The Hindu caste systems has several theories behind its origin, some of which are religious, biological and as well as historical. The religious perspective as described by RigVeda, an ancient Hindu Book, and Purush, who was the main character destroyed himself to create a human society. Purush destroyed himself in four parts which formed the base for the four different Varnas; which refers to different social classes (Deshpande 2010). The head formed the Brahmins, his hands formed the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas came from his thighs while from his feet came the Shudras. It is imperative to note that Varna a hierarchy in a descending order of the different body organs. For instance, Brahmans who were formed from the head are considered to be intelligent and powerful while the Kshatriyas are warriors for the caste since they were formed from arms of Purush respectively. A diverse religious belief identifies Brahma as the founder of Hinduism hence the Varnas were derived from his body parts (Deshpande 2010).
The biological theories explain that Varna has three shades of texture/color which illustrates mental temper (Bidner & Eswaran 2015). The three shades of color are called Gunas. They are; Sattva white in color, Rajas is red and Tamas which is black. These three characteristics are inherent from parent to off springs. The combination of different proportions of Gunas is a constituent of people with different temperaments. Sattva is associated with wisdom, intelligence, honesty and other virtuous qualities. Rajas is associated with pride and passion while Tamas is assumed to possess negative qualities like dullness, stupidity and lack of creativity. It is believed people with a composition of this Gunas end up being morally sensitive and upright. However, according to this theory Brahmans acquire Sattva qualities as they are seen to be serene, intelligent, austerity and purity. Brahmans have the right to acquire wisdom, knowledge and faith. Raja qualities are associated with Kshatriyas and the Vaishyas whereas Shudras inherit Tamas qualities. Generally, the type of ego, intelligence capacity, temper and brilliance in response to happiness defines ones Varna.
Historically, it is believed the caste system began in ancient India with the arrival of Aryans in 1500 BC. The Aryans came from southern Europe and Northern Asia having a fair skin that was inconsistent to the natives of India (Deshpande 2010). Aryans engaged the Dravidians (only group that has documentary evidence of their existence) on their arrival, however by the time historical books were written, the culture of the native Indians had been diluted and integrated into Indo-Aryan traditions and culture. Aryans developed their own social stratification strategy known as the Varna Vyavastha which was largely based on four hierarchical divisions of society (Bhattacharya 2016). The divisions are categorized in a decreasing order of significance. The hierarchy runs from religious and educational functions, military and political functions, economic functions and menial functions consecutively. Aryans organized themselves in specific groups, first group was Rajayan which later changed to Kshatriyas were warriors, secondly Brahmans who formed priesthood class. Vaishyas constituted farmers and craftsmen. Noteworthy, the Rajayans and Brahmans consistently struggled for political leadership among the Aryans, later on the Brahmans won the struggle.
The Hindu caste system was developed basically to put a hierarchical division among people based on their professions and trades (Bhattacharya 2016). Individuals were place in a caste system according to the caste their parents belonged to. Caste system is therefore generational. The man categories of the caste system hierarchy are the Brahmins who are the top cream of the Indian community, Kshatriya who are second in command, then the Vaishya and Shudra respectively. A given caste is made up of people from different ethnic group, race, socio-economic class and tribe.
Socially, the caste systems have a great impact since they influence socio-cultural decisions (Cotterill &Sidanius 2016). For instance, marriage can only be practiced among people within a given caste cadre. The Brahmins/ Brahmans are only allowed to marry Brahmans. The same applies across other castes. Admittedly, there are restrictions on dietary mannerisms. Eating and drinking is solely allowed among members of a caste. Hereditary practices too can only be done among a caste and children born in the different castes are only allowed to be associated with specific occupational careers which are limited to that specific caste hierarchy. Noteworthy is that the caste system basically, underscores the basic human rights that all men are equal before the law and therefore require equity in resource allocation and distribution as well as equal treatment within their nations and outside their nations.
In conclusion, the Hindu caste framework may have filled its need in ancient times and circumstances, however it does not fit into the qualities and standards of current modern world, for example, democracy, principal rights, individual freedom, equity in resource allocation and distribution cum equality and non-discrimination based on gender, race, social status or ethnic group. It doesn’t maintain the estimations of present day Hinduism either, for example, tolerance and universal brotherhood. It doesn’t approve the idea that all life is sacred and divine. Hinduism faithfuls should not and ought not to rationalize the caste system if they need to keep up the validity of Hinduism as a world religion that can accommodate individuals of all countries, races and social backgrounds.