The Indian caste system is built on the complex social structures and social roles. For example, a person’s profession is hereditary.
The Indian society is plural in terms of the caste, religion and class depending on the region. The society is characterized by the diversity and unity that is evident among the people, who belong to any form of social category based on profession or as inherited. The effects of such social dynamics are seen in the various aspects of society and in the way the social status is represented in different settings. The system provides a hierarchy of social roles that play a key role in the implicit status held by people in society. This is hereditary and creates a limited basis for the social mobility. The highest caste is the Brahmin caste which is made up of priests and scholars. The other caste systems include the Kshatriya caste made up of warriors and kings, the Vaishya caste of merchants, and the Shudra caste that comprises of laborers (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). In the final level are the Dalits that are the outcasts in the Indian society.
The caste system in India is one which is a key feature in the Indian labor markets and the general business economy which highlights the forms of discrimination that is associated with the system. With India as an example the caste system is viewed as an archaic system that has been brought along by traditions and is a source of historical disadvantage that affects most of the population in India. The caste system is found to be a complex institution that is found in the current political and economic forces in India since it contributes to the persistent human capital and socioeconomic disparities and has further effects on the wellbeing of its subjects (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). The effects are not only in the given locations but generally affect the village to the city and to all the markets present in India.
The caste system is central in the political system and in the social life of the Indian culture. The government of India has categorized the people and democracies based on the caste system and the social identity (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). The Indian caste and solidarities are the main channels by which the electoral and political support systems are mobilized in the system. Most of the caste system is used in the rural areas and thus most political parties find it easier to mobilize and get support from the members of each caste community (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). The current system encourages the use of the caste system in order to survive and ensure social control.
There are many challenges that arise in the practice of democracy in such a country due to the effects of the caste system. The system has influenced the policy making of the government of India and the various positions that are available within the political parties (Vaishnav, 2012). This factor also has great influence on the proportion of council of ministers in the appointments that take place in government offices. The caste system has played an important role in the determination of the content and the direction of the processes in political socialization, mobilization, and institutionalization in the development of democracy (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). The caste system dynamics are at the root of the complexities of Indian politics and the main functioning’s of the system.
The system has however led to many problems within the society and undermines the efforts of democracy in the country. The caste system groups and divides the communities of Indians into various groups by which they are born, get married, die and are buried (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). The system characterizes the world as where people are divided into those that are pure and impure. The system has a destructive impact on the Indians by designing the people to specific occupations on birth and thus limiting one’s choices and further impedes the economic and social mobility of a person. The links may have weakened with the upcoming modern era in urban areas but still limits the political and economic life of Indians (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). Most of the caste groups tend to designate their caste identities in order to keep the ruling caste group happy. This is in an effort to maintain group mobility and do not undermine the power of the ruling caste. The caste divisions that exist among the lower classes often tend to have a difficult life as they are unable to defend their class-wide interests when it comes to politics or any other factors. The caste system has also led to significant levels of poverty among the Indian people where people have very large families that they are unable to take care of (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). The quality of education that can be obtained by the certain classes of the caste system is poor and thus led into the further engulfment of poverty in such communities.
India’s democratic politics is marked by significant shifts that can be traced back in the year 1989-1991 (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). This is when the neo-liberal restructuring of the economy occurred and in this period there was an increase in political organizations. According to Zoya Hasan in his article Gender, Religion and Democratic Politics in India, it is argued India’s religion is a major contribution as to why the country has been lacking behind in terms of developments and progress attributed to the fact that Hinduism has changed the contours of both its economy and politics (Hasan, 2018). In recent years economic growth has been decreasing drastically and this is majorly attributed to the Religions hierarchy in the country. The economy decreased by 8% compared to the previous years (Nations, 2018). In addition to that the as wealth increases, the gap between the rich and the poor also increase and this in turn causes leads to income inequality in the region (Acquaah, 2004). It is important to mention that the relationship between religion and politics especially in India is significantly contingent in measuring democratic freedom. In the last decade, it is prudent to mention that religion has had a greater impact upon politics compared to how much impact it had when the country gained independence (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). For instance, the main ruling party in the country which is for purely secular (Non-religious) has been dominating the elections and this has been the main cause for demonstrations every now and then in the country. In addition this has been undermining peace in the country (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). This can be evidenced in recent years when the country held their 12th elections and the coalition which was run by Bhartiya Janata Party won the major seats in parliament (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). As a result of this the, religious group are normally singled out when it comes to matters concerning them. In as much as Bhartiya Janata set some aspects in his manifesto that were supposed to be addressed such as the issue of secularism as a major factor undermining democracy in the country, there has still been some aspects that are still unaddressed and this poses a threat to secular democracy and constitutional rights of the minority group (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018).
The Indian constitution doesn’t embody a strict separation of the religion and the state. This is due to the fact that religion in the country has been disestablished. The disestablishment model, it has been established that religion and secularism is a major fact that leads to inequality and therefore there is need for regulations and regulations and reforms (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). This is address using the principle of religious freedom where it postulates that everyone in India has the right to religious through in all the aspects including faith, gender and birth. This ensures that no one is discriminated based on his or her religion or faith and therefore being able to promote democracy in the long run. In addition to that, the second principle is based on secular state which is documented in Article 17 and 25 of the Indian constitution (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). This principle permits the government to intervene religious affairs that are restricting and regulating economic activities within the country. Thirdly there is the third principle which puts emphasis on the social welfare of Indians. This involves the states involvement in religious activities and religious trusts that help in preserving the systems of personal laws and democracy (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). Religion has long since been known as an aspect that undermines peace and democracy in a country and should therefore be tackled by all means necessary. However, the question whether the minority should be accorded special treatment by the Indian government still remains a matter of discussion and brings in controversy. This has been evidenced when the Hindu right has questioned the link between secularism and minority rights by attacking the rights of the minority group.
Gender has also been an issue that has been of concern with regards to democracy and peace in India. This is attributed to the idea that the country doesn’t hold up to Women Rights as much as other countries and cultures do. During the colonial times, the country was subject to common criminal code that was drafted in the year 1880 (Kesselman, Krieger, & Joseph, 2018). This was made in order to replace the personal law with the common civil law code and since independence the country has been having reforms to meet the needs of secularism and modernization. According to Bjorn Alm, the author of the paper Women and democracy in India,” he was able to establish that women in India are normally perceived differently from how the world views women (Alm, 2018). This is to mean that there is discrimination of women and eventually undermines democracy in the long run.
India is a country that has undergone much since independence. As a result of these there are aspects that have greatly had an impact on the country’s democracy. Some of these aspects include caste system, religion and gender rights. This is evidence from some of the activities occurring in the country since independence. It is important that reforms and political changes be made in order to create a country that is fit and practices democracy.
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Acquaah, M. (2004). Human factor theory, organizational citizanship behaviours and human resources management practices: An integration of theoretical constructs and suggestions for measuring the human factor. Human Factor Studies, 118-151.
Alm, B. (2018). Women and democracy in India. Journal of Cultural Studies.
Hasan, Z. (2018). Gender, Religion and Democratic Politics in India. United Nations Research Intitute for Social Development, 2.
Kesselman, M., Krieger, J., & Joseph, W. A. (2018). Introduction to comparative politics: political challenges and changing agendas. Cengage Learning.
Nations, U. (2018, November 21). https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/. Retrieved from Sustainable development goals.
Vaishnav, M. (2012). Caste Politics, Credibility and Criminality: Political Selection in India. University of Pennsylvania.