“Restriction on intercaste dining and intercaste marriage is no part of the Hindu religion”
–Mahatma Ghandi, 1932
The hindu caste system still exists in India. All Hindus are born into one of 4 ‘varnas’ (castes): Brahmin (priests); Kshatriya (soldiers, kings and nobles); Vaishya (businessperson) or Shudra (labourers and servants). Castes are then further divided into ‘jatis’ depending on family heritage and occupation. ‘Dalits’ (untouchables) make up a social grouping below Shudras and hold the lowest social status. While the system has weakened in recent decades, many Hindus continue to solely associate with other people in their caste and to fulfil the occupational obligation of their jati. According to Hinduism, if you accomplish your moral duty then you will be born into a higher caste.
This man is a bone-wallah (worker) near Bikaner who collects bones from the town’s butchers in order to sell them to manufacturers of glue and animal feeds. Only members of his jati are involved in the bone business around Bikaner.