The Indian caste system is a socieconomic class system. The word caste comes from Portuguese.

It is important to note that the Hindu caste system is based on interdependence of function, not differences in wealth. The Brahmin caste, although considered to be the "highest" in society, depends just as much on the lower castes as the lower castes depend on them. A village could not function properly if its inhabitants were only Kshatriya, because there would be no one to grow food or create art. Even the Untouchables (or Harijan), who were traditionally placed outside the caste system, were important to the functioning of every village. They would generally perform tasks associated with the feet, because the feet were considered dirty and this work was not worthy of those within the caste system. Without them, the village would stop working properly.

Ideally, this system should be free from exploitation of the lower castes as would be present in a stratified class society, although this was not always the case. For example, The Harijan were exploited and forced to perform the work that no one else was willing to do, and there were even rules about which way their beards were allowed to point and how they were supposed to look at Brahmins as they passed each other. This may have been justified by the idea that they were outside the system and therefore not worthy of respect, but exploitation was still occuring.

The caste system was eventually outlawed in India, but it is by no means absent from Indian culture. The system is supposedly going strong in rural areas of the country where administrative power is somewhat weaker. Since a very large proportion of the population lives in rural areas, the caste system is obviously not going to fade away anytime soon.

One thing to note is that the caste system is not a very politically smart way to structure a society. Rather than developing nationalistic tendencies, people tend to develop loyalty to their caste alone and see the ruler as just another member of a higher caste to be avoided and exploited. Perhaps this was one of Gandhi's reasons for trying to do away with the notion of Untouchables (besides human compassion, which was, I'm sure, a leading reason): he wanted to establish more unity in the Indian state in order to fight the British.


One of the distinct features of the society of the Clans is that they have their own caste system. There are five castes:

There's also an equivalent of the outcastes - the Dark Caste.

The Warriors are the rulers of the Clan society. There are three subcastes for different types of fighting gear (BattleMechs, aerospace vehicles, Elementals and one hypothetical for protomechs?). There's also a distinct difference between the "trueborns" and "freeborns" (that is, the individuals bred through eugenics and the individuals bred through natural means) - the trueborns are often considered superior to freeborns.

Aside of the fact that the warriors are above others, the rest of the castes are more or less equal. The Laborer caste, responsible for physical work, is the most numerous. Technicians are responsible for care and feeding of war machines and other hardware, Scientists develop technology and oversee eugenics program, and Merchants manufacture and trade everyday goods, materials and tools.

The Warrior caste is also the only one to have surnames; the best of the trueborn warriors have a bloodname. The Scientist caste also has the notion of "labnames", but they are not officially used outside of the caste.

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