Reading Comprehension_passage On Indian Caste System

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Reading Comprehension_passage On Indian Caste System

Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
     Directions (Q. 1 – 8): The passage given below is followed by a set of nine questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question. Caste is an institution of great complexity. It has its roots deep in history, and even today it governs the lives of 300 million Hindus in several important respects. It is popularly understood as the division of society into a fivefold hierarchy with the Brahmins at the head, followed in order by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or traders, Shudras or servants and labourers, and, lastly, the untouchables. The first three castes are called 'twice born' (dvija) as they alone are entitled to undergo the ceremony of upanayana which constitutes spiritual rebirth. Only the twice born castes are entitled to study the Vedas and to the performance of Vedic ritual on certain occasions. Caste in the above sense is referred to as varna and has an All-India application. The ideas of caste as the fivefold division of society represents a gross over-simplification of facts. The real unit of the caste system is not one of the five varnas but jati, which is a very small endogamous group practising a traditional occupation and enjoying a certain amount of cultural, ritual and juridical autonomy. Every jati, or the members of a jati in a particular village or a group of neighbouring villages, constitutes a caste court which punishes caste offences. There are innumerable jatis. Professor Ghurye calculates that there are 2000 sub castes (jatis) in each linguistic area. This should give some idea of the total number of endogamous sub castes in India as a whole. The importance of the varna system consists in that it furnishes an All-India frame into which the myriad jatis in any single linguistic area can be fitted. It systematizes the chaos of jatis and enables the sub-castes of one region to be comprehended by people in another area by reference to a common scale. Further, the varna-system represents a scale of values and jatis occupying the lower ranks have throughout tried to raise their status by the taking over of the customs and rituals of the top jatis. This has helped the spread of a uniform culture throughout Hindu society. The attempt to fit the jatis of any region into the fivefold hierarchy is a very difficult affair. It is possible everywhere to say. Who are the Brahmins and Untouchables? There is great confusion in the middle regions. Confining our remarks to South India for the moment, we find that the claims of local jatis to be Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are frequently questioned by others. For instance, it is well known that a ruling house claiming to be Kshatriyas were originally potters. Similarly, the claim of a local trading jati to be Vaishya, one of the three twice-born varnas of the vedas, is hotly contested by the other castes in the area. It is not uncommon to find a jati included under the Shudra varna claiming to be higher than the local jatis claiming to be Kshatriyas and vaishyas. Disputes as to relative status are an essential feature of the caste system. This is especially so in the numerous jatis belonging to the fourth varna of Shudra. In south India the term 'Shudra' includes the vast majority of non-Brahmin jatis and even some reformist sects. A man is born into a sub-caste (jati) and this is the only way of acquiring membership. According to the traditional view, however, birth is not an accident. Certain Hindu theological notions like karma and dharma have contributed very greatly to the strengthening of the idea of hierarchy which is inherent in the caste system. The idea of karma teaches a Hindu that he is born in a particular sub-caste because he deserves to be born there. The actions he performed in a previous incarnation deserved such a reward or punishment, as the case might be. If he had performed better actions in his previous incarnation he would have been born in a higher caste. Thus the caste hierarchy comes to be an index of the state of an individual's soul. It also represents certain milestones on the soul's journey to God. Thus the idea of desserts is associated with birth in a particular caste. A man is born in a high caste because of the good actions performed by him in his previous life, and another is born into a low caste because of bad actions performed in his previous life. The other important concept is dharma, which has many meanings, one of which is that which is right or moral. The existing moral code is identified with dharma. A man who accepts the caste system and the rules of his particular sub-caste is living according to dharma, while a man who questions them is violating dharma. Living according to dharma is rewarded, while violation of dharma is punished, both here and hereafter. If he observes the rules of dharma, he will be born in his next incarnation in a high caste, rich, whole and well endowed. If he does not observe them he will be born in a low caste, poor, deformed and ill endowed. Worldly position and success indicate the kind of life a man led in his previous incarnation. One may also reap the reward of one's actions very soon after their performance. For purposes of such reward and punishment, a person is identified with his joint family. A man may become blind because his father, the head of the joint family, made money in the black market during the war. The concept of pollution governs relations between different castes. This concept is absolutely fundamental to the caste system, and along with the concepts of karma and dharma it contributes to make caste the unique institution it is. Every type of inter -caste relation is governed by the concept of pollution. Contact of any kind, touching, dining, sex and other relations between casteswhich are structurally distant results in the higher of the two castes being polluted. Ordinarily, contact between members of the same caste, or between members of castes which are structurally very near to each other, does not result in pollution. Where contact does result in pollution, however, the polluted member of the higher caste has to undergo a purificatory rite in order to be restored to normal ritual status. Such a purificatory rite is fairly simple where the structural distance between the castes is not very great and the type of contact is not serious. Sometimes, as when a Brahmin eats food cooked by an Untouchable, the resultant pollution is so great that he or she has to be excommunicated. Normally, in every caste, women observe the pollution rules much more strictly than men. Question: The Caste system divides the society into
    • A. 

      Five divisions which are sub categorised into two

    • B. 

      Five divisions only

    • C. 

      Seven divisions

    • D. 

      None of the above

  • 2. 
    Passage: Caste is an institution of great complexity. It has its roots deep in history, and even today it governs the lives of 300 million Hindus in several important respects. It is popularly understood as the division of society into a fivefold hierarchy with the Brahmins at the head, followed in order by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or traders, Shudras or servants and labourers, and, lastly, the untouchables. The first three castes are called 'twice born' (dvija) as they alone are entitled to undergo the ceremony of upanayana which constitutes spiritual rebirth. Only the twice born castes are entitled to study the Vedas and to the performance of Vedic ritual on certain occasions. Caste in the above sense is referred to as varna and has an All-India application. The ideas of caste as the fivefold division of society represents a gross over-simplification of facts. The real unit of the caste system is not one of the five varnas but jati, which is a very small endogamous group practising a traditional occupation and enjoying a certain amount of cultural, ritual and juridical autonomy. Every jati, or the members of a jati in a particular village or a group of neighbouring villages, constitutes a caste court which punishes caste offences. There are innumerable jatis. Professor Ghurye calculates that there are 2000 sub castes (jatis) in each linguistic area. This should give some idea of the total number of endogamous sub castes in India as a whole. The importance of the varna system consists in that it furnishes an All-India frame into which the myriad jatis in any single linguistic area can be fitted. It systematizes the chaos of jatis and enables the sub-castes of one region to be comprehended by people in another area by reference to a common scale. Further, the varna-system represents a scale of values and jatis occupying the lower ranks have throughout tried to raise their status by the taking over of the customs and rituals of the top jatis. This has helped the spread of a uniform culture throughout Hindu society. The attempt to fit the jatis of any region into the fivefold hierarchy is a very difficult affair. It is possible everywhere to say. Who are the Brahmins and Untouchables? There is great confusion in the middle regions. Confining our remarks to South India for the moment, we find that the claims of local jatis to be Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are frequently questioned by others. For instance, it is well known that a ruling house claiming to be Kshatriyas were originally potters. Similarly, the claim of a local trading jati to be Vaishya, one of the three twice-born varnas of the vedas, is hotly contested by the other castes in the area. It is not uncommon to find a jati included under the Shudra varna claiming to be higher than the local jatis claiming to be Kshatriyas and vaishyas. Disputes as to relative status are an essential feature of the caste system. This is especially so in the numerous jatis belonging to the fourth varna of Shudra. In south India the term 'Shudra' includes the vast majority of non-Brahmin jatis and even some reformist sects. A man is born into a sub-caste (jati) and this is the only way of acquiring membership. According to the traditional view, however, birth is not an accident. Certain Hindu theological notions like karma and dharma have contributed very greatly to the strengthening of the idea of hierarchy which is inherent in the caste system. The idea of karma teaches a Hindu that he is born in a particular sub-caste because he deserves to be born there. The actions he performed in a previous incarnation deserved such a reward or punishment, as the case might be. If he had performed better actions in his previous incarnation he would have been born in a higher caste. Thus the caste hierarchy comes to be an index of the state of an individual's soul. It also represents certain milestones on the soul's journey to God. Thus the idea of desserts is associated with birth in a particular caste. A man is born in a high caste because of the good actions performed by him in his previous life, and another is born into a low caste because of bad actions performed in his previous life. The other important concept is dharma, which has many meanings, one of which is that which is right or moral. The existing moral code is identified with dharma. A man who accepts the caste system and the rules of his particular sub-caste is living according to dharma, while a man who questions them is violating dharma. Living according to dharma is rewarded, while violation of dharma is punished, both here and hereafter. If he observes the rules of dharma, he will be born in his next incarnation in a high caste, rich, whole and well endowed. If he does not observe them he will be born in a low caste, poor, deformed and ill endowed. Worldly position and success indicate the kind of life a man led in his previous incarnation. One may also reap the reward of one's actions very soon after their performance. For purposes of such reward and punishment, a person is identified with his joint family. A man may become blind because his father, the head of the joint family, made money in the black market during the war. The concept of pollution governs relations between different castes. This concept is absolutely fundamental to the caste system, and along with the concepts of karma and dharma it contributes to make caste the unique institution it is. Every type of inter -caste relation is governed by the concept of pollution. Contact of any kind, touching, dining, sex and other relations between castes which are structurally distant results in the higher of the two castes being polluted. Ordinarily, contact between members of the same caste, or between members of castes which are structurally very near to each other, does not result in pollution. Where contact does result in pollution, however, the polluted member of the higher caste has to undergo a purificatory rite in order to be restored to normal ritual status. Such a purificatory rite is fairly simple where the structural distance between the castes is not very great and the type of contact is not serious. Sometimes, as when a Brahmin eats food cooked by an Untouchable, the resultant pollution is so great that he or she has to be excommunicated. Normally, in every caste, women observe the pollution rules much more strictly than men. Question: According to the passage
    • A. 

      Jati is a subset of varna

    • B. 

      Jati is an independent group other than caste

    • C. 

      Caste is a subset of varna

    • D. 

      None of the above

  • 3. 
    Passage: Caste is an institution of great complexity. It has its roots deep in history, and even today it governs the lives of 300 million Hindus in several important respects. It is popularly understood as the division of society into a fivefold hierarchy with the Brahmins at the head, followed in order by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or traders, Shudras or servants and labourers, and, lastly, the untouchables. The first three castes are called 'twice born' (dvija) as they alone are entitled to undergo the ceremony of upanayana which constitutes spiritual rebirth. Only the twice born castes are entitled to study the Vedas and to the performance of Vedic ritual on certain occasions. Caste in the above sense is referred to as varna and has an All-India application. The ideas of caste as the fivefold division of society represents a gross over-simplification of facts. The real unit of the caste system is not one of the five varnas but jati, which is a very small endogamous group practising a traditional occupation and enjoying a certain amount of cultural, ritual and juridical autonomy. Every jati, or the members of a jati in a particular village or a group of neighbouring villages, constitutes a caste court which punishes caste offences. There are innumerable jatis. Professor Ghurye calculates that there are 2000 sub castes (jatis) in each linguistic area. This should give some idea of the total number of endogamous sub castes in India as a whole. The importance of the varna system consists in that it furnishes an All-India frame into which the myriad jatis in any single linguistic area can be fitted. It systematizes the chaos of jatis and enables the sub-castes of one region to be comprehended by people in another area by reference to a common scale. Further, the varna-system represents a scale of values and jatis occupying the lower ranks have throughout tried to raise their status by the taking over of the customs and rituals of the top jatis. This has helped the spread of a uniform culture throughout Hindu society. The attempt to fit the jatis of any region into the fivefold hierarchy is a very difficult affair. It is possible everywhere to say. Who are the Brahmins and Untouchables? There is great confusion in the middle regions. Confining our remarks to South India for the moment, we find that the claims of local jatis to be Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are frequently questioned by others. For instance, it is well known that a ruling house claiming to be Kshatriyas were originally potters. Similarly, the claim of a local trading jati to be Vaishya, one of the three twice-born varnas of the vedas, is hotly contested by the other castes in the area. It is not uncommon to find a jati included under the Shudra varna claiming to be higher than the local jatis claiming to be Kshatriyas and vaishyas. Disputes as to relative status are an essential feature of the caste system. This is especially so in the numerous jatis belonging to the fourth varna of Shudra. In south India the term 'Shudra' includes the vast majority of non-Brahmin jatis and even some reformist sects. A man is born into a sub-caste (jati) and this is the only way of acquiring membership. According to the traditional view, however, birth is not an accident. Certain Hindu theological notions like karma and dharma have contributed very greatly to the strengthening of the idea of hierarchy which is inherent in the caste system. The idea of karma teaches a Hindu that he is born in a particular sub-caste because he deserves to be born there. The actions he performed in a previous incarnation deserved such a reward or punishment, as the case might be. If he had performed better actions in his previous incarnation he would have been born in a higher caste. Thus the caste hierarchy comes to be an index of the state of an individual's soul. It also represents certain milestones on the soul's journey to God. Thus the idea of desserts is associated with birth in a particular caste. A man is born in a high caste because of the good actions performed by him in his previous life, and another is born into a low caste because of bad actions performed in his previous life. The other important concept is dharma, which has many meanings, one of which is that which is right or moral. The existing moral code is identified with dharma. A man who accepts the caste system and the rules of his particular sub-caste is living according to dharma, while a man who questions them is violating dharma. Living according to dharma is rewarded, while violation of dharma is punished, both here and hereafter. If he observes the rules of dharma, he will be born in his next incarnation in a high caste, rich, whole and well endowed. If he does not observe them he will be born in a low caste, poor, deformed and ill endowed. Worldly position and success indicate the kind of life a man led in his previous incarnation. One may also reap the reward of one's actions very soon after their performance. For purposes of such reward and punishment, a person is identified with his joint family. A man may become blind because his father, the head of the joint family, made money in the black market during the war. The concept of pollution governs relations between different castes. This concept is absolutely fundamental to the caste system, and along with the concepts of karma and dharma it contributes to make caste the unique institution it is. Every type of inter -caste relation is governed by the concept of pollution. Contact of any kind, touching, dining, sex and other relations between castes which are structurally distant results in the higher of the two castes being polluted. Ordinarily, contact between members of the same caste, or between members of castes which are structurally very near to each other, does not result in pollution. Where contact does result in pollution, however, the polluted member of the higher caste has to undergo a purificatory rite in order to be restored to normal ritual status. Such a purificatory rite is fairly simple where the structural distance between the castes is not very great and the type of contact is not serious. Sometimes, as when a Brahmin eats food cooked by an Untouchable, the resultant pollution is so great that he or she has to be excommunicated. Normally, in every caste, women observe the pollution rules much more strictly than men. Question: Caste court is constituted of
    • A. 

      Caste

    • B. 

      Jati

    • C. 

      Varna

    • D. 

      None of the above

  • 4. 
    Passage: Caste is an institution of great complexity. It has its roots deep in history, and even today it governs the lives of 300 million Hindus in several important respects. It is popularly understood as the division of society into a fivefold hierarchy with the Brahmins at the head, followed in order by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or traders, Shudras or servants and labourers, and, lastly, the untouchables. The first three castes are called 'twice born' (dvija) as they alone are entitled to undergo the ceremony of upanayana which constitutes spiritual rebirth. Only the twice born castes are entitled to study the Vedas and to the performance of Vedic ritual on certain occasions. Caste in the above sense is referred to as varna and has an All-India application. The ideas of caste as the fivefold division of society represents a gross over-simplification of facts. The real unit of the caste system is not one of the five varnas but jati, which is a very small endogamous group practising a traditional occupation and enjoying a certain amount of cultural, ritual and juridical autonomy. Every jati, or the members of a jati in a particular village or a group of neighbouring villages, constitutes a caste court which punishes caste offences. There are innumerable jatis. Professor Ghurye calculates that there are 2000 sub castes (jatis) in each linguistic area. This should give some idea of the total number of endogamous sub castes in India as a whole. The importance of the varna system consists in that it furnishes an All-India frame into which the myriad jatis in any single linguistic area can be fitted. It systematizes the chaos of jatis and enables the sub-castes of one region to be comprehended by people in another area by reference to a common scale. Further, the varna-system represents a scale of values and jatis occupying the lower ranks have throughout tried to raise their status by the taking over of the customs and rituals of the top jatis. This has helped the spread of a uniform culture throughout Hindu society. The attempt to fit the jatis of any region into the fivefold hierarchy is a very difficult affair. It is possible everywhere to say. Who are the Brahmins and Untouchables? There is great confusion in the middle regions. Confining our remarks to South India for the moment, we find that the claims of local jatis to be Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are frequently questioned by others. For instance, it is well known that a ruling house claiming to be Kshatriyas were originally potters. Similarly, the claim of a local trading jati to be Vaishya, one of the three twice-born varnas of the vedas, is hotly contested by the other castes in the area. It is not uncommon to find a jati included under the Shudra varna claiming to be higher than the local jatis claiming to be Kshatriyas and vaishyas. Disputes as to relative status are an essential feature of the caste system. This is especially so in the numerous jatis belonging to the fourth varna of Shudra. In south India the term 'Shudra' includes the vast majority of non-Brahmin jatis and even some reformist sects. A man is born into a sub-caste (jati) and this is the only way of acquiring membership. According to the traditional view, however, birth is not an accident. Certain Hindu theological notions like karma and dharma have contributed very greatly to the strengthening of the idea of hierarchy which is inherent in the caste system. The idea of karma teaches a Hindu that he is born in a particular sub-caste because he deserves to be born there. The actions he performed in a previous incarnation deserved such a reward or punishment, as the case might be. If he had performed better actions in his previous incarnation he would have been born in a higher caste. Thus the caste hierarchy comes to be an index of the state of an individual's soul. It also represents certain milestones on the soul's journey to God. Thus the idea of desserts is associated with birth in a particular caste. A man is born in a high caste because of the good actions performed by him in his previous life, and another is born into a low caste because of bad actions performed in his previous life. The other important concept is dharma, which has many meanings, one of which is that which is right or moral. The existing moral code is identified with dharma. A man who accepts the caste system and the rules of his particular sub-caste is living according to dharma, while a man who questions them is violating dharma. Living according to dharma is rewarded, while violation of dharma is punished, both here and hereafter. If he observes the rules of dharma, he will be born in his next incarnation in a high caste, rich, whole and well endowed. If he does not observe them he will be born in a low caste, poor, deformed and ill endowed. Worldly position and success indicate the kind of life a man led in his previous incarnation. One may also reap the reward of one's actions very soon after their performance. For purposes of such reward and punishment, a person is identified with his joint family. A man may become blind because his father, the head of the joint family, made money in the black market during the war. The concept of pollution governs relations between different castes. This concept is absolutely fundamental to the caste system, and along with the concepts of karma and dharma it contributes to make caste the unique institution it is. Every type of inter -caste relation is governed by the concept of pollution. Contact of any kind, touching, dining, sex and other relations between castes which are structurally distant results in the higher of the two castes being polluted. Ordinarily, contact between members of the same caste, or between members of castes which are structurally very near to each other, does not result in pollution. Where contact does result in pollution, however, the polluted member of the higher caste has to undergo a purificatory rite in order to be restored to normal ritual status. Such a purificatory rite is fairly simple where the structural distance between the castes is not very great and the type of contact is not serious. Sometimes, as when a Brahmin eats food cooked by an Untouchable, the resultant pollution is so great that he or she has to be excommunicated. Normally, in every caste, women observe the pollution rules much more strictly than men. Question: The varna system is
    • A. 

      Framework to understand jatis through out the country

    • B. 

      A value scale

    • C. 

      Both 1 & 2

    • D. 

      None of the above

  • 5. 
    Passage: Caste is an institution of great complexity. It has its roots deep in history, and even today it governs the lives of 300 million Hindus in several important respects. It is popularly understood as the division of society into a fivefold hierarchy with the Brahmins at the head, followed in order by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or traders, Shudras or servants and labourers, and, lastly, the untouchables. The first three castes are called 'twice born' (dvija) as they alone are entitled to undergo the ceremony of upanayana which constitutes spiritual rebirth. Only the twice born castes are entitled to study the Vedas and to the performance of Vedic ritual on certain occasions. Caste in the above sense is referred to as varna and has an All-India application. The ideas of caste as the fivefold division of society represents a gross over-simplification of facts. The real unit of the caste system is not one of the five varnas but jati, which is a very small endogamous group practising a traditional occupation and enjoying a certain amount of cultural, ritual and juridical autonomy. Every jati, or the members of a jati in a particular village or a group of neighbouring villages, constitutes a caste court which punishes caste offences. There are innumerable jatis. Professor Ghurye calculates that there are 2000 sub castes (jatis) in each linguistic area. This should give some idea of the total number of endogamous sub castes in India as a whole. The importance of the varna system consists in that it furnishes an All-India frame into which the myriad jatis in any single linguistic area can be fitted. It systematizes the chaos of jatis and enables the sub-castes of one region to be comprehended by people in another area by reference to a common scale. Further, the varna-system represents a scale of values and jatis occupying the lower ranks have throughout tried to raise their status by the taking over of the customs and rituals of the top jatis. This has helped the spread of a uniform culture throughout Hindu society. The attempt to fit the jatis of any region into the fivefold hierarchy is a very difficult affair. It is possible everywhere to say. Who are the Brahmins and Untouchables? There is great confusion in the middle regions. Confining our remarks to South India for the moment, we find that the claims of local jatis to be Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are frequently questioned by others. For instance, it is well known that a ruling house claiming to be Kshatriyas were originally potters. Similarly, the claim of a local trading jati to be Vaishya, one of the three twice-born varnas of the vedas, is hotly contested by the other castes in the area. It is not uncommon to find a jati included under the Shudra varna claiming to be higher than the local jatis claiming to be Kshatriyas and vaishyas. Disputes as to relative status are an essential feature of the caste system. This is especially so in the numerous jatis belonging to the fourth varna of Shudra. In south India the term 'Shudra' includes the vast majority of non-Brahmin jatis and even some reformist sects. A man is born into a sub-caste (jati) and this is the only way of acquiring membership. According to the traditional view, however, birth is not an accident. Certain Hindu theological notions like karma and dharma have contributed very greatly to the strengthening of the idea of hierarchy which is inherent in the caste system. The idea of karma teaches a Hindu that he is born in a particular sub-caste because he deserves to be born there. The actions he performed in a previous incarnation deserved such a reward or punishment, as the case might be. If he had performed better actions in his previous incarnation he would have been born in a higher caste. Thus the caste hierarchy comes to be an index of the state of an individual's soul. It also represents certain milestones on the soul's journey to God. Thus the idea of desserts is associated with birth in a particular caste. A man is born in a high caste because of the good actions performed by him in his previous life, and another is born into a low caste because of bad actions performed in his previous life. The other important concept is dharma, which has many meanings, one of which is that which is right or moral. The existing moral code is identified with dharma. A man who accepts the caste system and the rules of his particular sub-caste is living according to dharma, while a man who questions them is violating dharma. Living according to dharma is rewarded, while violation of dharma is punished, both here and hereafter. If he observes the rules of dharma, he will be born in his next incarnation in a high caste, rich, whole and well endowed. If he does not observe them he will be born in a low caste, poor, deformed and ill endowed. Worldly position and success indicate the kind of life a man led in his previous incarnation. One may also reap the reward of one's actions very soon after their performance. For purposes of such reward and punishment, a person is identified with his joint family. A man may become blind because his father, the head of the joint family, made money in the black market during the war. The concept of pollution governs relations between different castes. This concept is absolutely fundamental to the caste system, and along with the concepts of karma and dharma it contributes to make caste the unique institution it is. Every type of inter -caste relation is governed by the concept of pollution. Contact of any kind, touching, dining, sex and other relations between castes which are structurally distant results in the higher of the two castes being polluted. Ordinarily, contact between members of the same caste, or between members of castes which are structurally very near to each other, does not result in pollution. Where contact does result in pollution, however, the polluted member of the higher caste has to undergo a purificatory rite in order to be restored to normal ritual status. Such a purificatory rite is fairly simple where the structural distance between the castes is not very great and the type of contact is not serious. Sometimes, as when a Brahmin eats food cooked by an Untouchable, the resultant pollution is so great that he or she has to be excommunicated. Normally, in every caste, women observe the pollution rules much more strictly than men. Question: The main dispute about the position of jatis is in
    • A. 

      South lndia

    • B. 

      Shudras in South India

    • C. 

      All Castes

    • D. 

      None of the castes

  • 6. 
    Passage: Caste is an institution of great complexity. It has its roots deep in history, and even today it governs the lives of 300 million Hindus in several important respects. It is popularly understood as the division of society into a fivefold hierarchy with the Brahmins at the head, followed in order by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or traders, Shudras or servants and labourers, and, lastly, the untouchables. The first three castes are called 'twice born' (dvija) as they alone are entitled to undergo the ceremony of upanayana which constitutes spiritual rebirth. Only the twice born castes are entitled to study the Vedas and to the performance of Vedic ritual on certain occasions. Caste in the above sense is referred to as varna and has an All-India application. The ideas of caste as the fivefold division of society represents a gross over-simplification of facts. The real unit of the caste system is not one of the five varnas but jati, which is a very small endogamous group practising a traditional occupation and enjoying a certain amount of cultural, ritual and juridical autonomy. Every jati, or the members of a jati in a particular village or a group of neighbouring villages, constitutes a caste court which punishes caste offences. There are innumerable jatis. Professor Ghurye calculates that there are 2000 sub castes (jatis) in each linguistic area. This should give some idea of the total number of endogamous sub castes in India as a whole. The importance of the varna system consists in that it furnishes an All-India frame into which the myriad jatis in any single linguistic area can be fitted. It systematizes the chaos of jatis and enables the sub-castes of one region to be comprehended by people in another area by reference to a common scale. Further, the varna-system represents a scale of values and jatis occupying the lower ranks have throughout tried to raise their status by the taking over of the customs and rituals of the top jatis. This has helped the spread of a uniform culture throughout Hindu society. The attempt to fit the jatis of any region into the fivefold hierarchy is a very difficult affair. It is possible everywhere to say. Who are the Brahmins and Untouchables? There is great confusion in the middle regions. Confining our remarks to South India for the moment, we find that the claims of local jatis to be Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are frequently questioned by others. For instance, it is well known that a ruling house claiming to be Kshatriyas were originally potters. Similarly, the claim of a local trading jati to be Vaishya, one of the three twice-born varnas of the vedas, is hotly contested by the other castes in the area. It is not uncommon to find a jati included under the Shudra varna claiming to be higher than the local jatis claiming to be Kshatriyas and vaishyas. Disputes as to relative status are an essential feature of the caste system. This is especially so in the numerous jatis belonging to the fourth varna of Shudra. In south India the term 'Shudra' includes the vast majority of non-Brahmin jatis and even some reformist sects. A man is born into a sub-caste (jati) and this is the only way of acquiring membership. According to the traditional view, however, birth is not an accident. Certain Hindu theological notions like karma and dharma have contributed very greatly to the strengthening of the idea of hierarchy which is inherent in the caste system. The idea of karma teaches a Hindu that he is born in a particular sub-caste because he deserves to be born there. The actions he performed in a previous incarnation deserved such a reward or punishment, as the case might be. If he had performed better actions in his previous incarnation he would have been born in a higher caste. Thus the caste hierarchy comes to be an index of the state of an individual's soul. It also represents certain milestones on the soul's journey to God. Thus the idea of desserts is associated with birth in a particular caste. A man is born in a high caste because of the good actions performed by him in his previous life, and another is born into a low caste because of bad actions performed in his previous life. The other important concept is dharma, which has many meanings, one of which is that which is right or moral. The existing moral code is identified with dharma. A man who accepts the caste system and the rules of his particular sub-caste is living according to dharma, while a man who questions them is violating dharma. Living according to dharma is rewarded, while violation of dharma is punished, both here and hereafter. If he observes the rules of dharma, he will be born in his next incarnation in a high caste, rich, whole and well endowed. If he does not observe them he will be born in a low caste, poor, deformed and ill endowed. Worldly position and success indicate the kind of life a man led in his previous incarnation. One may also reap the reward of one's actions very soon after their performance. For purposes of such reward and punishment, a person is identified with his joint family. A man may become blind because his father, the head of the joint family, made money in the black market during the war. The concept of pollution governs relations between different castes. This concept is absolutely fundamental to the caste system, and along with the concepts of karma and dharma it contributes to make caste the unique institution it is. Every type of inter -caste relation is governed by the concept of pollution. Contact of any kind, touching, dining, sex and other relations between castes which are structurally distant results in the higher of the two castes being polluted. Ordinarily, contact between members of the same caste, or between members of castes which are structurally very near to each other, does not result in pollution. Where contact does result in pollution, however, the polluted member of the higher caste has to undergo a purificatory rite in order to be restored to normal ritual status. Such a purificatory rite is fairly simple where the structural distance between the castes is not very great and the type of contact is not serious. Sometimes, as when a Brahmin eats food cooked by an Untouchable, the resultant pollution is so great that he or she has to be excommunicated. Normally, in every caste, women observe the pollution rules much more strictly than men. Question: Birth to a caste or jati
    • A. 

      Gives the membership to it

    • B. 

      Is a result of previous incarnation activities

    • C. 

      Both 1 & 2

    • D. 

      None of the above

  • 7. 
    Passage: Caste is an institution of great complexity. It has its roots deep in history, and even today it governs the lives of 300 million Hindus in several important respects. It is popularly understood as the division of society into a fivefold hierarchy with the Brahmins at the head, followed in order by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or traders, Shudras or servants and labourers, and, lastly, the untouchables. The first three castes are called 'twice born' (dvija) as they alone are entitled to undergo the ceremony of upanayana which constitutes spiritual rebirth. Only the twice born castes are entitled to study the Vedas and to the performance of Vedic ritual on certain occasions. Caste in the above sense is referred to as varna and has an All-India application. The ideas of caste as the fivefold division of society represents a gross over-simplification of facts. The real unit of the caste system is not one of the five varnas but jati, which is a very small endogamous group practising a traditional occupation and enjoying a certain amount of cultural, ritual and juridical autonomy. Every jati, or the members of a jati in a particular village or a group of neighbouring villages, constitutes a caste court which punishes caste offences. There are innumerable jatis. Professor Ghurye calculates that there are 2000 sub castes (jatis) in each linguistic area. This should give some idea of the total number of endogamous sub castes in India as a whole. The importance of the varna system consists in that it furnishes an All-India frame into which the myriad jatis in any single linguistic area can be fitted. It systematizes the chaos of jatis and enables the sub-castes of one region to be comprehended by people in another area by reference to a common scale. Further, the varna-system represents a scale of values and jatis occupying the lower ranks have throughout tried to raise their status by the taking over of the customs and rituals of the top jatis. This has helped the spread of a uniform culture throughout Hindu society. The attempt to fit the jatis of any region into the fivefold hierarchy is a very difficult affair. It is possible everywhere to say. Who are the Brahmins and Untouchables? There is great confusion in the middle regions. Confining our remarks to South India for the moment, we find that the claims of local jatis to be Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are frequently questioned by others. For instance, it is well known that a ruling house claiming to be Kshatriyas were originally potters. Similarly, the claim of a local trading jati to be Vaishya, one of the three twice-born varnas of the vedas, is hotly contested by the other castes in the area. It is not uncommon to find a jati included under the Shudra varna claiming to be higher than the local jatis claiming to be Kshatriyas and vaishyas. Disputes as to relative status are an essential feature of the caste system. This is especially so in the numerous jatis belonging to the fourth varna of Shudra. In south India the term 'Shudra' includes the vast majority of non-Brahmin jatis and even some reformist sects. A man is born into a sub-caste (jati) and this is the only way of acquiring membership. According to the traditional view, however, birth is not an accident. Certain Hindu theological notions like karma and dharma have contributed very greatly to the strengthening of the idea of hierarchy which is inherent in the caste system. The idea of karma teaches a Hindu that he is born in a particular sub-caste because he deserves to be born there. The actions he performed in a previous incarnation deserved such a reward or punishment, as the case might be. If he had performed better actions in his previous incarnation he would have been born in a higher caste. Thus the caste hierarchy comes to be an index of the state of an individual's soul. It also represents certain milestones on the soul's journey to God. Thus the idea of desserts is associated with birth in a particular caste. A man is born in a high caste because of the good actions performed by him in his previous life, and another is born into a low caste because of bad actions performed in his previous life. The other important concept is dharma, which has many meanings, one of which is that which is right or moral. The existing moral code is identified with dharma. A man who accepts the caste system and the rules of his particular sub-caste is living according to dharma, while a man who questions them is violating dharma. Living according to dharma is rewarded, while violation of dharma is punished, both here and hereafter. If he observes the rules of dharma, he will be born in his next incarnation in a high caste, rich, whole and well endowed. If he does not observe them he will be born in a low caste, poor, deformed and ill endowed. Worldly position and success indicate the kind of life a man led in his previous incarnation. One may also reap the reward of one's actions very soon after their performance. For purposes of such reward and punishment, a person is identified with his joint family. A man may become blind because his father, the head of the joint family, made money in the black market during the war. The concept of pollution governs relations between different castes. This concept is absolutely fundamental to the caste system, and along with the concepts of karma and dharma it contributes to make caste the unique institution it is. Every type of inter -caste relation is governed by the concept of pollution. Contact of any kind, touching, dining, sex and other relations between castes which are structurally distant results in the higher of the two castes being polluted. Ordinarily, contact between members of the same caste, or between members of castes which are structurally very near to each other, does not result in pollution. Where contact does result in pollution, however, the polluted member of the higher caste has to undergo a purificatory rite in order to be restored to normal ritual status. Such a purificatory rite is fairly simple where the structural distance between the castes is not very great and the type of contact is not serious. Sometimes, as when a Brahmin eats food cooked by an Untouchable, the resultant pollution is so great that he or she has to be excommunicated. Normally, in every caste, women observe the pollution rules much more strictly than men. Question: If a man questions and violates the laws of the caste he is born to, then,
    • A. 

      He will be born in a higher caste next time

    • B. 

      He is committing crime as per Hindu dharma

    • C. 

      He will not be born again

    • D. 

      None of the above

  • 8. 
    Passage: Caste is an institution of great complexity. It has its roots deep in history, and even today it governs the lives of 300 million Hindus in several important respects. It is popularly understood as the division of society into a fivefold hierarchy with the Brahmins at the head, followed in order by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or traders, Shudras or servants and labourers, and, lastly, the untouchables. The first three castes are called 'twice born' (dvija) as they alone are entitled to undergo the ceremony of upanayana which constitutes spiritual rebirth. Only the twice born castes are entitled to study the Vedas and to the performance of Vedic ritual on certain occasions. Caste in the above sense is referred to as varna and has an All-India application. The ideas of caste as the fivefold division of society represents a gross over-simplification of facts. The real unit of the caste system is not one of the five varnas but jati, which is a very small endogamous group practising a traditional occupation and enjoying a certain amount of cultural, ritual and juridical autonomy. Every jati, or the members of a jati in a particular village or a group of neighbouring villages, constitutes a caste court which punishes caste offences. There are innumerable jatis. Professor Ghurye calculates that there are 2000 sub castes (jatis) in each linguistic area. This should give some idea of the total number of endogamous sub castes in India as a whole. The importance of the varna system consists in that it furnishes an All-India frame into which the myriad jatis in any single linguistic area can be fitted. It systematizes the chaos of jatis and enables the sub-castes of one region to be comprehended by people in another area by reference to a common scale. Further, the varna-system represents a scale of values and jatis occupying the lower ranks have throughout tried to raise their status by the taking over of the customs and rituals of the top jatis. This has helped the spread of a uniform culture throughout Hindu society. The attempt to fit the jatis of any region into the fivefold hierarchy is a very difficult affair. It is possible everywhere to say. Who are the Brahmins and Untouchables? There is great confusion in the middle regions. Confining our remarks to South India for the moment, we find that the claims of local jatis to be Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are frequently questioned by others. For instance, it is well known that a ruling house claiming to be Kshatriyas were originally potters. Similarly, the claim of a local trading jati to be Vaishya, one of the three twice-born varnas of the vedas, is hotly contested by the other castes in the area. It is not uncommon to find a jati included under the Shudra varna claiming to be higher than the local jatis claiming to be Kshatriyas and vaishyas. Disputes as to relative status are an essential feature of the caste system. This is especially so in the numerous jatis belonging to the fourth varna of Shudra. In south India the term 'Shudra' includes the vast majority of non-Brahmin jatis and even some reformist sects. A man is born into a sub-caste (jati) and this is the only way of acquiring membership. According to the traditional view, however, birth is not an accident. Certain Hindu theological notions like karma and dharma have contributed very greatly to the strengthening of the idea of hierarchy which is inherent in the caste system. The idea of karma teaches a Hindu that he is born in a particular sub-caste because he deserves to be born there. The actions he performed in a previous incarnation deserved such a reward or punishment, as the case might be. If he had performed better actions in his previous incarnation he would have been born in a higher caste. Thus the caste hierarchy comes to be an index of the state of an individual's soul. It also represents certain milestones on the soul's journey to God. Thus the idea of desserts is associated with birth in a particular caste. A man is born in a high caste because of the good actions performed by him in his previous life, and another is born into a low caste because of bad actions performed in his previous life. The other important concept is dharma, which has many meanings, one of which is that which is right or moral. The existing moral code is identified with dharma. A man who accepts the caste system and the rules of his particular sub-caste is living according to dharma, while a man who questions them is violating dharma. Living according to dharma is rewarded, while violation of dharma is punished, both here and hereafter. If he observes the rules of dharma, he will be born in his next incarnation in a high caste, rich, whole and well endowed. If he does not observe them he will be born in a low caste, poor, deformed and ill endowed. Worldly position and success indicate the kind of life a man led in his previous incarnation. One may also reap the reward of one's actions very soon after their performance. For purposes of such reward and punishment, a person is identified with his joint family. A man may become blind because his father, the head of the joint family, made money in the black market during the war. The concept of pollution governs relations between different castes. This concept is absolutely fundamental to the caste system, and along with the concepts of karma and dharma it contributes to make caste the unique institution it is. Every type of inter -caste relation is governed by the concept of pollution. Contact of any kind, touching, dining, sex and other relations between castes which are structurally distant results in the higher of the two castes being polluted. Ordinarily, contact between members of the same caste, or between members of castes which are structurally very near to each other, does not result in pollution. Where contact does result in pollution, however, the polluted member of the higher caste has to undergo a purificatory rite in order to be restored to normal ritual status. Such a purificatory rite is fairly simple where the structural distance between the castes is not very great and the type of contact is not serious. Sometimes, as when a Brahmin eats food cooked by an Untouchable, the resultant pollution is so great that he or she has to be excommunicated. Normally, in every caste, women observe the pollution rules much more strictly than men. Question: The concept of what is fundamental to the caste system is:
    • A. 

      Jati

    • B. 

      Varna

    • C. 

      Dharma

    • D. 

      Pollution

  • 9. 
    Passage: Caste is an institution of great complexity. It has its roots deep in history, and even today it governs the lives of 300 million Hindus in several important respects. It is popularly understood as the division of society into a fivefold hierarchy with the Brahmins at the head, followed in order by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or traders, Shudras or servants and labourers, and, lastly, the untouchables. The first three castes are called 'twice born' (dvija) as they alone are entitled to undergo the ceremony of upanayana which constitutes spiritual rebirth. Only the twice born castes are entitled to study the Vedas and to the performance of Vedic ritual on certain occasions. Caste in the above sense is referred to as varna and has an All-India application. The ideas of caste as the fivefold division of society represents a gross over-simplification of facts. The real unit of the caste system is not one of the five varnas but jati, which is a very small endogamous group practising a traditional occupation and enjoying a certain amount of cultural, ritual and juridical autonomy. Every jati, or the members of a jati in a particular village or a group of neighbouring villages, constitutes a caste court which punishes caste offences. There are innumerable jatis. Professor Ghurye calculates that there are 2000 sub castes (jatis) in each linguistic area. This should give some idea of the total number of endogamous sub castes in India as a whole. The importance of the varna system consists in that it furnishes an All-India frame into which the myriad jatis in any single linguistic area can be fitted. It systematizes the chaos of jatis and enables the sub-castes of one region to be comprehended by people in another area by reference to a common scale. Further, the varna-system represents a scale of values and jatis occupying the lower ranks have throughout tried to raise their status by the taking over of the customs and rituals of the top jatis. This has helped the spread of a uniform culture throughout Hindu society. The attempt to fit the jatis of any region into the fivefold hierarchy is a very difficult affair. It is possible everywhere to say. Who are the Brahmins and Untouchables? There is great confusion in the middle regions. Confining our remarks to South India for the moment, we find that the claims of local jatis to be Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are frequently questioned by others. For instance, it is well known that a ruling house claiming to be Kshatriyas were originally potters. Similarly, the claim of a local trading jati to be Vaishya, one of the three twice-born varnas of the vedas, is hotly contested by the other castes in the area. It is not uncommon to find a jati included under the Shudra varna claiming to be higher than the local jatis claiming to be Kshatriyas and vaishyas. Disputes as to relative status are an essential feature of the caste system. This is especially so in the numerous jatis belonging to the fourth varna of Shudra. In south India the term 'Shudra' includes the vast majority of non-Brahmin jatis and even some reformist sects. A man is born into a sub-caste (jati) and this is the only way of acquiring membership. According to the traditional view, however, birth is not an accident. Certain Hindu theological notions like karma and dharma have contributed very greatly to the strengthening of the idea of hierarchy which is inherent in the caste system. The idea of karma teaches a Hindu that he is born in a particular sub-caste because he deserves to be born there. The actions he performed in a previous incarnation deserved such a reward or punishment, as the case might be. If he had performed better actions in his previous incarnation he would have been born in a higher caste. Thus the caste hierarchy comes to be an index of the state of an individual's soul. It also represents certain milestones on the soul's journey to God. Thus the idea of desserts is associated with birth in a particular caste. A man is born in a high caste because of the good actions performed by him in his previous life, and another is born into a low caste because of bad actions performed in his previous life. The other important concept is dharma, which has many meanings, one of which is that which is right or moral. The existing moral code is identified with dharma. A man who accepts the caste system and the rules of his particular sub-caste is living according to dharma, while a man who questions them is violating dharma. Living according to dharma is rewarded, while violation of dharma is punished, both here and hereafter. If he observes the rules of dharma, he will be born in his next incarnation in a high caste, rich, whole and well endowed. If he does not observe them he will be born in a low caste, poor, deformed and ill endowed. Worldly position and success indicate the kind of life a man led in his previous incarnation. One may also reap the reward of one's actions very soon after their performance. For purposes of such reward and punishment, a person is identified with his joint family. A man may become blind because his father, the head of the joint family, made money in the black market during the war. The concept of pollution governs relations between different castes. This concept is absolutely fundamental to the caste system, and along with the concepts of karma and dharma it contributes to make caste the unique institution it is. Every type of inter -caste relation is governed by the concept of pollution. Contact of any kind, touching, dining, sex and other relations between castes which are structurally distant results in the higher of the two castes being polluted. Ordinarily, contact between members of the same caste, or between members of castes which are structurally very near to each other, does not result in pollution. Where contact does result in pollution, however, the polluted member of the higher caste has to undergo a purificatory rite in order to be restored to normal ritual status. Such a purificatory rite is fairly simple where the structural distance between the castes is not very great and the type of contact is not serious. Sometimes, as when a Brahmin eats food cooked by an Untouchable, the resultant pollution is so great that he or she has to be excommunicated. Normally, in every caste, women observe the pollution rules much more strictly than men. Question: The concept of pollution is related to
    • A. 

      Profession of the caste

    • B. 

      Crime committed by a member of the caste

    • C. 

      Activities that involve intra caste contact between members

    • D. 

      Activities that involve inter caste contact between members

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