A Fine Balance
PAGE 2
The Caste System in India

Mohammed: In India, I have friends who are of a different caste, who will not eat at the same table with me. They'll come to my house, but they will not eat food in my house.

Madhavi: When my grandmother came to visit, and people would come to our house, she would put their silverware and their plates in a separate place. She said, "This is not something that I'm going to eat out of."

Mohammed: I know a family where they have a Brahmin cook. She's from a merchant class. That is the top, the head honcho in the caste system. [The cook] will not allow the lady of house to enter the kitchen because she will defile the kitchen.

Oprah: This is 2002. The caste system is still in place right now in Bombay?

Mohammed: Not so much in the large cities. But in the providences he described, it is there.

Rohinton: The caste system, of course, is in place everywhere.

Oprah: How does everybody know which caste you're in?

Rohinton: In cities, you don't, because money is the big thing.

Mohammed: But in villages, you know by the names, by the trades that they perform, where they live, all those little indicators.

Oprah: So once born a laborer, you're in the laborer caste system, you can never be anything else?

Rohinton: Exactly.

What about population control in India?

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