From this article:

Although the first Maratha ruler, Shivaji, freely recruited Mahars in his army, two centuries later, by the time of the Peshwas, the status of Mahars was lower than ever. The Peshwas were Brahmins of a particularly orthodox bent. Stories told even today recall how when Mahars entered towns, they were made to tie brooms behind their backs to sweep up the dust of their footprints and to tie pots in front on their necks to collect their spittle. It was also a criminal offence to hide one’s caste.

What do śastras say about hiding one's caste? Is it a punishable offense?

  • 6
    Narratives like these are peddled by Breaking India forces like ultra-left. Please quote the primary source for the authenticity of such an incident has even occurred ?
    – Akhil
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 23:08
  • 4
    Maybe you can enlighten everyone what exactly do you consider a "primary source?" And who should be the author of such a source. Also, my question is not whether such an event occured, but what scriptures say hiding one's caste. Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 3:02
  • Karna was punished for cheating Parashurama
    – Aoi. T_015
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


In Hinduism the sin of Brahminicide is considered as one of the most grave sins. Now, claiming (falsely) oneself to be someone of a higher caste is regarded as a similar offence.

This is as per the Manu Smriti.

Manu Smriti 11.55. Falsely attributing to oneself high birth, giving information to the king (regarding a crime), and falsely accusing one’s teacher, (are offences) equal to slaying a Brahmana.

And, this is also something that Karna (from Mahabharata) did. And, as a result, he was eventually cursed by his Guru.

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