Ojaank IAS Academy

OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

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OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

Various forms of untouchability and its present status

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Even though India has completed 75 years of independence, casteism is still a divisive issue in India. From demanding reservation for people on the basis of their caste in Haryana to demanding Maratha quota in Maharashtra, India has not been able to eliminate caste-based notions that have been passed down for generations.

Among Hindus, casteism has been around for more than 3,000 years to differentiate between people on the basis of their birth and work. The concept of ‘caste’ which means ‘birth’ underlies this differentiation into thousands of groups and sub-groups on the basis of descent and kinship.

Although constitutionally prohibited, casteism is still practiced by upper castes and lower castes in both rural and urban India. On somewhat similar lines are issues relating to minorities which are often defined on the basis of religion-specific indicators, linguistic indicators, socio-economic indicators and infrastructure indicators, which further create segments in society.

There are majority of people who believe in Hindu religion in India. The caste system, fundamentally, originated in ancient India around 3000โ€“4000 years ago. In this system, Hindus were divided into 4 rigidly hierarchical groups based on their work/occupation. Casteism or casteism is a practice in which a feeling of superiority towards one’s own caste prevails and members of other castes are viewed with contempt.

Casteism affects our thinking pattern and makes us not only conservative but also a great threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the society. Cystism is a bad result of an ancient practice. Casteism is the most unfortunate and degrading aspect of a society where caste is given importance over merit and humanity. Every person belongs to a caste (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra) and considering his caste as superior, looks at other people as inferior. This mentality is the enemy of social unity.

If we talk about the spread of casteism, casteism started spreading widely soon after the Manu laws (Manu’s institutions) were emphasized according to religion. Manu was a Hindu Brahmin who claimed to be the first son of Brahma. He wrote the most critical book, “Manusmriti”, in which he compared the four classes of Hindus – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras – to different parts of Brahma (one of the principal deities of Hinduism).

It has also spread through education. According to the Manusmriti or that scripture of human religion, Brahmins were placed at the top of the hierarchy, whose main occupation was teaching and imparting academic/intellectual knowledge to the people.

Political examples, if discussed, are allocation of party tickets during elections, formation of cabinet or council of ministers in states on the basis of caste, caste conflict between upper and lower castes in different states like Madhya Pradesh, UP and Bihar or the division of dominant castes. It is present in the form of conflict between, violent disputes over reservation policy, disagreement and/or agitation by a small group of individuals or parties.

Political leaders propagate casteism indirectly by showing love and faith for their own caste group giving priority to the common national interest.

Casteism is the result of politicization of caste done by many political parties. Its various manifestations include the formation and expansion of caste-based political parties, the rise of caste-based pressure groups.

Casteism is a practice where discrimination is done on the basis of caste or caste and untouchability is promoted. It is against the ideals of the Indian Constitution and grossly violates the rights to equality guaranteed by it under Articles 15, 16 and 17. Under Article 17 of the Constitution, untouchability is abolished and its propagation and practice in any form is prohibited in India.

-OJAANK SHUKLA

( DIRECTOR โ€“ OJAANK IAS )


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