Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on the Tragic Truth About India's Caste System


In her latest column for The Daily, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia explores a question she gets asked frequently in America: Why India's caste system, a pre-feudalistic division of labor that assigns one's line of work at birth, has persisted into the 21st century in definace of every civilized notion of justice and equality. The tragic truth, she found after talking to Maya, the dalit who has serviced her family for 35 years, is that it still offers untouchables the best possible life in India. Dalmia notes:

What's puzzling about the caste system is that it endures without legal force. Unlike slavery, where whites actively relied on authorities to maintain their slave holdings, the caste system is an informal, self-perpetuating institution.


To find out, read Maya's story here.