Dating outside your economic class

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According to the Rig Veda, sacred texts that date back to oral traditions of more than 3,000 years ago, progenitors of the four ranked groups sprang from various parts of the body of the primordial man, which Brahma created from clay (see The Vedas and Polytheism, ch. Each group had a function in sustaining the life of society--the social body. They were to provide for the intellectual and spiritual needs of the community.

Kshatriyas, warriors and rulers, were derived from the arms. Vaishyas--landowners and merchants--sprang from the thighs, and were entrusted with the care of commerce and agriculture. Later conceptualized was a fifth category, "Untouchable" menials, relegated to carrying out very menial and polluting work related to bodily decay and dirt.

Shudras--artisans and servants--came from the feet. Since 1935 "Untouchables" have been known as Scheduled Castes, referring to their listing on government rosters, or schedules.

They are also often called by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi's term Harijans, or "Children of God." Although the term appears in literature produced by these low-ranking castes, in the 1990s, many politically conscious members of these groups prefer to refer to themselves as Dalit (see Glossary), a Hindi word meaning oppressed or downtrodden.

Within such castes, people may further belong to smaller subcaste categories and to specific clans and lineages.

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In regions where members of tribes live in peasant villages with nontribal peoples, they are usually considered members of separate castes ranking low on the hierarchical scale.

Numerous groups usually called tribes (often referred to as Scheduled Tribes) are also integrated into the caste system to varying degrees.

Some tribes live separately from others--particularly in the far northeast and in the forested center of the country, where tribes are more like ethnic groups than castes.

Left-wing groups had sought permission to protest outside the annual conclave of world powerbrokers, which will be guarded by thousands of Swiss troops.

Tamara Funiciello of Switzerland’s Young Socialists called the government’s denial of protests “scandalous,” telling the AP it was “a way of hiding behind the power of global elites”.

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