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the lowest of the four ancient Indian varnas.

The Sudra varna, which became established during the formation of a class society in India, was made up of conquered tribes and of outsiders who were admitted into the community; the latter included persons who had become separated from their own tribes and persons whose tribes had broken up. In the ancient Indian slaveholding society, the Sudras were servants, artisans, and dependent and subordinate workers. In confirmation of their lowly status, they were forbidden to undergo the initiatory rite (”second birth”) that would entitle them to full civil rights; as a result, the Sudras, unlike the three higher varnas, were “once born.”

The Sudras were subject to many social restrictions: they were forbidden to own land, hold priestly or governmental office, or take part in politics or religious ceremonies. Their unequal status was reflected in various practices; for example, if convicted of a crime, Sudras were punished more severely than members of the higher varnas would be in similar circumstances, and money could be lent to them at unusually high rates of interest.

In the first centuries of the Common Era, the Sudras achieved higher status, and many restrictions disappeared; their social position came to resemble that of the Vaisyas. In various parts of India, castes were classified as Sudra regardless of their actual status, and the term lost a fixed meaning for India as a whole.


References in periodicals archive ?
To the fields, forests, and rivers of India, and to the Dalits, Adivasis, poor Muslims, Christians, and a majority of the Shudra population, India's economic growth is a tumor, a cancer, breaking off of their skins, first slowly like a rash and then spreading, consuming them whole.
90) assertion that the brahmana (priest) emerged from the mouth of the "Cosmic Man," the kshatriya (warrior) from the shoulders, the vysya (trader) from the thighs, and the shudra (laborer) from the feet.
Their servitude is even more pathetic than that of the Shudras (the lowest caste in the fourfold caste system).
Messianic movements, such as that of Nasriah, included women itinerant preachers, some of whom came from Shudra castes.
The shudra shall offer labour in the factory and farm, and shall not indulge in activities of social harm.
Veteran defenceman Ron Shudra broke the hearts of Thomson Cardiff Devils players in the Elite League ice hockey play-off semi-finals.
The Indian Constitution bans the Hindu religious tradition of having the "untouchables" or shudra caste where the persons in this class are prohibited from participating in many of the Hindu religious and social practices due to their birth into this rigid caste system.
A Shudra (the fourth caste in the Hindu hierarchy), his love of composing songs of worship earned him intolerance from the Brahmins and his own family.
She is survived by her husband Leslie, daughter Diane, sons Allan and David, son-in-law Gary Shudra, daughter-in-law Brenda Walker, and grandchildren Colin, Matthew, Jessica, Laura, Megan, Stephen, Jillian, Cassandra, and Rachelle.
In the case of a Shudra, the child from an unmarried woman, or from an unauthorised woman" (repeated by Mayne 1950: 634 n.
The reservation system to aid the downtrodden dalit and shudra castes, for example, has only widened the gulf between members of various castes and sub-castes.
From the head of brahma came the Brahmins or the priestly caste, from the shoulders came Kshatriyas or the worrier caste, from the bosom came the Vaishyas or the trader caste and from the feet, Shudra, came the artisan and crafts castes.