The Genesis of India’s Caste System: Unraveling Theories and Historical Dynamics

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The origin of the caste system in India is subject to various theories. According to the religious perspective, the Varnas were created from Brahma’s body, with Brahmanas from his naval, Kshatriyas from his hands, Vaishyas from his thighs, and Sudras from his feet.

The social historical theory attributes the caste system’s emergence to the arrival of Aryans in 1500 BC. Disregarding local cultures, they conquered northern regions, displacing locals southwards. Aryans divided into warriors (Rajanya or later Kshatriyas), priests (Brahmanas), and farmers/craftsmen (Vaisyas). Brahmanas emerged politically victorious, while conquered locals and Aryans’ descendants formed the Sudra Varna, representing society’s simple workers.

Hindu religious stories depict conflicts between Aryans and dark-skinned demons/devils, with gods having dark-skinned slaves. These tales involve demon women attempting to deceive Aryan men and marriages between Aryan heroes and demon women. Some believe these stories reflect actual events, portraying Aryans as positive heroes and the indigenous population as monsters, devils, demons, and slaves.

Inheritance of professions continued from father to son, evolving into family-based professions. As these families grew, they formed communities or Jatis. The caste system expanded as Aryans integrated non-Aryans, placing different Jatis into Varnas based on their professions. Foreign invaders, particularly those creating kingdoms, were integrated into the Kshatriya Varna, while many pre-Aryan aristocratic and warrior communities did not attain Kshatriya status.

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