Sudra is the third of four Hindu social categories, or varna. The origin of the term is uncertain, but is regarded in the Rg Veda. The Sudras included the menials that were assumed already present, at least within the Vedic community, but not being “twice-born” or totally integrated. Their emergence from under the feet of Purusa summarizes their social position. Manasmrtistates that a sudra’s name should combine a note of his low status with a description of his work, and that when dead, his body should be carried out of the south gate, the penalty being, while the bodies of the “twice-born” are taken out of any of the others. Some include the Harijans or untouchables within this category. A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 925