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A Google search for basic information on India's caste system lists many sites that, with varying degrees of emphasis, outline three popular tropes on the phenomenon. First, the caste system is a four-fold categorical hierarchy of the Hindu religion - with Brahmins (priests/teachers) on top, followed, in order, by Kshatriyas (rulers/warriors), Vaishyas (farmers/traders/merchants), and Shudras (labourers). In addition, there is a fifth group of "Outcastes" (people who do unclean work and are outside the four-fold system). Second, this system is ordained by Hinduism's sacred texts (notably the supposed source of Hindu law, the Manusmriti), it is thousands of years old, and it governed all k... Full story

19 June