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Doing Business in India by Dean Nelson

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Business, Caste, and Culture

India’s Hindu majority is sharply divided into “castes” or classes, which in theory prescribe the social and career prospects open to a person. The caste system is one of the most divisive social and political issues facing India today: understanding its structure and relevance to society will ease many of your business interactions.

Knowing the boundaries

There are four main castes—Brahmins (priests and teachers), Kshatriya (kings, warriors, and aristocracy), Vaisya (traders), and Sudra (laborers, servants). Dalits, or “untouchables,” are considered too “unclean” to even be a formal part of the system. Caste can be an indicator of wealth or power, but it is unreliable. The author of India’s constitution, Dr. B. ...

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