Category: Varnas

A varna refers to a level in the Hindu caste system
  • 'Caste wall' is partly demolished
    • Officials in India's Tamil Nadu state have partly demolished a wall which segregated higher caste Hindus from Dalits, formerly known as untouchables.
  • Changing Attitudes Regarding the Indian Caste System
  • Escaping caste
    • What do you do if you want to escape from the bottom of the social heap?
  • Furore reflects India's caste complexities
    • A plan to set aside places at some of India's best-known professional colleges for low-caste Indians has bitterly divided the country.
  • India's caste-offs
    • India's economy is booming. But, as the Today programme's Mike Thomson explains, hundreds of millions of its people still live in abject rural poverty, victims of a caste system whose grip remains as strong as ever.
  • Mass Dalit conversions in Mumbai
    • Several thousand tribal and Dalit Hindus in India have converted en masse to Buddhism at a ceremony in Mumbai.
  • Rise of the untouchables
    • As voting takes place in the politically significant Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) some of India's poorest communities are finding a powerful political voice.
  • The Four Ashrams
    • Ashram means "a place of spiritual shelter." Each stage of life is not only a natural part of the journey from cradle to grave, but a time at which spirituality can be developed.
  • The Four Varnas
    • Although every Hindu must follow general moral codes, each has individual duties according to his or her own nature. These are called sva-dharma, literally "own duties." They are regulated by the system of four varnas (social classes) and four ashrams (stages of life).
  • The Hindu Varna System
  • Untouchables
    • The Untouchables Within the Hindu varna (class system) the Untouchables or Candalas are a group of individuals who are regarded as outcastes and contaminating to the other members of society. These individuals live on the outskirts of society and perform “polluting” labours (Rodrigues 114). Due to the nature of their occupations, the Untouchables are not identified with any specific class of Hindu society and are considered outcastes. In both ancient and contemporary India, the Untouchables have struggled to secure their place within Hindu society and fight discrimination.
  • Varnashrama-dharma and Caste
    • Hinduism has often been termed "a way of life" and in India spirituality is evident wherever one turns. Even the predominant social structure – often considered a mundane concern – is derived from religious sources. The Rig Veda enjoins that human society be divided into four varnas (see The Four Varnas). The revealed nature of "Veda" suggests that the varna system is therefore not man-made but of divine origin. Some traditions therefore conclude that the four varnas are natural divisions, inherent in every human society, and that each varna accommodates the corresponding type of person.