Caste and Class in India are intertwined/overlap. Share your views.

Caste system is a particular type of class system in which the social grouping is done on the basis of birth. The cast system generally refers to such system that exists in Indian subcontinent. It is worthwhile noting that the caste system in India was originally a system of prescribing codes of conduct of people to suit the requirements of their occupation. But as the occupation of people became hereditary the cast system focus changed from occupation to birth and heredity.

While, class is a system that classifies a society in different groups that have nearly the same standing in the society. Such groupings can be on the basis of may different factors such as wealth, power, prestige, ancestry or birth, religion, and occupation. Every society has some system of social classes based on one or more of such factors.

In India, castes are ancient family lines arranged in a hierarchical order, a dominant caste at the top, outcastes at the bottom, and other castes in hierarchical order in between. The reality of caste in India renders the often repeated ritual classification of castes quite useless to explain economic and social power with only one exception. Caste and out caste could be seen as analogous to white and black in the nineteenth century American South. Within The hierarchy of castes governs day to day production processes — -who may do what. The highest caste made rules for their convenience and comfort, the next caste enforced these rules over the lower castes and out castes who carried out the whole range of unpleasant work maintaining the Indian society. The other view is that today class differenti­ation in terms of agricultural labourers, poor peasants, middle peasants, rich peasants, landlords, etc., exists and has also existed in the past.

Generally a class system involves ranking of different groups in minds of people as superior and inferior. The caste system also involves such ranking of different castes. The class system can be informal or formal. The caste system of India is quite formal and well defined.