- Is the caste system changing, weakening or disintegrating in India? 20
- The Marxian view on population is more humanistic. Comment. 10
Worried about Prelims?
Q1. Is the caste system changing, weakening or disintegrating in India? 20
- Caste system can simply be defined as a system of stratification in society. Various sociologists have studied the caste system in India with different perspectives.
- G.S Ghurye adopted an attributional approach and discussed significant features of the caste system. Louis Dumont’s perspective was based on the concept of purity and pollution as the basis of the caste system. Such a view considers the caste system to be a closed system wherein there is no possibility of mobility. However, in the present context changes have been observed with respect to the caste system.
Features: Continuity and Change
- Caste based occupations, Jajmani system
- Due to industrialization, there has been commercialization of occupations.New occupations not associated with any caste and open to all.No hesitation among people of all castes to go for new occupations.
- There were restrictions on dining along with people of lower caste.
- Now, almost 90% of people do not mind eating together.
- More emphasis was given to ascriptive identity.
- At present, there is more emphasis on achievement.
- Caste panchayats
- They used to hold an important position in earlier times.
- Due to the presence of the modern legal system, such institutions have lost their original significance.
- Earlier, the untouchables were supposed to live outside the village. Distance was maintained among the houses of upper caste people and that of lower caste people.
- Now, there is no such gap maintained in modern colonies or cities.
- Restrictions on inter-caste marriage
- At present, many people do not have any problem with inter-caste marriage. More emphasis is given on class.
Such comparative analysis presents the idea that the caste system has been changing. However, it is not disintegrating. There are some factors of continuity as well. These are given below:
- Identity- Caste based identities are still given importance. Many instances of class conflicts occurred during contemporary times.
- Caste association- Various caste groups have formed their caste associations so as to unite themselves. E.g- Kayastha mahasabha, Jat mahasabha etc.
- Caste panchayats- Though they have lost their original significance, these have not been eliminated altogether. They try to assert their position as guardians of culture. E.g. Khap panchayats.
- Backward class- Many caste groups are trying to get backward class status to get the benefit of reservation.
- Politicisation- There has been a tendency of vote bank politics. This was also highlighted by Srinivas in his idea of ‘dominant caste’.
With the concept of Sanskritization, Srinivas was the first scholar to highlight the possibility of change in the caste system. Andre Beteille also presented the view that caste old is replaced by caste new than the caste being replaced by class in India.
Caste system is changing but not disintegrating. It is now focussing more on secular domain in contemporary times as compared to that of religious domain
Q2. The Marxian view on population is more humanistic. Comment. 10
- Marx was a revolutionary thinker and his work encompassed Philosophy, Economy, Sociology etc.
- He wasn't much concerned about size or growth of population; rather his focus was on the quality of population like equality of class, a standard of living, better working conditions etc.
- In his view, the large rate of the proletariat population was due to the capitalistic model of economy and the desire among the working class to have more hands for more work.
- He envisaged that by removing the private property, establishment of public ownership of resources and equal distribution of resources will eliminate the need for fast population growth among the working class.
- His theory is more humanistic in the sense that it keeps the human action and human desire at the centre and suggests the creation of a communist model by abolishing capitalistic society which would improve working conditions, health and living conditions of the population.
- Unlike the Malthusian model which advocated that Earth has limited resources, Marx believed in distribution and access to resources.