Summarize the social anthropological definition of caste.


-Mamta Dey-Subject matter expert,Edumarz

Solution: G.S Ghurye provided a social anthropological definition of caste, which included six characteristics. The following were the items:

i) Caste is a segmental division-based institution. This meant that the castes were distinct and closed groups of people who belonged to a social order determined solely by birth. Individuals born into a caste will always be members of that caste.

(ii) Caste society is structured in a hierarchical manner. The caste system was based on a hierarchical structure, with each caste having a different status than the others.

(iii) The institution of caste entails limitations on social contact, including food sharing. The caste system imposed numerous restrictions based on the concepts of purity and contamination.

iv) As a result of hierarchy and limited social interaction, different castes have different rights and responsibilities. These were related to religious life and daily rituals.

(v) The choice of occupation, like caste, is determined by birth and passed down the generations. It was a rigorous system of labor division. A shudra by birth would always be a shudra, no matter how hard he worked or how successful he became.

(vi) Caste imposes strong marriage prohibitions. Marriage between members of different castes was highly forbidden, and both endogamy and exogamy had their own set of restrictions.

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