Water, Hindu mythology and an unequal social order in India
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This paper analyzes water and water use in relation to Hinduism beliefs. Through an examination of social stratification and its relation to water the author explains the social inequalities of access, control, and distribution of water rights. Water is considered to be spiritually sacred and purifying, but only upper castes own and control natural springs and other water resources. The lower, the caste the more impure the person; therefore they are not allowed to touch the water. Lower caste women can experience social exclusion and are often blamed when a streams dries up. These beliefs reinforce inequality in access, control and distribution of water.