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ROLE OF CASTE IN INDIAN POLITICS

Author: Shreyash Singhal, III year of B.A.,LL.B. from Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, Mumbai


INTRODUCTION

The caste system is a predominant aspect of the social and political structure in India. Caste is that the most ancient feature of Indian system and it’s a significant factor to consider the structures and functions of the Indian form of government. The word ‘caste’ comes from the Spanish word ‘caste’ which suggests race. People born in particular race have their separate caste. It defines all social, economic and political relationships for the individual. Caste may be a notable foundation of stratification in India. Indian politics is caste-ridden politics. Caste determines the character, organization, and dealing of political parties, interest groups, and every political structures and their functions. Indian society has been highly segmented along the lines of castes, religion, class, etc, it eventually prevents actual working of Parliamentary democracy. The essential objective of this paper is to analyse the role caste in Indian politics and the way it becomes a significant reason behind serious concern and become an obstacle to the national integration. For majority of the scholars of politics, namely Myron Weiner India is probably the foremost important of all the newer countries of the so-called “third world”. It’s fairly often to see that the lower caste groups, who are supposed to hate the caste system, also use their caste identity to gain benefits within the corridors of power and politics and, at the identical time, they require to place a stop to the caste oppression imposed upon them by the upper castes.


Objective

1. To analyse the impact cast on Indian politics.

2. What are the constitutional provisions for casteless society.


FACTS

There are four caste as per the varna system

1. Braham (single spiritual power that Hindus believe lives in everything)

2. Kshatriya (2nd level of the varnas in the Hindu caste system; warriors)

3. Vaishyas (3rd class of the caste system; worker class, the legs of purusha-sakta)

4. Shudra (the lowest of the 4 class of the caste system, traditionally made up of servants)


Role of caste in Indian politics

1. Caste factor in political socialization and leadership recruitment

The child inherits the caste by his/her birth and after that become a member of that particular caste group. He naturally comes under the influence of caste groups and casteism while picking up his political orientation, attitude, and beliefs. Elements which influence person’s thinking, conscience, and participation in politics are caste values and caste interest. We can say caste influences leadership recruitment process. Example: In Andhra Pradesh Reddys, Karmas and Valamas, provide state leaders. In India political parties attempt to protect and promote the interest of a specific caste and also a number of regional parties stands predominantly influenced by the caste factor (DMK and AIADMK are non-brahmin parties of Tamil Nadu , In Punjab Akali Dal stands by the issue of jats vs. non-jats). To secure votes in election every party uses caste as its means( BSP’s voting bank relay on schedule castes, BJP’s voting bank relay on its popularity among Hindus and trading community).


2. Discrimination based on caste

In the job sector (government and private) the postings, transfers, and appointments are influenced by the person’s caste. Also when constituting the council of ministers have to represent the candidate of different caste in different states to gather the support of that particular caste.


3. Caste based pressure groups

Pressure groups which are based on the caste tries to protect and promote the interest of that particular caste and build pressure on the government.

Example. Scheduled caste federation, Arya SamajSabha, SanatanDharma Sabha, etc.


4. Caste and nomination of candidates

The main thing which political parties keep in mind while nominating the candidate is caste of the voters and candidate of that particular constituency. By this party ensures the vote of the caste will come in there favour. Some secular parties ( Congress, Janta Dal, etc ) also take this under consideration for selecting there candidates.


5. Caste Violence

The difference between higher and lower caste become vigorous and have turned into a violent and fierce struggle for power in society. Most of the caste violence cases are raised in U.P. , Bihar , Maharashtra , and Gujrat. In todays world most of the caste based violence continues to characterize rural politics.


6. The demand for reservation by other communities

Firstly the provision of the reservation which was added in the constitution of India in article 15(4). The bill was presented by Dr B.R. Ambedkar in the parliament for the upliftment of the backward castes. In todays time non-reserved castes also started putting pressure on the government to make provision for them too.


Analysis

1. Acts & Constitutional Provisions for a Casteless Society

Constitution of India is one of one the best constitutions in the world, but never fully implemented. Provision listed below are some sincere efforts by great Indians:

  • Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1976

  • Prevention of atrocities against SC & ST’s Act, 1989


2. Fundamental Rights – First Right is the Right to Equality

There are some articles written in the constitution of India for maintaining equality among its people:

  • Article-14 (Equality before law)

  • Article-15 (prohibition of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, race, gender, and colour)

  • Article-16 (equal opportunities in public employment)

  • Article-17 (abolition of untouchability)

  • Article-18 (abolition of titles)


3. Fundamental Duty

Article 51A – (e) says to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all irrespective of religion, linguistic, and regional or sectional diversities and to renounce practices of defamatory to the dignity of women.


4. Directive Principles of State Policy

  • Article 38 - To promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political and to minimize the inequalities.

  • Article 46 - Promotion of educational and economical interest of SC, ST, and OBC.

  • Article 330 - Reservation of the seats in the house of people for SC & ST’s.

  • Article 332 - Reservation of the seats in legislative assembly of every state for SC & ST’s.


5. Points listed below need to be looked for neutralizing the role of caste in Politics

  • Violence based on caste should be eliminated.

  • On the secular lines education system should be remodelled.

  • A neutral role should be played by the media.

  • Reservation should be given to those who are economically weak not on the bases of caste, by this all the section will be benefitted.

  • Caste based politics should come to end by the politicians.

  • Community living must be encouraged by all the schools by organizing community meals and should include all students.


Reflection

  • Conclusion of the research

Caste and politics shares a close relationship and influence each other. Caste is a major component of the social system in India. In Indian democracy casteism is the biggest challenge these both are totally opposite things. India has adopted liberal form of democratic system that is based on freedom, equality and justice. Whereas caste is for inequality based on birth Indian political parties are also divided on the bases of caste loyalties and ethnic factors. During the election campaigns violence is mainly caste-based. Now a days the bases of politics is nothing more than caste-ridden and due to that caste got politicized. For securing the benefits caste group use the politics. People want that their voices to be listened and development should take place. American political experts (I. Rudolf & S.H. Rudolf) once wrote in there book “Modernity of tradition” Politicians have to democratize themselves to be the best for fulfilling the basic needs of a common man. There must be reduction in divergence among the caste for changing the mentality of the people. All the education system must teach the values of equality and a bond of brotherhood for all the people, this is necessary for nation-building. System(government) and political party should ensure to treat all the groups and communities equally.


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