Sep 26, 2007

A Little Note on Balinese Caste System

Yesterday I went tour to Kintamani to see the volcano with eleven Indian tourists. They are very nice and they talk English with Indian accent. Apparently, they are in Bali at the moment for a PATA conference (Pacific Asia Travel Association Mart) on 25 to 28 September at Westin Hotel Nusa Dua. (Later I knew that they were the Minister of Tourism of Andra Pradesh India and other directors and staffs of tourism department of Andra Pradesh).

Most of them are Hindu, so we can discuss about the Balinese Hindu and the Indian Hindu. Although this is not an in-depth discussion but it does gives me an interesting view.

"Do you have caste system in Bali?" one of them asked me.

I explained briefly about the four castes we have in Bali, the Brahmana, Ksatria, Weisya, and Sudra. They ask me again, to confirm, if we only have those four castes. I said yes.

"So, you don't have sub caste, for example, that inside Brahmana caste there is not any sub caste?"

When I replied that we did not really have sub caste, the commented and giggled," Life is so simple in Bali.."

Actually sub castes do exist, but it is not so popular in Bali.

We went on talking about marriage. In Bali inter caste marriage is possible. For example a man from higher caste can get married with a lady from a lower caste and that will upgrade the lady's caste. But a man of lower caste will downgrade a lady's caste if the lady's caste is higher when they get married. So, that is probably why, the parents will not agree upon the marriage. A way of doing this is the heroic elopement. The man kidnap the girl, hide her, and inform her parents about the kidnap. The parents will eventually agree if the daughter love the man, if not call the police.

Just for your info, I am belong to Sudra caste, the lowest caste in Bali.:-) :-) :-)

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