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The caste system and British Indians watch

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    Does the caste system still have a significant influence on social and relationship choices among British Indians?
    For example, are certain relationships discouraged or blocked entirely because of caste related differences?
    Does being of a particular caste tacitly influence your social standing and general identity within British Indian communities?

    Thoughts?
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    That's such an interesting question! Unfortunately, I don't have any answer to give you, as I'm just Indian, not british-indian, but, I'll be awaiting to see the answers come up.
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    Does the caste system still have a significant influence on social and relationship choices among British Indians?
    For example, are certain relationships discouraged or blocked entirely because of caste related differences?
    Does being of a particular caste tacitly influence your social standing and general identity within British Indian communities?

    Thoughts?
    Hi. I think it does, dependent on the family perhaps though. I know that originally my caste don't like "mixing" and this has caused problems for many of my cousins who have met people of different castes . Being from a particular caste does sort of affect your thinking if I may say so; I was lead to believe that certain castes were inferior and I shouldn't therefore befriend them. However, I want to note that not all families take the caste system seriously anymore; especially more modern and educated families.
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    (Original post by murakamami)
    Hi. I think it does, dependent on the family perhaps though. I know that originally my caste don't like "mixing" and this has caused problems for many of my cousins who have met people of different castes . Being from a particular caste does sort of affect your thinking if I may say so; I was lead to believe that certain castes were inferior and I shouldn't therefore befriend them. However, I want to note that not all families take the caste system seriously anymore; especially more modern and educated families.
    I've heard that the caste system is like a more extreme version of the British social class system. If you're deemed to be from a "lower" caste you will remain there even if you're successful in life i.e. you can't ever move out of your caste like you can with class.
    Seems like it's just another thing in the big pile of expectations that a person has to meet if they choose to marry into or befriend an Indian family.
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    I've heard that the caste system is like a more extreme version of the British social class system. If you're deemed to be from a "lower" caste you will remain there even if you're successful in life i.e. you can't ever move out of your caste like you can with class.
    Seems like it's just another thing in the big pile of expectations that a person has to meet if they are in/choose to marry into an Indian family.
    It is. I live in India, and let me tell you, castes are a huge part of daily life. It's predominant in hinduism, however, it exists in others as well, such as christianity.

    When Hindus convert to christianity, there is a strong hierarchy. Say an upper-caste hindu converts to christianity, he is then an upper-caste christian and thus, back to square one. There were cases of lower caste converts not being allowed into churches, as it was filled with upper-castes. So, it's mainly an Indian thing, and less to do with religion.
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    (Original post by fandom-queen)
    It is. I live in India, and let me tell you, castes are a huge part of daily life. It's predominant in hinduism, however, it exists in others as well, such as christianity.

    When Hindus convert to christianity, there is a strong hierarchy. Say an upper-caste hindu converts to christianity, he is then an upper-caste christian and thus, back to square one. There were cases of lower caste converts not being allowed into churches, as it was filled with upper-castes. So, it's mainly an Indian thing, and less to do with religion.
    That's interesting, so it isn't just exclusive to Hindus. Is there any link between caste and skin colour? I know a lot of Indians find fair skin highly desirable.
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    congrats to India on being most racist country in the world, even to other Indians :lol:
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    That's interesting, so it isn't just exclusive to Hindus. Is there any link between caste and skin colour? I know a lot of Indians find fairer skin highly desirable.
    Not really. I mean if you go to the South of India, you'll find some of the most orthodox high-castes have really dark skin.

    What's interesting is that at least up until the 13th/14th century, it was the other way around. Indians found dark skin more desirable than light skin:

    Marco Polo specifically mentions this in his comments about India: ‘For I assure you that the darkest man is here the most highly esteemed and considered better than others who are not so dark.
    Let me add that in very truth these people portray and depict their gods and their idols black and their devils white as snow.’
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    Does the caste system still have a significant influence on social and relationship choices among British Indians?
    For example, are certain relationships discouraged or blocked entirely because of caste related differences?
    Does being of a particular caste tacitly influence your social standing and general identity within British Indian communities?

    Thoughts?
    Give this a read (scroll near the bottom) https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...rimination.pdf
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    If you're going to be strict about caste, you know that you lose caste by travelling over the 'black ocean'.

    What's left in the UK is snobbery, or worse.
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    That's interesting, so it isn't just exclusive to Hindus. Is there any link between caste and skin colour? I know a lot of Indians find fair skin highly desirable.
    In North India, yes. brahmins are frequently associated with fair skin. South India is a completely different system to north india, so, I don't know much about it
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    (Original post by nucdev)
    Not really. I mean if you go to the South of India, you'll find some of the most orthodox high-castes have really dark skin.

    What's interesting is that at least up until the 13th/14th century, it was the other way around. Indians found dark skin more desirable than light skin:

    Marco Polo specifically mentions this in his comments about India: ‘For I assure you that the darkest man is here the most highly esteemed and considered better than others who are not so dark.
    Let me add that in very truth these people portray and depict their gods and their idols black and their devils white as snow.’
    I was under the assumption that if you were a fair skinned Indian then it meant that you must be from one of the higher castes. I've always thought that the two were linked.
    Looking at the Indian film/music industry today and the spread of skin lightening products, you'd never know that dark skin was once more desirable.
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    (Original post by Xysoo)
    congrats to India on being most racist country in the world, even to other Indians :lol:
    I wholeheartedly agree. Every year, hundreds of Assamese and north-eastern indians are killed in hate-crimes and racist crimes, for having (excuse me using this phrase) 'chinky-eyes'

    Indians are one of the most prejudiced, high-nosed group of people ever. And i'm indian, my parents are indian, my grand-parents are, i've lived in india for 2/3rds of my life, and i mean it when I say this.
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    (Original post by Ravenous)
    Give this a read (scroll near the bottom) https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...rimination.pdf
    I'll take a look, thanks.
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    I was under the assumption that if you were a fair skinned Indian then it meant that you must be from one of the higher castes. I've always thought that the two were linked.
    Looking at the Indian film/music industry today and the spread of skin lightening products, you'd never know that dark skin was once more desirable.
    Yeah as fandom-queen said above, that's mostly a North Indian construct, whereas South India is quite different. I reckon foreign rule in India by "light skinned" people had a pretty significant effect and so light skin was associated with power, influence, wealth etc.
    I mean for a country's standard of beauty to switch from one extreme to another like that...............
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    if you've ever worked in an indian restaurant.. you'll have experienced the caste system first hand! This is based on how appalling indian customers are to deal with.
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    (Original post by nucdev)
    Yeah as fandom-queen said above, that's mostly a North Indian construct, whereas South India is quite different. I reckon foreign rule in India by "light skinned" people had a pretty significant effect and so light skin was associated with power, influence, wealth etc.
    I mean for a country's standard of beauty to switch from one extreme to another like that...............
    Yeah, that's crazy. Although a lot of Asian countries in general (e.g. China, South Korea) are utterly obsessed with the western ideals of beauty.
    Seems like if you're an Indian guy/girl you've got to meet a lot of expectations.
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    Yeah, that's crazy. Although a lot of Asian countries in general (e.g. China, South Korea) are utterly obsessed with the western ideals of beauty.
    Seems like if you're an Indian guy/girl you've got to meet a lot of expectations.
    ohh yeah, you should see the matrimonial columns in indian npapers. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at my fellow countrymen and their ideals. :ahee:
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    (Original post by RivalPlayer)
    Does the caste system still have a significant influence on social and relationship choices among British Indians?
    For example, are certain relationships discouraged or blocked entirely because of caste related differences?
    Does being of a particular caste tacitly influence your social standing and general identity within British Indian communities?

    Thoughts?
    I believe that caste does still play a significant role in determining social and relationship choices, even in Britain. My family for example would disallow relationships and/or marriage with a person of a different caste, they wouldn't hesitate to disown me if I was to marry somebody who wasn't a Jatt say (we've had this very discussion before). So yes, caste in some families does dominate who you can and cannot be with romantically, but doesn't determine who I can and cannot be friends with.
    I also feel that there is sometimes a fair bit of hostility between people belonging to different castes; I've heard people of other castes say that Jatt's are overly proud and snobby.

    The caste system is still pretty prevalent even among us British Asians and I can't see that changing any time soon
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    (Original post by fandom-queen)
    ohh yeah, you should see the matrimonial columns in indian npapers. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at my fellow countrymen and their ideals. :ahee:
    Yeah, I've seen a few of those in the past. It almost seems comedic until you realise that it isn't.

    (Original post by preetg97)
    I believe that caste does still play a significant role in determining social and relationship choices, even in Britain. My family for example would disallow relationships and/or marriage with a person of a different caste, they wouldn't hesitate to disown me if I was to marry somebody who wasn't a Jatt say (we've had this very discussion before). So yes, caste in some families does dominate who you can and cannot be with romantically, but doesn't determine who I can and cannot be friends with.
    I also feel that there is sometimes a fair bit of hostility between people belonging to different castes; I've heard people of other castes say that Jatt's are overly proud and snobby.

    The caste system is still pretty prevalent even among us British Asians and I can't see that changing any time soon
    This is what I think too. I've come across a few people that have downplayed its significance by suggesting that most British Indians don't think in such ways anymore, but I just don't think that's the case in reality.


    (Original post by preetg97)
    My family for example would disallow relationships and/or marriage with a person of a different caste, they wouldn't hesitate to disown me if I was to marry somebody who wasn't a Jatt say (we've had this very discussion before). So yes, caste in some families does dominate who you can and cannot be with romantically.
    This pretty much narrows the field down significantly in terms of who you can/can't marry. How does that make you feel? What would you do if you were to meet someone who didn't meet your family's (caste) requirements?
 
 
 
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