Earlier, the varnas were only based on labour. Son of a Pundit could become a Shudra, son of a Ruler could become a businessman Vaishya. But later it became a hereditary ritual. Profession of a person was decided by the profession of their forefathers. This made the brahmanas, the most powerful in the Indian society. And shudras were the least powerful who could not pursue their dreams, and were made to serve the other upper castes for generations. They were even considered untouchable.
However, for centuries people of India have internalized this caste system and have looked at various professions as the work of the lower caste. For instance, in India people are more keen on becoming doctors, engineers or lawyers. But similarly professions like shoe designer, fashion designer, chef, caretakers, etc are conceived to be the work of the ‘lower caste’ or shudras. And that is why, people who opted for these professions did not get full support from their family or the society.
Even B.R.Ambedkar, the writer of our constitution, had to face the practice of untouchability. He and his family belonged to the lower caste. As a child he was not allowed to pursue school education. In school he was made to sit on the floor, while other children of the upper caste sat on benches. But his rebellious spirit defied all the rules of the caste system. And he chose the medium of education, and worked very hard to one day write the constitution of Independent India.
Practice of the caste system still exists in our Indian society today. A system that was based on the division of labour, has become the reason for people to look down upon each other. Whereas the truth is, in our modern society there is no need for a varna system. We are independent individuals to choose our profession. And the profession of our forefathers should not determine our choice of profession. It is even worse to look down upon someone for they are not doctors, engineers or lawyers.
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