By Swami Harshananda
Pañcamas literally means ‘those who belong to the fifth caste’.
The four varṇas into which the society was divided is well-known. Certain castes which were considered as outside this category, were relegated to the ‘fifth’ place. Almost all those who have been listed among the Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the country come under this category.
- Varṇas means castes.
- Fifth means pañcama.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore