Two of the deeply rooted caste based societies are South Asia (Some parts of greater Asia too) and Africa. Being a South Asian, I have learned how to survive in the fragmented society.
In my childhood, I was not supposed to eat with other friends who came from lower caste. Over the time I have tried to forget all things related to 'caste'. Nowadays, I don't even care about it. Recently, I met one of my close school friend. He is pursuing undergraduate course at a famous college. We talked about our old school days, the fun we used to have and plan for the future. Later he told me that he hasn’t revealed his caste/last name to his college mates.
Why? I used to think that thing called 'caste' is slowly fading away. I still do. My conversation with that friend rather showed gloomy picture. He says that there are still mental harassment. And that’s too among young people. A WTF moment of my life!
Looking on history pages, it is clear that most of southern/eastern caste system was created for interdependence. Certain task was assigned to certain group. This sounds great. But later, same economic system became base of our fragile society. Those who were assigned high profile knowledge based jobs became Brahmins. Skilled workers and army men came after them. Rest poor, minority and uncategorized got tagged as 'untouchable'.
New India's liberal leaders fought against this system and made 'untouchability' illegal. But story doesn't end here. India is one of the notorious countries for caste based harassment. (Note: I still do wonder and praise this nation for communal harmony though)
Apart from social issues, I have another reason to hate the system. Our caste based system prohibits creativity and innovation. When job of Brahmin is only to read bhajans and of Shudra is to supply labor, nowhere can we think of innovation. Creativity is beautiful thing, and often hard to find. When knowledge of various fields is combined with day to day work/experiment (Or call it labor/work/skills), there we can expect continuous improvement and innovation. Knowledge + Skills = Innovation. Western society is built on this foundation. Our society is fragmented, thus no innovation.
Rise of caste based politics is worst thing we can expect in 21st century. One of the worst example of caste politics is Nepal. When Maoist were fighting against powerful state, the purely used caste on their advantage. They declared separate state for each and every caste out there, and persuaded to bomb the Kingdom. Interestingly, they somewhat succeeded. When warriors became rulers, they started to feel the pain. Now, the party and the whole country is fragile. And what Maoist can see further is their own graveyard. They have two choices, either to reincarnate or vanish. Their guru Mao hasn't got incarnation, so I don't expect them too. They might probably vanish.
New economic order demands greater interdependence. Only a fool can give/demand his identity based on 'caste'. An individual can truly feel safe and be happy in a casteless society. In fact, that is true freedom. Same recipe that makes individual happy, makes country powerful.
Yet odds are all around. I met another friend in a café. While talking, I came to know she is soon to be married. She also told me her family fully supports the plan. Why? "Because he comes from Brahmin family". Laughing my ass off.