(redirected from Sudras)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Sudras: Brahmin, Dharma, samsara, Hinduism, Vaisyas



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 ?
TABLE 1 Caste Hierarchy in West Bengal Rank Caste Name Subgroups I Brahmin Kuhn, Debnath, Nath, Gouriya, Baishnab, Radi, and so forth II Baidya Lata, Kulin, and Rajasree III Kshatriya Ugra, Malla, Rajput, Barga, and so forth IV Kayastha Kulin, Kshatriya, Pura, Kannakar, Mitra, and so forth V Baisya and Suri, Baisya Saha, Teli, Modak, others Swarnakar, Rajak, and so forth VI Sadgope and Kulin Sadgope, Yadav, Mahisya, others Kumbhakar, and so forth VII Nonscheduled Rajak, Bauri, Paramanik, and so forth VIII Scheduled Namasudra, Rajbanshi, Malo, Sudra, and so forth TABLE 2 Summary Statistics of the "Brides Wanted" Advertisements Collected from the Newspaper Aggregate HCG MCG Total observations 2,777 (100%) 1,368 (49%) 768 (28%) Monthly income (Rs.
The Ati-Sudras, considered inferior to the Sudras, technically do not have a varn, and are thus excluded from the caste system; they are "out-castes.
Although the world is not fulfilling a prearranged plan mechanically, such engagement would, however, involve human effort that the Hindus divide into four categories: Brahmanas (Intellectuals), Kshatriyas (Warriors), Vaisyas (Trade and finance) and Sudras (Service).
Matilda Churchill reporting from Bobbilli was shocked to realize that the Sudras, who were "least" in the Hindu hierarchy and were employed by her husband, refused to eat their food because her hat "happened to touch" their lunch pots.
In addition to many sub-varnas, four major varnas are recognized: the brahmans, who perform religious and spiritual duties, the kshatriyas, who govern and administrate, the vaisya, comprising merchants and farmers, and the sudras, who carry out menial tasks considered to be spiritually unclean (Fenton et al.
Rajshekar, the Aryan Brahmins formed a four-caste hierarchy system--the Brahmins (the rulers), the Kshatriyas (the warriors), the Vaishyas (the merchants) and the Sudras (the workers).
Though the system varies widely according to local customs, scholars have identified four major castes: brahmins (priests), kshatriyas (warriors), vaisyas (businessmen), and sudras (manual laborers).
The space coded 10 represents those religious values held by Brahmans and no one else, the space coded 11 represents those values shared by Brahmans and Sudras, the space 01 those values held by Sudras and no one else, and 00 is the residual category.
The matter is Apastamba's characterization of the four vanjas, which says (as I read it) that "the highest good" (nihsreyasa) attainable by each varnia is relative to its rank, in the order of brahmins, ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras.
From his mouth came the brahmans (priest-teachers), from his arms the ksatriyas (warrior-kings), from his thighs the vaisyas (trader-craftsmen) and from his feet the sudras (manual labourers).
He recognized the need for a change in policy when he commented: "Boys of all classes, Christians, Brahmins, Sudras, Pariahs and Mohammedans, read together with no distinction of caste, and the effect this has wrought in removing caste differences is very marked.
Next came Kshatriyas, the warriors, then the Vaisyas, farmers and traders, and the Sudras, laborers and servants.