Every day people in our country are raped, burnt and killed because of caste. Everyday, we die with them. Milan Global is creating an intentional community with the aim of annihilating caste in India and the world. We are all part of the problem. So, we should all be a part of the solution.
To provide you with deeper understanding of caste, we created this publication. You can also check out our podcast on with Salil Shetty, former Secretary General of Amnesty International, on the humanitarian crisis being faced by India.
After achieving independence from the British Empire, caste was outlawed by the newly established Indian Constitution in 1950. However, even today rural communities can be seen as starkly segregated according to caste. Violence due to the practice of untouchability is expressly widespread.
Though upper castes have gained occupational mobility in the past centuries, millions of lower castes, especially Dalits, continue to be trapped in inhumane occupations such as manual scavenging, cleaning toilets, and handling dead animals. These jobs lead to rampant disease and early deaths. Even when they escape this paradigm, they are unable to escape their caste.
Arranged marriage refers to a marital union that involves families and social circles undergoing a selection process to matchmake a bride and groom. The bride and groom can choose to accept or reject the proposed match. This is in contrast to forced marriages and love marriages (which lie on two ends of this spectrum).
This system of arranging marriages has been an effective mechanism for maintaining caste status. The choices provided to both bride and groom are based on overlapping caste status first, and then educational qualifications, skin colour, body type and other factors are considered.
In fact, according to…
The system of reservations in post-colonial India was designed to reserve opportunities and provide a voice for historically disadvantaged groups. It was launched upon the enactment of the Constitution of India in 1950 as the oldest and farthest reaching system of its kind.
Reservations were intended to be a temporary mechanism to realise the promise of equality as enshrined in the Constitution of India.
Specifically, these policies reserved a percentage of seats in higher education, public sector employment and the legislative assembly. …
British occupation in India began in approximately 1757 under the East India Company, with the British Crown officially taking over a century later in 1858. While the United States reflects settler colonialism, British Raj in India was exploitation colonialism.
The British Crown had a single goal — exploiting the people and resources of the Indian subcontinent to the maximum extent for profit.
As Prof. Sanjoy Chakravorty explains, “the colonisers invented or constructed Indian social identities using categories of convenience to serve the British Indian government’s own interests — primarily to create a single society with a common law that could…
The caste system outlined by ancient Indian texts is a four-fold system of labour. The people who fell outside of this system were those who did the work considered most impure. They were considered untouchable and ostracised from social life, including interaction and resources.
Dalit literally means broken or fragmented in Sanskrit and Hindi. It is the modern title claimed by those historically deemed untouchables by caste practitioners in the Indian subcontinent. While the word was initially a loose translation of the “depressed classes” category used by the British census, it was popularised by social reformer Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
Manual scavenging is an umbrella term for the unsafe and manual processes of removing human excreta from toilets or pit latrines. It is generally done by hand using basic tools such as thin board, buckets and baskets, which are then carried on the head. This occupation has historically been forced upon Dalits (those from the untouchable caste).
As activist Subhojit Goswami explains, “from drains and sewers to septic tanks and railway tracks, more than half a million manual scavengers across the country are cleaning, carrying and disposing of human excreta and everything else that we flush down the toilet. …
Caste is the oldest living system of discrimination in the world dating back around 3000 years. It was historically practiced only in specific regions with varying degrees of mobility. Manusmriti, an ancient text, documents it as a hierarchical system of dividing and controlling labour.
The five levels of caste included Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (businessmen), Shudras (labourers), and Dalits (untouchables). Each level was further divided into about 3000 castes and 25,000 subcastes.
The caste system has largely dictated norms of living in the Indian subcontinent. Over time, it has become a rigid form of social stratification where lifestyle is…
“Broken windows is a criminologist theory which asserts that visible signs of crime and civil disorder, such as a broken window, snowball into an urban environment that encourages more serious crime… in other words, one broken window will lead to another broken window, and another, until there are a thousand broken windows and more serious crime occurs (Bell, 2019).”
Breaking Down Broken Windows, a critical analysis by criminal justice expert Leonna Bell, provides us with a looking glass to see the web of policies sown by the system to legally target undesirable communities. The parable of Broken Windows as we…
I always thought I treasured what I understood to be my culture more than anything. It is why I always assumed I would marry someone who shares the same language. After much awareness and exposure to the lines of separation drawn by identity, these thoughts became less rigid.
Over time, I realised what really mattered was that which so many lives have been sacrificed for. Freedom. The struggle of our ancestors, made up of so much laughter and music, was for freedom. Because freedom is love. It is the only language worth preserving.
Marriage has long been used as a…
Harvard Divinity Scholar in Spiritual Leadership, Entrepreneurship & Liberation Studies. Chief People Officer of Milan Global.