"Though division among people by means of caste was present 1,400 years ago, it is regrettable that the practice is still present among us.
Society is yet to reform itself in this subject," he said.
The minister said the prevalence of the caste system even after all these years and during a period graced by several cultural and spiritual leaders, was not a good sign.
Pointing out that literature has not reformed society, he said his belief that people could be changed through politics "is decreasing every day."
He also requested leaders present at the function to ponder over how best one could get society to change this mindset that leads to divisions among people.
Chidambaram was speaking at the valedictory function of Alwargal Cultural Centre's 15th Annual Day celebrations here.
He said age old differences between Saivites and Vaishnavites were not prevalent now, but there are fights today between Hindu and Muslim communities, and Hindus and Christians due to various differences.
"Even today due to differences, people of Islam and Christian communities across the world tend to fight. It is still prevalent in the Middle-Eastern countries", he said.
On fostering growth of the Tamil language, he said it was upto Tamil scholars to take steps to ensure that rare words find a place in everyday usage and do not fade away due to the passage of time.