Balinese caste system

Balinese caste system

The Balinese caste system is a system of social organization similar to the Indian caste system. However, India's caste system is far more complicated than Bali's, and there are only four Balinese castes.

The four castes of Bali are:
*Sudras - peasants making up more than 90% of Bali's population
*Wesias - the caste of merchants
*Satrias - the warrior caste, it also included some nobility and kings
*Brahmans - holy men and priests

Note the similarity of the castes to the four " varnas" "(shudra, vaishya, kshatriya, brahmin)" of India.

The members of the four castes use different dialects of the Balinese language to address members of a different caste. Middle Balinese is generally used to speak to people whose caste is unknown in an encounter. Once the caste status of the participants are established, the proper language is used to address each other.

Nowadays, the caste system is used more in religious settings where the members of the lower caste would ask the members of the Brahman caste (the Pedandas) to conduct ceremonies. Since the Dutch colonial years and more recently after the Indonesian independence, the differences in the economic roles of the members of the caste system are slowly eroding as the government prohibits treatments based on the caste system.

Further reading


ee also

* Bali
* Hinduism
* Balinese Hinduism
* Caste

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