CasteCaste is a socially ascribed status which is the name of those groups of individuals who have common ancestors and have same profession. Caste is a permanent social group and is a source of recognition of an individual.
In the Sub-continent, there has been a caste system since last three thousand years which was in the beginning, based on division of labour. Different castes had been allotted different jobs on permanent basis the objective of which was to produce stability in the structure and function of a society.
On this basis, caste became a role which was assigned to him without his desire and an individual has no choice and power and he gets the role that of his parents. This system created many complications out of which the most important dislikes of marriage among individual of different castes. Endogamy is preferred
to avoid ritual pollution. Pakistan and India in the Sub-continent and in South Africa caste system has still an important place.
Definitions of Caste1. Ian Robertson :
A caste system is a closed form of social stratification in which status is determined by birth and is life long."
2. CH. Persell :
Caste system is a closed system of social stratification in which prestige and social relationships are based hereditary position at birth."
3. RT. Schaefer :
Hereditary system of rank, that is relatively fixed and immobile is called a caste."
4. Rausek and Warren :
Caste means such a social group in which the membership of an individual is by birth and there is no capacity of mobility."
Characteristics of Caste SystemSociologists attend to the influence of caste for social stratification in different societies because in some of societies, especially in Pakistan. India and Sri Lanka this has got an important place socially which is based upon the following characteristics :
1. Caste determines the ascribed status of an. individual in a society and before his social interaction fixes the expectation and behaviour which afterwards plays an important part in the growth of the self-concept of an
individual, saving him from social adjustment and complications. If an individual is unaware of his caste, he faces serious reaction in social relation or if he adopts a behaviour contrary to his caste, even then the society rebels against him by demanding to adopt an expected behaviour.
2. Caste is a heredity and permanent group and consists of the same race of ancestors. Therefore, individuals of one caste become famous for special characteristics. Just as, beauty, bravery, cowardice, intelligence and
cleverness as hereditary characteristics whereas, these are due to close intensive family socialization. In the choice of mate in a marriage is considered in view of his caste as his personal characteristics. That is why,
marriages are held in the same family to avoid adaptability between the couple.
3. A caste consists of several families of specific groups and has equal economical traditional conditions and abiding by the caste is thought an attachment with the caste otherwise an individual faces social disapproval.
4. A caste makes its individual feel a sense of self-belongingness, attachment and nearness because of which irrespective of his status in the society, he feels a security and expects the help, cooperative and emotional
attachment from his caste people in a difficult time and that makes his relation strong with other individuals.
5. Caste is a source of recognition of an individual in a vast society. In the Sub-continent where caste from personal point of View is very important, there an individual needs not a lengthy introduction but telling caste is sufficient and people understand made about him and relate themselves with him. That is why, the guess of reaction of others about his caste plays an important part in developing his self-concept and this produces
uniformity in the behaviours of people and is a source of their recognition.