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Did British colonial powers invent the Indian caste system? Show more Show less

The four-tiered caste system gives Hindu society a strict hierarchical structure, with teachers and religious leaders at the top, and the fifth "undesirable" category performing "unclean" work. Where did it come from? Was it a colonial invention? Or are its roots embedded in ancient Indian culture?

Yes, British colonial powers invented the Indian caste system Show more Show less

Pre-colonial documents make almost no reference to the caste system. It was a British invention as a method of classifying and controlling the vast Indian population.
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‘Caste’ has no direct translation in many Indian languages

Direct translations of 'caste' are scant in Indian languages. If caste was born from Indian culture, this would be reflected in the subcontinent's linguistics.
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The Argument

If the caste system was an Indian construct, there would be a word in Indian languages that conveys its meaning. Caste has no literal translation in many Indian languages. This is strong evidence to suggest that the caste system is not an Indian construct.[1]

Counter arguments


Language is the lens through which societies interpret the world. It is reflective of their values, culture, and belief system.


[P1] Cultures and belief systems are revealed through language. [P2] Indian languages do not have a direct translation of 'caste'. [P3] Therefore, the caste system is likely not an Indian construct.

Rejecting the premises


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This page was last edited on Monday, 27 Apr 2020 at 11:54 UTC