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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sudra (also called jaba) designates the more than 90 per cent of the Balinese population who do not belong to one of the three castes (triwangsa).
It follows then that Dumont's values are those of the Brahmans and like the Brahmans he denies the existence of Sudra values not shared by Brahmans, ie of asymmetrical recognition.
The second controversy, over Rama's beheading of a sudra named Sambuka because he is performing tapas (a practice reserved exclusively for members of the twice-born varnas), also has been foregrounded in modern responses to the Ramayana.
Mr Sudra staggered the short distance to his home in Erdington, Birmingham, but collapsed and died on the doorstep in his mother Varsha's arms.
Of course he successfully manages to interpret the stanzas 41-44 of the Chapter 18, but strangely avoids the issue as dealt with in the stanzas 32-33 of the Chapter 9 where Krsna arguably refers to the inferiority of women, vaisyas and sudras debarred from performances of the Vedic sacrificial rituals--signified by the conditionals kim punah.
(28) Many (peasant) Sudras, who comprised the largest and lowest fourth caste, as well as untouchables and aboriginal peoples, incorporated the drinking of alcoholic beverages in their festivals, wedding feasts, and other celebrations such as those held in honor of the birth of sons.
Wolverhampton: 2.20 Countrywide Girl, 2.50 Sudra, 3.50 Cooling Castle, 4.50 Wilson Bluebottle.
Dipa Sudra, founder and owner of The Body Temple beauty business Emma Alliance, fashion designer and manufacturerHoney Kalaria, top modern Indian dance expert and founder of Diva Entertainments Shehzad Husain, one of the most experienced food consultants in the UK Shernaz Engineer, managing director of Verity Appointments Zaneb Khan, a skills facilitator and founder of the London Training Agency
The 12-1 chance finished third, beaten a length and two lengths, behind Weet-A-Minute and the favourite Sudra.
There are four main castes: Brahman (priests, officers of state); Kshatriya (rulers, warriors, landlords); Vaisiya (traders, artisans, cultivators); Sudra (menial workers).