8 Important Features of Caste System in India

(2) Hereditary Status:

Caste is determined by birth and there is very little room for change.

(3) Traditional Occupation:

In the traditional ancient system, almost every caste followed a certain occupation which was handed down from its one generation to another. Temple Priests, Carpenters, barbers, safai karamcharies came from traditional castes.

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(4) Endogamy:

Individuals marry within their own castes.

(5) Principle of Purity and Pollution:

Relations between castes were traditionally determined by the concepts of pollution and purity which asserted that lower castes are polluting to higher castes. The theory of pollution formed the basis for untouchability.

(6) Commissural Restrictions:

Lower casts were denied many opportunities, they were not allowed to wear jewellery, enter temples or attend schools. According to Blunt, there were seven restrictions in this context.

(i) Cooking taboo, which lay rules that may cute food.

(ii) Eating Taboo

(iii) Drinking Taboo

(iv) Commensally taboo

(v) Food taboo (Rules regarding food kacha, pucca, etc.)

(vi) Smoking taboo (Rules regarding smoking Hukka)

(vii) Vessels taboo (Types of vessels to be used).

(7) Castes are Localised Groups:

There are no uniform standards that evaluate castes all over the country. A particular caste may be considered ‘untouchable’ in our region but not so in another region.

(8) Caste and Sub-caste:

The terms caste and sub-caste should not be confused with each other. Sub-caste signifies a sub-division of a larger caste. In cases where a caste group has split into several smaller endogamous groups, the use of this term for the latter is justified. But where the new group is the result not of the fission but of the fusion of two different groups, it would be incorrect to call it a sub-caste.

Weber holds that today one caste frequently contains hundreds of sub-castes. In such cases, these sub-castes may be related to one another exactly or almost exactly as different castes. If this is the case, the sub-castes, in reality, are castes in which the caste name common to all of them has merely a historical significance.

The arrangement of several caste groups in a particular order of relationship in society constitutes the caste system.