Coalition of Hindus of North America

Hinduism & “Caste”

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Where does "caste" come from?

Despite its presumed centrality to life in the Indian subcontinent, “caste” is not a term found in any of the region’s numerous languages. Rather the term has its genesis in the ‘casta’ system of colonial Portugal and Spain and arrived in the 16th century via the Inquisition. This was later utilized by the British colonial administration in India. 

It is thus not native to Hinduism or any indigenous Indian religion. They followed more complex, nuanced and flexible systems, including systems based on Varna and Jati. These are distinct concepts and should not be conflated with each other or with “caste”

The notorious British census surveys changed this forever, by conflating various terms into one term, and forcing Indians to categorize themselves by an occupation, and birth based  ‘caste’ thus erroneously linking them forever. Recent years have encouraged many to discard this colonial lens, to go directly to the source, Hinduism’s ancient texts, to uncover facts hidden in plain sight and decipher for the modern world the evolution and history of these native social structures.

Do Hindu scriptures sanction "caste"?

Jaati and Varna are not ‘Caste’!
The Sanskrit texts refer to two words, one is Jaati/जाति which defines your or your familial profession/occupation..