Caste has existed in India for over 3 millennia, and many people view caste – in addition to curry and the Taj Mahal – as one of India’s defining features.
With several thousand castes that each contain sub-castes and even smaller groups, the system varies according to geography and language.
Last week, India commemorated the 60th birthday of its Constitution, which banned untouchability.
The show focuses on:
- Cultural background: Upper/lower castes, Urban/rural differences, & discrimination
- Politics: reservation system, reverse casteism, & Dalit political party
- Big picture/U.S.: Dalit diaspora, parallels with black Americans, anti-racism movement
Joining Martin Savidge to discuss caste in India are Vivek Kumar and Corey Washington.
Vivek Kumar is a sociologist at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. His areas of specialization are social stratification, Dalit movements and the Indian diaspora.
Corey Washington is a PhD student at Columbia University in New York. He is currently producing two documentaries about caste in rural areas of the Indian states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
Worldfocus Signature stories reported by Martin Himel — India’s untouchables trudge through sewers and One woman fights for members of India’s lowest caste — explore the lives of Indians who perform degrading caste-based occupations.