Tuesday, May 10, 2011

caste in Indian

The English word ‘caste’ is actually a borrowing from the Portuguese casta, meaning pure breed.
The word refers to a broad institutional arrangement that in Indian languages (beginning with the ancient Sanskrit) is referred to by two distinct terms, varna and jati. Varna, literally ‘colour’, is the name given to a four-fold division of society into brahmana, kshatriya, vaishyaand shudra, though this excludes a significant section of the population composed of the ‘outcastes’, foreigners, slaves, conquered peoples and others, sometimes  refered to as the panchamas or fifth category.

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