Identifying one as a ‘son of a farmer’ or a ‘son of a blacksmith’ would offer a picture to represent the environment that particular individual was/is exposed to or even describes an individual’s social status. It marks the ancestry and the heritage of an individual, and is not intended for discrimination purposes. Unfortunately, the wide intra-group variation that exists within the ‘varna’ extended beyond occupation and nature into socio-economic inequalities. The nature of each particular occupation and also its monetary returns not only fluctuate but also vary hugely, creating socio-economic barriers between ‘jatis’.
Some occupations which are ‘clean’, requiring higher levels of training/technical ability/skill and yields greater monetary returns are more favourable and command greater respect within the society as opposed to occupations that are ‘dirty’, requires less skill/training and yields lower monetary returns. This consequently led to prejudices and stereotypes attached to each ‘jati’ or guild, and eventually ‘in-group favourability bias’ exists and a particular ‘jati’ is viewed either positively or negatively. Combined with a lack of social mobility, this eventually became a fixed and rigid system that is perceived by many (and wrongly so) as the ‘caste system’ in Hinduism.
in 5 parts, pretty lengthy but interesting perspective nonetheless…