The Hindu Caste System is based on The Vedas, Sanskrit texts. It is the foundation of all social strata in India. Dr. Ambedkar described the caste system as “a system of graded inequality”. Caste Hindus are divided into 4 major groupings; Priest, Warrior , Trader, and Menial Worker. Within it there are 2,000 to 4,000 different groups.
Below the line of caste are the community formerly-considered “untouchable”, now identified as “Dalit”. (This community is also officially referred to as “the scheduled castes” and “depressed classes”.) There are 429 different communities in this sub-caste grouping. Dr. Ambedkar was considered an “untouchable”. He said that within the Vedic/Hindu caste system “all are unequal, but some are more unequal than others.”
“Untouchables” are at the very bottom of the caste system. “Untouchability” is inherited from parents and transmitted to children, and traditionally one may not marry out of caste. Dr. Ambedkar explained that “the Hindu society insists on segregation of the Untouchables.”
The caste system has resulted in thousands of years of exclusion and oppression, which continue to this day. Dalit villages are burned to the ground, women are raped, families are murdered. And on a daily level Dalits face discrimination and humiliation at school, at jobs and in their communities.
International friendship shines a spotlight on the injustices of the caste system and gives our young Dalit students hope. It provides a new perspective, a life beyond traditional prejudice. Together, with your help, we are building the caste-free generation. We have so much to learn from one another.