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What do you understand as world cast system? what the lecturer want is that you will mention the world cast system and the concentrate on two country most affected country which is India cast system and Nigeria cast system?

The purpose of this essay is to examine the cast system prevalent in the world. For this purpose, particularly the task system prevalent in Nigeria and India has been examined. This essay also reveals some of the areas in these two countries and in the world where the cast system is commonly practiced. The Osu cast system which is a part of the culture and tradition of Nigeria has also been discussed and at the same time how it has resulted in a form of 'apartheid'. It has also been explored how the cast system encourages segregation between different groups of the society and also the way in which it creates a threat to the democratic principle of freedom of association.

The Caste system in India is historically one of the main dimensions as a result of which the people in India have been socially differentiated. Although differentiation on basis of Caste or on other basis like class, religion, gender and language is present in all human societies, differentiation becomes a problem when these dimensions overlap with each other and in this way, become the basis of systematic ranking and the unequal access to resources like power, wealth, prestige and income. In the same way, the caste system in India is also considered as a closed system of stratification as a result of which, the social status of a person is based on the caste in which such a person was born into. This also results in placing limitations on the interaction and behavior with people who have a different social status. The history of caste system in India is related with one of the main religions of India, Hinduism although it has been impacted by the Buddhist revolution and some changes were also introduced under the British rule.

The social inequality that is present between different people can be found throughout the world. However the nature as well as the dimension of this inequality has several different patterns. There are certain social inequalities are induced naturally and at the same time there are certain others that are created artificially and in the same way, some inequalities have been designed and insulated as a result of traditions. For example in pluralistic cultures of India and Nigeria, although inter-caste marriages are promoted so that unity and cordiality can be fostered in the society. But the caste system that is present between different castes has not followed this order. In the present research paper, the focus is on the cast system in the world and particularly the examples of Nigeria and India have been selected to slow this issue in a better way. In this study, an attempt has been made to explore the origin, nature and the gravity of social deprivation that has to be faced by the Osu of Nigerian Igbo stock and the Indian dalits even though several laws have been enacted to deal with this issue and at the same time there is a UN declaration that guarantees equal protection to all the citizens and prohibits any discrimination among the people of different castes. It also needs to be noted that almost all these groups have to face similar victimization experiences of torture and deprivation and in many cases, these groups are also deprived of the social privileges. In this way, they are considered as second-rate citizens even in their homeland. Therefore in this study, an attempt has been made to analyze the cast system in the world and particularly the cost system in Nigeria and India has been explored the WTO reveal how the culture and tradition plays a role in creating a unique social bondage that is known as cast and in many cases which also results in humiliation, violence and physical assault for these groups.

Caste system in India

First of all, it needs to be noted that cast system is not a phenomenon that is restricted to some particular parts of the world. Several different behavioral and social cultural studies that have been conducted in different regions of the world have clearly indicated that cast system can be found in almost all parts of the world. However, the nature and dimensions of our system may adopt different types of items in different parts of the world. Some of these social inequalities are induced naturally and at the same time there are certain others that are created by tradition.

The caste system in India is still prevalent in the society, although to a lesser extent as is the case with most of the other South Asian countries. At the same time, it also needs to be noted that the cast system has been outlawed by most of these countries, including India. Basically the cost system divides the people into various social classes. For example, in India there are the Brahmins or the highest class who are the priests and teachers, the Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and the Sudras. There are also the Dalits or the Harijans who are the Untouchables. While in the beginning, during ancient times, the caste system was developed with a view to ensure that the society may work harmoniously. However eventually, mainly as a result of corruption, it became a system full of prejudice and discrimination. Colonialism also played a role in this process and the modern-day caste system was significantly impacted by it. Therefore it is considered that the society in India was highly divided into different communal groups. With a view to make sense of these groups, first of all the caste identities were suggested by the Portuguese. This idea was later on expended by the British so that they may promote order in the Indian society. At this point, it also needs to be mentioned that the cast system had played a significant role in the poverty that is prevalent in India.

There are certain special provisions incorporated in the Constitution of India that are related with Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes and Other Backward Classes. For example, Article 15 of the Constitution provides for the prohibition of any kind of discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, caste or place of birth. In the same way, article 16 ensures the equality of opportunity in matters that are related with public employment. Another significant provision present in the Constitution of India is Article 17 that prescribes the abolition of untouchability. In the same way, Article 46 of the Constitution provides that the state should promote educational and economic interests of the Schedule Castes and Tribes. Some of the other provisions that are present in the Constitution include Article 330 that provides for reservation of seats for the Schedule Castes and Tribes and Article 335 that deals with the claim of Schedule Castes and Tribes to services and posts.

Igbo comprise one out of the 3 leading ethnic groups that are present in Nigeria. Mainly the Igbo are settled in the southeastern and the South central parts of Nigeria. As is the case with numerous others, the starting point of Igbo people in Nigeria are also not clear and it is further accepted by traditions.

Special provisions for Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes and Other Backward Classes

According to one tradition, it has been suggested that the early inhabitants of Igbo came from the area lying near the Niger confluence. But this suggestion does not match the archaeological evidence and interpretation according to which it is estimated that human beings have been living in Igbo for nearly 5000 years. According to the tradition of the Umeri clan, it has been claimed that both the Igbo and the Igala by the descendants of a very ancient community in Anabra Valley. This tradition further suggests that while the Igala went one way, the Aguku went another way. In the same way, Amanuke, Nteje and Igbariam went their own separate ways. It is said that this federation took place so long ago that now the languages of Igbo and Igala are no longer intelligible. As a result of these opinions, it has been remarked by the experts that unless a person is ready to participate tribal myths of the ostensible common historic origin with the significance provided by precise facts, one has to consider the Common sense identity of the Igbo that has been expressed in a common name and also in the linguistic characteristics (despite the presence of local variations) on more solid based interior in order to establish the intractability of Igbo civilization as compared to the dubious and suspect there will aristocratic fiction of racial emergence. However, for the purpose of the present study, the incongruity of its origin is not of much consequence. On the basis of the available archaeological evidence, it can be said that at least some type of civilization was present in the Igbo lands as early as the ninth century. This belief is based on the archaeological findings made in the Igbo-Ukwu.

At this point, it also needs to be stressed upon that has there are no written accounts present in Africa prior to the arrival of the Arabs and afterward the Europeans, the history of Africans was mainly based on oral sources. Therefore, there is also a lack of written records regarding the issue of Nigeria cast system, specifically related with the Igbo.  Traditionally the Osu cast system prevalent in Igbo land can be traced back to ancient times. The thrust and exercise of this caste system was founded on custom. According to one version, it is claimed that certain influential deities generated the need for assisting the high priest of the major shrines and for this purpose, monasteries were established near the major shrines. In these monasteries, training was provided and a constant supply of assistance was ensured. On the basis of the assumption that these ladies were very powerful, they have to be attended at all times, and intricate religious rituals have to be followed in the shrines of these deities. The result was that after becoming masters of the spiritual functions, the indigenous monks were unjustly given the Igbo harsh name of Osu.

According to another description, it is contended that people became OSU after their community, village or town lost what with the neighbors. In this regard it is claimed that in order to placate the conquerors, the losing community or town had to give some of their content in so that the gods can be appeased as they lived in the shrine of the deity and in this way they become OSU. In the same way, according to another source, the origin of OSU cast system can be traced to the practice in which human sacrifices were offered to Gods or deities. In case of this view, it has been argued that the people who were presented as sacrifice were not killed sometimes either to put an end to a trail of tragic occurrences or to appease the gods for a long that may have been committed by them. In this way, some of these persons lived and died in the shrine of these gods or deities.

Caste system the Dalits in India and Igbo people in Nigeria

In this way, the above mentioned accounts are related with the origin of the OSU cast system in this land as their descendants belonged to the gods along with the property of the shrines belonging to major deities. In this way, practically they avoided daily involvement with the other members of the community. As they were considered as the agents of the gods, they had to remain detached from the other members of the community. In this way, as a result of prevalence or fear, the community is also followed strict rules related with the interaction that they had with the Osus, probably for the fear of the influential gods under which they flourished and for whom they perform their religious duties.

At this point it also needs to be mentioned that before the arrival of Europeans and Christianity, the discrimination relationship that was present between OSU and Diala (who were considered to be free born) was considered as quite natural. While the Osus went on with their lives by serving the deities in the community and in return they were provided with sufficient livelihood achieved from the offering that were gradually pouring in the shrines of the gods that are attended by them. But a process of social charge was initiated after the Europeans appeared on the scene. The reason was that several customs of the Igbo society where termed as barbaric. Some Igbo states were involved in communal wars in the past for procuring slaves. In the same way, human sacrifices were common in the Stone Age era and generally slaves were used to be sacrificed. For example, after their death, the Ugbo Ukwo rulers were buried along with a number of slaves as a sacrifice. But the trans-Atlantic trade of slaves had also added in the occurrence of inter-clan conflicts. The result was that bordering societies were attacking each other for procuring slaves and other bounties. Generally the small communities that have fewer resources of defense had to take refuge in the nearby shines so that they can save themselves when they were attacked by powerful enemies. However when the priests of the deity had granted protection to these people, they were automatically converted as Osus.

Another significant point that needs to be mentioned here is that originally the Osus were treated with respect and honor as that belong to the gods. But unfortunately this resulted in social ostracism. As their number increased, the social stature of the Osus deteriorated considerably to the extent that since the 20th century, they became outcast, ridiculed and abhorred.

As is the case with the Osus in Nigeria, in the cast model of India, the Dalits are at the lowest end of the structural stratification. The cart system has been present in India for more than two thousand five hundred years. In India the task system is based on social groups or casts that are known as 'Varnas' that are ranked from superior to inferior. The uppermost and as a result the most superior class is called the Brahmin. This class comprises the priests and the scholars. It also epitomizes sanctity, holiness and purity. The Brahmins are considered to be the advocates of learning, wisdom and truth. Therefore the most important religious functions and issues had to be dealt with by the Brahmins only. The next cast in this hierarchy is that of the 'Kshatrias'. The next two ranks are that of the 'Vaishyas' and the 'Shudras'. While the Kshatriyas are the traditional owners of land, the Vaishs have a monopoly over the trade and there are also skilled artisans. The Shudras were the common laborers. In this hierarchy, last came the 'Harijans'. This was the group that was considered as outcasts. They were also treated as unclean, impure and untouchables. This is the category that typifies the Dalit tribes who were segregated from the rest of the society and they have to perform the degrading jobs like sweeping and scavenging. This group was denied interaction with other social groups and they lived in the quarters that were isolated from the other groups. The result was that generally they have to live in the remotest areas of the community.

Although the practice of untouchability has been abolished by the Constitution in 1950, it can still be found in many parts of rural India. While the Dalits constitute more than 1/6 of the population of India, they still have to face social ostracization. The Dalits are not allowed to enter into the parts of the village that are occupied by the members of the higher castes. In the same way, they are not allowed to draw water from the same wells or to visit the same temples. In many cases, the Dalits children are made to sit at the back of the class. In this way, there is a 'hidden apartheid' still going on although it has been made unlawful in India. The practice of untouchability is further reinforced when the resources and facilities are allocated by the state. For example, separate facilities are provided in case of various neighborhoods on the basis of caste. Generally the Dalits get the poorer of the two. There are still some villages where amenities like electricity, water supply and the sanitation facilities have been provided in the hearts of the village that had inherited by the members of the other cast while the Dalit neighborhoods have been ignored. In the same way, there is a segregation of basic amenities like wells or water taps.

However as expected, the caste system prevalent in India also finds corollaries in countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. For example in case of the Dalits of Nepal, at least 8 main caste groups are present that are further divided into 25 sub castes. According to an estimate by some NGOs, the Dalit population has been estimated at 21% of the total population of the country. Although the number is quite high but still they have to face victimization as a result of the caste.

Similarly in Sri Lanka, the majority community, there are the Rodiyas among the Sinhalas who were historically excluded from villages and communities and as a result they were forced into begging and scavenging. In the same way, there is caste specific attire that had to be worn by Rodiya. Similar they were not allowed schools and public facilities. They could not share the glasses at local tea shops and had to drink from disposable coconut shells. Even their gravesites were segregated.

On the basis of the above mentioned discussion, there are certain recommendations that can be made to deal with the prejudice and discrimination that is caused by the practice of cost system in the society. However the search for answers to these problems should continue. For example the solutions that can be used to deal with the caste system in India need to concentrate on bringing a change in the social structure and in the personal structure. A change in the social structure can be introduced with the help of law, a similar change can be introduced in personal structure with the help of education.

Law can play an important role in bringing the change in this regard. Therefore by introducing appropriate legislations, the discrimination that is caused by the caste system can be significantly reduced if not completely eradicated. In this regard, it also needs to be noted that there is a significant gap present between the law and its implementation. Therefore if these laws are not enforced in left there in spirit, they cannot prove to be effective in dealing with this problem.

In the same way, education can also play an important role in dealing with the problems caused by the caste system. Education helps in reducing the ignorance among the people which in turn decreases the prejudice against the members of the lower castes. Therefore it is very important that the young people are provided with this kind of education. If the right types of ideas are presented to them by appropriate education, the stereotypes created by the caste system can be destroyed and they may able to develop a friendly attitude towards the members of society belonging to different groups. In this regard, apart from the formal education, education given at home by the parents can also play an important role.

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