Strict rules regulate Indian society and ostracise people
The Hindu caste system still forms the basis of the structure of Indian society. In particular in rural regions it is a slow process to overcome the system, which goes back thousands of years and which is based on segregating people in ‘pure’ and ‘impure’ leading to a hierarchically structured society. One is born into a caste and has little opportunity to leave it during one’s lifetime. Most people accept the limits and barriers specified by the caste affiliation. Only in the cities, restrictions are gradually becoming more relaxed.
Although Indian law prohibits discrimination based on caste affiliation in public places, reality shows that work, which is considered unclean is still mainly carried out by people from ‘impure’ castes. Husbands and wives too are normally selected from the own caste.
Particular disadvantaged and discriminated against are people outside the caste system: Dalits – who were previously referred to as untouchables – and other tribes mainly belonging to the natives of the subcontinent. The Indian government tries to counterbalance this by reserving a fixed number of training vacancies and jobs in public facilities.
Further information on the Indian caste system is available from the Federal Centre for Political Education (in german language).