- Why is caste identity in India both fluid and static? (15)
- Discuss the impact of post liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism. (15)
1. Why is caste identity in India both fluid and static? 15
Core Demand: Discuss changing nature of caste. Also highlight existing caste rigidities.
Note: Here features of caste can be used to show how they are fluid and static. Features of caste include hierarchy, restriction on food, drink and smoking; distinction in custom, dress and speech; pollution, ritual and other privileges and disabilities (concept of purity and pollution); caste organization and caste mobility; caste endogamy (marriage within caste)
- Definition based- Caste is a social system based on ascriptive identities.
Fluid caste identity:
- Social mobility with the help of education, positive reservation mechanism and economic opportunities for eg: Ram Nath Kovind- Dalit President
- Political Affiliation for eg: emergence of caste based political parties
- Commensality: Traditional caste rules are changing in modern society with rapid growth. For example: Multinational offices (MNCs) hosting dinners, Students from varied castes coming together to eat in common canteen etc.
- Occupation: In contemporary industrial society, occupation is not decided based on caste or varna, it is majorly market driven. Menial tasks for low castes and desired jobs for higher castes is diminishing in the technical world.
- Marriages: Inter-caste marriages are reality now. Education, employment and compatibility between the couple is preferred over caste
- Reduction in traditional forms of untouchability due to anonymity in urban areas
Static caste identity
- Low inter caste marriages, presence of honour killing, matrimony websites based on caste identities for eg: jat matrimony, Jain matrimony etc.
- Twin myths of Urban anonymity and meritocracy- Lucknow and Patna are top 2 cities reporting caste based violence
- New forms of untouchability like residential segregation and labour market issues
- Religion and Caste have an important role in the pattern and growth of slums. They belonged to lower strata of the caste system and suffered from lack of bargaining power.
- Occupational discrimination for eg: 90% Manual scavengers belong to Dalit community
- Caste hierarchy: Bramhins still enjoy positions of authority in rituals. This is due to socio-religious cultural orthodoxy.
- Based on above analysis- caste is changing its form but still present in Indian society
2. Discuss the impact of post liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism. 15
Core demand: Discuss the role of economic liberalization on 1. Ethnic identity and 2. Communalism. Include both positive and negative impacts.
- Historic- You can mention 1991 LPG reforms
- Current affairs related- Some communal or ethnic violence
Impact on Ethnic identity:
- Development of backward regions for eg: natural resources rich tribal regions of Jharkhand and Odisha
- Economic and employment opportunities
- Individual tribals take advantage of privatisation of tribal hill areas.
- Major causes of tribal conflicts are land alienation and land capture by industries.
- Exacerbate income inequality, disproportionate benefits
- In the name of development, displacement of tribals.
- Land not commodity but identity; deprivation of land is equal to deprivation of livelihood
- Loss of social life can't be compensated with material benefit
- 8% total population but 40% displaced are tribals
- Access to quality education and services
- Better access to resources, education and health services in inaccessible hilly regions
- Unequal access to education, discrimination and prejudices
- Political mobilization:
- Better representation, grievance redress, participation in policy formulation
- Vote bank politics translated the instability of the north east into conflict and the easy availability of weapons added violence to the disputes.
Impact on communalism:
- Economic development and inclusivity
- Positive: Access to education, employment in MNCs for eg: IT industry
- Negative: Informalization of workforce, Unequal benefits, high unemployment rate amongst religious minorities
- Urbanisation and migration
- Positive: Better quality of life and services, social mobility
- Negative: Overcrowded slum especially from religious minorities for eg: Mumbai Dharavi
- Political mobilisation
- Positive: Representation, Participation, Demand based politics
- Negative: Radicalization, social unrest, communal violence, damage to social fabric etc
Some way forward/ Government initiatives
- Eklavya schools
- Forest Rights Act
- Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS)
- Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) scheme
- Conclude by mentioning some government policies or referring to the Tribal president.