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Student’s Death Underscores Enduring Tragedy of Caste System

The suicide of a University student in Hyderabad, India, is drawing media attention on the pervasive effects of the caste system in the modern political climate. Will the public outcry change the political landscape or will the lower caste continue to suffer socioeconomic disenfranchisement indefinitely?

Student’s Death Underscores Enduring Tragedy of Caste System

Old habits die hard in India, where a hierarchy of human beings sorted by socioeconomic background and skin color, also known as the caste system, persists despite a 1950 ruling by the Supreme Court of India outlawing the disenfranchisement of purportedly lower-caste citizens.

India’s caste system developed before 2,220 BCE when genetic groups from southern India and northern India began to co-mingle. Four thousand years later, the social hierarchy continues, from the lowest “untouchable” caste of the poorest people with the darkest skin color to the highest caste of wealthy light-skinned people. Though it is now illegal to classify and discriminate based on caste, culturally it is still the status quo.

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