there until they take bath. Please try to think about this.
I don't know if 'ironic' is the right word but here in comments I read someone mentioning "HR wouldn't support lower level employees" in the comment in the context of "dalit". Guess what "dalit" are? "lower level employees in the society" (those who cleaned up waste).
Importantly, dalit's were not working in lower level because they were untouchables, but they were untouchables because they worked in the lower levels. Indian society let Mr. B R Ambedkar (who was born Dalit) to write constitution of India - that speaks volumes.
Not to say that there is an society without discrimination and social disparity. But only a few take it to the level the Indian caste system does.
That shows how tricky racism is, doesn't it? In the US it is African-Americans, in the UK Pakistanis and Indians, in Germany Turks and in France people from the Maghreb states. In India it is Muslims and castes, in China the Uigurs, in the Muslim world Suunits and Shiits (hope I spelled that right). In Turkey Turks and Kurds. And it all sucks. And it goes on and on, where ever you go.
Just saying, only because one Dalit wrote the constitution doesn't make the inherent discrimination and racism go away.
It’s worth differentiating here. The experiences and outcomes and attitudes towards Pakistanis are very different to those of Indians in the UK. Indians are by far the most successful ethnic minority in the UK while Pakistanis are the least. Three of the most senior positions in the UK government are occupied by people of Indian descent—Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak, and Alok Sharma-all members of the Conservative Party.
> The data shows those males categorised as black are over 4.6 times more likely to die than their white counterparts from the virus. They are followed by Pakistanis/Bangladeshis (just over four times more likely to die), and then Chinese and Indians (just over 2.5 times).
People of Indian and Pakistani background are not significantly genetically different, but there is a substantial difference in how likely they are to die of COVID.
I am a bit skeptical that the difference is due to differential discrimination. I don't think most British racists are smart enough to distinguish people of Indian and Pakistani background. My hunch is that it's due to different patterns of immigration: if Indian immigrants were more likely to be middle-class, and to move to suburbs and small towns, whereas Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants were more likely to be working-class, and to move to inner cities, then that would produce the kinds of demographic difference that could explain the COVID disparity.
What would really be interessting is to break the mortality down by income and poverty. And than compare it to income an poverty based on race, where such numbers are available (so obviously not France). My hunch tells me mortallity is first related to social and financial circumstances, which are themselves directly related to race / being a minority / being poor. Maybe nitpicking, so, because it still tells us something about discrimination, doesn't it?
> We used binary logistic regression models to estimate whether the risk of dying from COVID-19 is greater among the Black and other minority ethnic groups than among the White ethnic population, after taking into account a number of geographic, demographic, socio-economic, living arrangements and health measures from the 2011 Census.
> Adjusting for these factors substantially reduces the odds of a death involving COVID-19 relative to those of White ethnicity for all ethnic groups. [...] In the fully adjusted model (Panel B), Black males and females are 1.9 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the White ethnic group. Males of Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnicity are 1.8 times more likely to die; for females, odds of death are reduced to 1.6 times more likely. Individuals from the Chinese and Mixed ethnic group have similar risks to those with White ethnicity.
Adjusting only for age, black men are 4.2 times more likely to die than white men. Adjusting for all the factors they thought of, they are 1.9 times more likely to die.
The fact that even the fully adjusted model still has a large and significant difference between Indian and Bangladeshi/Pakistani people suggests to me that there are other non-genetic factors that aren't included in the model.
> Maybe nitpicking, so, because it still tells us something about discrimination, doesn't it?
Germany doesn't either (by law, not just policy or habit, since the war) - quite an interesting article I saw recently reported that (in particular) black women in Germany are unhappy about it, because it (is perceived to) stymie support or positive action and such. Which, of course, was not the intended effect of banning the collection of such data at all!
Virtually nothing of it remains today though, although there are some traces of discrimination against the burakumin (Japan's untouchables) and some (rare) names are associated with the nobility. Generally speaking, though, you can't tell somebody's former caste from the name: a Maeda could be a direct descendent of the samurai clan, a retainer or peasant in the Maeda lands who adopted the name, or some random person anywhere in Japan who happened to live near the front (mae) rice paddy (-da) since Japanese names tend to reflect places, not occupations. Those few who care about "pure blood" have to hire a private investigator to ferret out burakumin traces.
Especially the part about "Paki-Bashing" in 80s.
> How would you expect the people in those times to be okay with touching those who used to clean up toilets by hand, carry the waste on their backs?
The trouble is, this wasn't something people chose to do by choice - it was thrust upon them initially and eventually conditioned to accept as "their duty" to the society through religious conditioning. (Read Gandhi's commentary justifying this type of work)
There is enough written about this and if you are interested you can easily look up about this online and in libraries.
> traditionally descendants did the same business as it was easily taught to kids
Even this was thrust through years of conditioning my friend. They were not "allowed" to take up any other profession - they could be dead, if they dared to do this. The references for this go far back to scriptures and other religious literature my friend.
> dalit's were not working in lower level because they were untouchables, but they were untouchables because they worked in the lower levels
Not true, read the comment above, they were forced into lower level work initially.
> Indian society let Mr. B R Ambedkar (who was born Dalit) to write constitution of India - that speaks volumes.
You haven't read Ambedkar have you ? :) Indian society didn't "let" Mr. B R Ambedkar to write the constitution, he rose to that position through sheer intellectual power! He was very very ahead of his times my brother! He faced many many challenges throughout his rise due to his origins being from lower class, he rose in spite of it.
A man of such calibre, resigned when in a position of power because he didn't believe in certain ideas put forth for discussion while making amendments to the constitution etc. He felt that would jeopardize the efforts he had put in to make the constitution equal for all - and undermine democracy! Such was the man!
> One more example in the context of "untouchable" and Brahmins to help you understand the point of not touching others - If lady in a Brahmin house is preparing food in the morning (she will always take bath first), NOBODY (her parents, kids, husband, whatever) in the house is allowed to go to the kitchen, touch her or even drink water from there until they take bath. Please try to think about this.
Are you referring to someone who is a dalit servant in a wealthy house? That's how I'm reading it at the moment but realize you could mean it a few different ways.
For example, if a brahmin person has a baby, then that baby is brahmin by birth. But this is not what the scriptures prescribe. The scriptures mention the caste system by the nature of work one adopts.
But as you can see, it was easily corruptible. Even in 2020, there are brahmin people who explicitly state that they are the superior caste with no repercussions when the constitution mandates equal rights to its citizens. If this is not racism, what is ? Calling some fellow human being as inferior ?
You need to look within yourself - with the above comment you are putting yourself down in front of people. Such a bad outlook. Reeks of racist / casteist attitude. Seek some help, and read good books to get out of this pathetic attitude towards fellow human beings.
What role does caste still play in the year 2020? And, specifically, in middle-class society in the US and in India? Does it play any role in tech companies in India?
People who live in Tier-2, Tier-3 cities and in villages / panchayats - the caste based discrimination is very obvious and explicit. People wear their (upper) caste as a badge of honor all the while discriminating lower caste people openly with no consequences, although the Indian constitution considers all citizens equal.
Marriage, If it's an arranged marriage 99.9% of the time, bride and groom will be of same caste.
In Canada, even the priest has to wash his clothes, clean his toilets, and feed the pets and pick up their poo. So, for the most part, the caste system dies the moment an Indian leaves India.
It becomes an important piece of consideration for matchmaking. Parents from upper caste families (priests, teachers) try very hard to get their kids to also marry someone from higher up the social pecking order.