The banyan tree enjoys huge cultural importance in India. It is considered sacred among the Hindu population with temples and shrines being built under its shade quite often. Banyan tree is commonly symbolic of an eternal life as it has a very lengthy lifespan. Married Hindu women often practice religious rituals around the banyan tree to pray for long life and well-being of their husbands. The Hindu Supreme deity Shiva is often depicted as sitting and meditating under a banyan tree surrounded by sages. The tree is also considered a symbol of the Trimurti, a confluence of the three supreme deities of the Hindu mythology - Lord Brahma is represented in the roots, Lord Vishnu is believed to be the trunk and Lord Shiva is believed to be the branches. According to Buddhist beliefs, Gautam Buddha attained Bodhi by meditating under a banyan tree and the tree thus holds tremendous religious significance in Buddhism as well. The banyan tree is often the focus of a rural establishment. The shade of the banyan tree provides a soothing backdrop for peaceful human interactions. The banyan tree prevents anything from growing under its shade, not even grass. For that reason the banyan tree or its parts are considered inauspicious in cultural ceremonies like marriages.
It may also be noted that the practice of caste system is not confined to Hindus alone. We find castes among the Muslims, Christians, Sikhs as well as other communities. We have heard of the hierarchy of Shaikh, Saiyed, Mughal, Pathan among the Muslims, Furthermore, there are castes like Teli (oil pressure). Dhobi (washerman), Darjee (tailor) etc. among the Muslims. Similarly, caste consciousness among the Christians in India is not unknown. Since a vast majority of Christians in India were converted from Hindu fold, the converts have carried the caste system into Christianity. Among the Sikhs again we have so many castes including Jat Sikh and Majahabi Sikh (lower castes). In view of this we can well imagine the extent of caste diversity in India.