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Inter relationship between Caste, Class and Power

Caste and class are the two main forms of social stratification. Both are agencies of social mobility and selection. They decide largely the position that a man occupies in a society. The range of one’s social contracts is almost fixed by one’s status in society. One’s status is recognized mainly through one’s class or caste. The caste system is unique to India; the class system is universal in nature. Both of them influence and condition the way of life of people to a large extent. The caste system is basis of stratification in India whereas class system becomes basis of stratification in western societies. Power is a fundamental entity of human society. It is universal phenomenon where society is itself built of power relations. A person to be powerful, he should either belong to a higher class or higher caste. But in some regions the person who belongs to upper caste might be low in class status yet he would even be powerful due to their traditional values. For a caste to be powerful it has to fulfill the following criteria, the caste should have high ritual status, numerical majority, high economic position and relatively high educational or occupational position. A person from the lower caste can also become powerful by attaining higher status in the society through his economic or occupational means.