Difference between Caste & Class.
The prevalence of caste in India is an unique phenomenon & it is different from class.
¬ Class is largely based on the economic status of people. Therefore, vertical mobility is possible i. e. one can move up or down based on one’s income/wealth. If you become poor, your class gets lowered while on the other hand, if you get rich, you climb up in the ladder. In class, there is existence of social mobility freely. Hence, it is also termed as “open system of hierarchies”.
¬ In caste, the hierarchy is” rigid”. It is not possible to change one’s caste. Caste is also linked to occupation (*which was earlier determined by the father’s occupation & was rigid). Social mobility is not possible from one caste to another (*as it is not linked to your income/wealth).
Hence, it is termed as “closed system of hierarchies”.
> One distinct feature of caste is that the system is exploitative & oppressive. It is also called “violent” because at the core of the caste system lies: the untouchability, ideas of purity & pollution, discrimination, etc.
Due to globalisation & industrialisation, some scholars believe that ultimately “castes will convert into classes based on the material inequalities”. But it is unlikely to happen in near-future as caste prejudices & discrimination based on castes still exists by & large.
The globalisation & industrialisation was expected to benefit the last man but the reality is revealed if you travel 15-20 kms. from the centre of the metro-cities. Same has been the case with caste inequalities as well. The gap between upper & lower caste is still wide & exploitative structure is still present.
With Great Love,
Er. Amit Yadav