The most prominent Hindu beliefs are reincarnation and the caste system. In reincarnation, upon death, the body dies, but the soul is reborn. In this new life a person's position in society is based on behavior and the acts of a person's previous life. The caste system defines Hindu society, creating a rigid class structure within each caste.
The code of the caste system demands that a marriage occur only between members of the same caste. This rule was "rigorously enforced" (Document E). While many easily abided by this code, others found themselves in predicaments of love concerning members of different castes. A prime example; "If a girl of a high case were detected in an act of adultery, she could be sold and treated as a slave." (Document E) Castes viewed code involving matrimony and intercourse strictly. Inter-caste marriages were absolutely unacceptable, as was adultery. The occurrence of either of these could cause a woman to be immediately lowered in social class and be treated as a slave. Marriage within castes as dictated by the Hindu religion is what kept society going.
Throughout India, Hindus lived under the caste system in which people were divided up into different social classes, but all followed the same code. The Caste system involved four social classes; The Brahmis, the priest and academics; Kshastriyas, the rulers and military; Vaishyas, the landlords, farmers and merchants; and the Sudras, the slaves and peasants. Here, too, were the "untouchables." This group was considered "beyond the pale of religion," (Document A) and was composed of members not fit for society, many of whom had incurable diseases. This group suffered constantly because of discrimination. Hindus believed that the untouchables could not have been good people in their past lives or else god would not have punished them so much. .
The caste system served to unite many societies. Rigid structure and strict guidelines delineated each class and caste.