The Indian Caste System

General Information


About the Jatis:

The Castes

The Castes

The Brahmins


The Kshatriyas


The Vaishyas


The Shudras


The Pariahs

The Pariahs


Here you can watch a good video as a summary of the Indian Caste System: click the link below

The Caste System in Slumdog Millionaire (-> Social differences)

The gap between rich and poor is shown in a very exaggerated way. On the one hand, there is the slum life in extremely poor circumstances and on the other hand there is upper class life. In the book as well as in the film the contrast between Indian lifestyles in the caste system gets clear. Jamal/ Ram represents the poverty in India. His own caste is unknown but during the story one can conclude that he belongs to a lower caste of the Indian society: He lives in the slums in Mumbai, he works as a waiter in a bar, he servers for rich people (Neelima Kumari, Taylor family), he has no education. Because of the fact that the upper classes have more rights they feel superior over the lower classes. In the book/film this gets clear by the torture of the police officers in jail. Moreover, the qui master makes fun of Jamal's/Ram's job and his life. This is a good example for the gap of the social ranks.

Living standards in the Indian society:

Upper class → Apartment house/mansion:
spacious, contemporary, tastefully furnished (expensive), wall-to-wall carpets & paintings, many large rooms, servants, privacy, no contact to other people (isolation, loneliness), robbery, superficial life

Lower class → Chawls/slums:
No running water, no electricity,anonymity, many rumours, thin walls, violence, tiny rooms, social contact, administrator who cares, "black hole", everyone knows about everything, common roof/bathroom

Living Standards
Living Standards

This is comparable with the scene in the film "Slumdog Millionaire" where Latika, Salim and Jamal as children are on the garbage dump in the Indian slum when Maman comes and picks them up.

Maman Slumdog Millionaire

This is comparable with the houses of the rich people in the film/book "Slumdog millionaire" (Neelima Kumari, Taylor family..).

luxurious Indian house

Here you can see a typical Indian city and the separation of rich and poor:

Seperation of rich and poor