Essay on Considerations for Ranking in Caste (India)



As already pointed out every person wanted to establish that he belonged to a higher caste. He posed that the possessed all those qualities which a person ranked higher to him had and that it was only a matter of chance that he was placed in the lower caste. But by and large some considerations weigh for deciding whether a person belonged to a higher caste or not.

It is of course evident that these are not being observed seriously these days because upward and downward movement of people in the caste hierarchy is impossible. Thus whether these are observed or not taken seriously not consideration, as their violation is going to effect none.

1. Since in India use of liquor, meat and intoxications is condemned, therefore, castes which did not or do not, use these are ranked superior than others.

2. Then another consideration is about the nature of work and occupation.

In India there are certain occupations which have all along been considered superior and respectable than the others, Trade commerce, teaching, public service etc., have been considered superior as compared with such vocations as leather work, road, and street cleaning etc. Thus these castes which engaged themselves in the work falling in the former category began to be considered superior than those engaged in the latter categories.

3. Then another basis of ranking of a caste being the Varna scheme. The Varnas have become the basis of caste differentiation. Usually, economically better castes are considered higher castes and the poor people are placed in lower castes.

That being so economically better, have been ranked superior in castes hierarchy than economically poor Similarly due to poverty those who were miserably poor could not wield political power and authority.

Real power and authority therefore remained vested in the hands of the rich. Moreover, it becomes more or less impossible for the poor to occupy some position and authority and even if few of them managed to rise they were no adjusted in their new position because rich were not prepared to tolerate them.

Thus for all practical purposes economic position and political power became a major consideration for caste ranking.

Those who possessed position, power, authority and wealth were placed higher in rank than the others, in the caste system.

4. Then another basis of the caste ranking being the quality of work. Those who were doing mental work were placed and usually got a higher status in caste hierarchy than those who were doing manual work. Thus Brahmins who were supposed who were doing the minimum mental but maximum manual work.

5. Not only this, ranks were divided on the basis of quality of work but also in accordance with the purposes of the job. Those who did spiritual work and tried to get spiritual attainments or worked for the welfare of the society and mankind as a whole got better caste rank than those who were busy in their own material pursuits.

Thus Brahmins who were learned, were supposed to spread knowledge, try to control themselves and help controlling others, got a higher rank than the Vaishyas who, were busy in amassing wealth for their personal of family use.