The caste system in India is a powerful foundation consisting of many different classes and influences resulting in social segregation which has shaped Indian society for thousands of years. In India the caste system is a strict division between power and poverty, it is thought to be a part of ancient Hindu life, though some argue it was empowered by British imperialism. The caste system has several theories concerning its origins, the primary concept being the Arayan system.

[1] The Arayan system consisted of thousands of endogamous castes, historically known as Varnas. As defined by ancient Brahminicial texts there were four prominent caste categories; Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Shrudas. [2] The castes were a hierarchy, the chain of command beginning with Brahmins, whose role was that of priests and teachers. The Brahmins was a powerful caste because they were put on pedestals by the people. Due to the devotion the population bestowed to priests they were very wealthy and lived in comfort.

Beneath the Brahmins was the Kshatriyas, the class of warriors and rulers. It was the Kshatriyas’ responsibility to uphold justice and social harmony in addition to govern and oversee India, and in times of conflict, to defend. [3] The second lowest ranking class was the Vaisyas. People in this class were traders, moneylenders, farmers, merchants, and businessmen; the men were entitled to wear sacred threads. At the bottom of the hierarchical pyramid were the Shrudas who were the agriculturists and the artisans.

Sometimes mentioned are the, Dalit, or untouchables, named so because they are seen as so lowly and unclean as to have no place within society, were sometimes considered as a separate group below the Shrudas or part of a lower sub section within the Shrudas. Although there are many efforts in place today working to improve the caste system there are still many negative effects it has on today`s society and throughout history. Caste related violence has been a prominent issue dating back many years. Other negative impacts include social segregation and poverty.

When violence is an issue often it is the Dalit, or untouchables, who are abused by the four castes or within their own. [4] One such example was in, 2001, a man who belonged to the Dalit caste prayed in a church belonging to a class not of his own, and was tortured and killed by an upper-caste villager. His crime as that he dared to speak his mind in a village where untouchables were not meant to have opinions. [5] Today, urbanization and industrialization are beginning to weaken the hold of the caste system on individuals.

In 1997, the symbolic but high-status position of President of India went to an untouchable for the first time in history. The caste system seems to have played a large part in creating poverty in India, forcing many people who belong to the lower castes into poverty, with the lower class consisting of 180 million to 220 million people. The social reform movement is a revolutionary concept that has been gathering momentum in India over a long period of time. Today, the social reform movement is still under way with a great deal of influence.

India has a rich history of social reformers who have helped establish the foundations of modern India, and, in some cases, have affected a worldwide impact through political action. Two important and well noted reformers were Mahatma Gandhi and Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the first Dalit president. They played important roles in raising awareness of the severity of the conditions millions of people were facing and made a significant impact on the quality of life in India. Due to India’s large size there is a great deal of controversy over the quality of life in India.

There are many factors that both increase and decrease India’s quality of life ranging from civil liberties to custodial killings and police abuse including torture. In India many deaths are accountable to the police force using brutality and torture while India has yet to account for the staggering numbers of deaths each year. Violence is particularly seen in the Border Security Force with over nine hundred deaths in the last ten years, Border Security Forces were issued rubber bullets in order to contain the matter.

Protests and social unrest has been spreading where inequality is apparent as well as an anti-corruption movement which has the government at a fault. [6] India is heavily influenced by its rich culture as well as it’s background of suppression and segregation through British imperialism. Today India faces new political problems with government corruption which greatly impacts their economy as well. Taxes and bribes are common in workplaces and between state borders. Many government

officials are accused of committing crimes involving very high levels of government. Many issues that arise with government corruption are that of human trafficking. Government officials often accept bribes and pay offs to “look the other way” resulting in high human trafficking rates when combined with other statistics. Human trafficking is an issue that has been gathering awareness globally with many outside influences such as charities and organizations that work to prevent and abolish existing and future human trafficking cases.

There are many cases where the human trafficking takes place in India where people go missing and it goes under the radar. The government is aware of the condition and severity of it and is slowly working towards securing the safety of many due to outside pressures as well as pressure from the social reform movement. A slow but persistent change is taking place in India. It will affect everything people do, the very way they live and work.

A long period of economic reformation has lead to growing domestic inequality which in turn has resulted in more pressure on both national politics and local sources of redistribution. The notion that India has enough money for its own development is no longer so controversial, but rather, questions are now emerging around what can spur the wealthy population of India to focus less on their own lavish lifestyles and more on social development. Many people in India are encouraging the battle against economic inequality and promoting the development and expansion of India.

Currently India is working to improve their human rights and justice system leading to decreased mortality rates. India’s struggle to advance as a developed nation will result in decreased poverty and government corruption as well as a weaker hold on the cast system. By working towards these goals they will substantially increase India’s quality of life and strengthen themselves as a nation, possibly obtaining a permanent seat in the United Nations after being labelled as “spectator nation”. [7]