Globalization

Globalization

This article deals with Globalization’ . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.

When did Globalization started?

There is no agreement on this

  • 1st view : Since  old times as world was never isolated . There was trade & exchange of culture & ideas .
  • 2nd view : it happened during 15th & 16th century, when Europeans through colonialism connected new countries .
  • 3rd view : it was during Industrial Revolution due to invention of steam engines .

Finally although there is no agreement on the definition, everyone agrees that the pace of globalisation has increased during 1990s with the advent of internet & telecommunication .

Note – India’s concept of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ is in line with Globalisation. Hence, Indians are experiencing Globalisation since long .

What exactly is Globalization ?

  • Globalization is a process of increasing interdependence, interconnectedness and integration of economies and societies to such an extent that an event in one part of the globe affects people in other parts of world .
  • Due to globalization, the world has become a “global village”.
  • Due to globalization, the concept of sovereignty of states is diluting . MNCs are encroaching and sometimes becoming more powerful than States .
  • It has various aspects – social, political, economic etc. 
  • Whether it is beneficial or not is a matter of debate. It has both sides :-  
    • Some consider it the cause of the rising standard of living throughout the world.
    • Others think globalization to be soft underbelly of corporate imperialism that plunders and profiteers on the back of rampant consumerism.

Factors helping Globalization

International Trade Trade is the biggest contributor of Globalization . 
FTAs , Regional Integration & Global institutions such as WTO plays important role. in promoting globalization.    
ICT – ICT has connected offices situated in different parts of the world  .
– BPOs in India can do work for companies in US and EU at fraction of price .  
International Governmental Organisations Organisations like WTO , UN, European Union (EU), ASEAN etc. have integrated different parts of the world.  
Tourism People are travelling different parts => such surge in tourism was never seen before .  
International Sports CWG, Olympics, FIFA etc. plays important part in globalization .

Negatives of Globalization in general

  • Attack on sovereignty of nations by MNCs ,  institutions like WTO , IMF etc. and other powerful countries .
  • It has led to spread of terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy etc .
  • Globalization has negatively impacted Micro and Small Scale Industries . Eg : Women silk spinners and twisters of Bihar lost their jobs once the Chinese and Korean silk yarn entered the market. Weavers and consumers prefer this yarn as it is somewhat cheaper and has a shine.
  • Increased Insurgencies 
    • Adivasis uprooted from ancestral lands by MNCs  .
    • Support of diaspora to insurgencies  . Eg : Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers relied on the Tamil diaspora .
  • Environmental damage due to overfishing, forest depletion etc.
  • Disease Spread : Diseases spread like fire in the forest because of increased global connectivity & movement . Eg : Covid-19’s rapid spread during 2019-20.
  • Global Economy became too fragile corroborated by frequent depressions and slowdowns .
  • Inequality has increased . Capitalists have exploited the situation to their advantage .
  • Increased vulnerability of workers : MNCs keep on shifting their manufacturing bases based on cheap availability of labour. Eg : Nike shifted their production from  Japan to South Korea to  Indonesia , India and Thailand when labour became expensive in these economies.
  • Globalisation has given impetus to Culture of Materialism and Consumerism .
  • Exploitation of farmers
    • Globalisation has exposed the farmers to global competition .
    • WTO obligations regarding de-minimus limit has led to lowering of farm subsidies in developing nations.
    • MNCs are controlling farmers through Contract Farming .
    • Seed monopoly by MNCs like Monsanto .

Then how much Globalization is required ?

  • Outright rejection of globalization and a retreat into autarky is neither practical nor desirable as nobody wants to be the next Myanmar or North Korea.
  • Also nobody wants to be Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – who opened their border for all goods with same tax as on domestic goods — all had double-digit negative growth in 2009.
  • Countries that find the golden middle, like Chile and Singapore, tend to thrive .

We cant live in isolation and we can find a warning against isolationism in a parable about a well-frog- the ‘Kupamanduka’ that persistently recurs in several old Sanskrit texts. 

Socio-cultural Globalization & India

  • Cultural Globalization has increased cross cultural contacts  .
  • This can be seen in penetration of western food culture like McD, Pizza Hut, KFC etc. & western cloth culture .
    • Critics say that it is Westernization and not Globalization because of imbalance of transfer . 
    • But  MNCs also adopt to the local cultures eg McD don’t serve beef burgers,  Pizza Hut coming  with Indian flavors etc. .
  • In theory, globalization, by promoting economic growth in developing countries, tends to reduce poverty Some scholars have argued that ‘trade is good for growth, growth is good for the poor and so trade is good for the poor’ (Dollar and Kray, 2001). 
  • Cultural  Homogenization : we all watch the same television programmes, buy the same commodities, eat the same food, support the same sports stars . Hence, cultural diversity is being destroyed .
  • Use of  ‘English’  is rapidly increasing and multilingual speakers are  increasing as well.
  • There is rise of right wing parties  to protect local values & culture .
  • Globalization  has through greater exposure liberalized our attitudes, reduced our biases and predispositions about people, situations and communities worldwide.

Economic Globalization & India

Economic globalization comprises of two aspects :

  • Globalization of production 
  • Globalization of markets   

Positive Impacts

  1. Creation of jobs. Eg : Jobs in BPO sector .
  2. Bringing in improved technological process .
  3. MNCs are providing revenue by way of paying tax  .
  4. Global Corporations bring  better work culture  to India .
  5. Indirect impact is , to attract more MNCs to India, government invest a lot in infrastructure (roads, faster railway services and airplane facilities)  .
  6. It has led to IT revolution in India due to setting up of huge BPO sector providing services to their clients in developed world.

Negative Impacts

  1. Worsening of labour conditions as the chief aim of MNCs is maximization of profits (main thing that seduce MNCs to manufacture in India is cheap labour ) .
  2. MNCs repatriate their profits to respective countries rather than investing in India .
  3. Global Corporations are deriving small companies and artisans out of business.
  4. Big MNCs violate human rights & damage environment .
  5. Health sector has impacted greatly. Due to patent protection , price of patented drugs have skyrocketed .
  6. It has impacted the agriculture negatively because of creation of seed monopoly and dumping of food crops  by US & Europe .
  7. For its survival in the face of global competition, Indian industry has transformed itself from labour intensive processes to capital intensive processes by adopting global technologies and automatic machinery. This has resulted in high rate of unemployment in India.

Impact of Globalization on various sections of society

1 . Society as a Whole

Family structure

  • Globalization is promoting the value of Individualism  and has led to nuclearization of families .
  • New forms of families are emerging . Eg :Single parent households, live relationship, female headed households, dual- in career family (both husband and wife are working) etc.

Marriage values

  • Children are taking their own decision to select their own partners. 
  • Finding partners: younger generations have started depending on internet marriage sites like ‘Shaadi.com, Bharat Matrimony’ etc. Family involvement in finding a groom / bride is reducing.
  • Marriage is now seen as contract rather than sacrament .
  • Due to globalization, we are observing large number of divorces.

Caste System

  • Globalization has also brought about information technology and the internet which have also helped, though indirectly, in consolidating and even promoting caste solidarity e.g. matrimonial websites help in locating same caste grooms . Similarly, caste based forums are mushrooming on the web and social media.

Social interactions and festivals

  • Due to value of Individualism , social interactions have reduced .
  • People prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day rather than Holi and Diwali.

Youth

  • Youth is increasingly becoming westernized and consumerist in their thinking .

Food & clothing 

  • People have abandoned local foods & attracted towards  junk food which has  increased  health disorders .
  • Western  suiting’s are preferred by males but they are inappropriate  for Indian climate. 

Withdrawal of Government from Social Sector

  • LPG  Reforms led to general reduction of  state’s  public spending . State has now taken the role of regulator instead of service provider .
  • Government has placed large budget cuts on health, education and social security. 

2 . Female

Globalization affects different groups of women in different places in different ways. On the one hand it may create new opportunities for women to be forerunners in economic and social progress on the other it may take away job opportunities by providing cheaper avenues in the form of assembly line production or outsourcing.

Positive Impacts

  • Globalization has opened new avenues of jobs for women , which raises self-confidence and brings about independence.
  • Working from home and flexi hours are physically less burdensome .
  • Globalisation has posed a challenge to institution of Patriarchy .
  • Feminist movement has spread to India due to globalization, making women more vocal about their ideas.
  • Women in India are inspired by women the world over to fight for their rights. Eg : fighting for maternity leave .
  • Modern ideas like Equality of Sexes and Equal wages for both sexes have reached India  .
  • Due to globalization, India has signed conventions like CEDAW (Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) .

Negative Impacts

  • Double Burden / Second Shift : Women are suffering two fold. As women in developing countries move into the work force, their domestic responsibilities are not alleviated. Women work two full time jobs.
  • Globalization exploit cheap women labour in countries like  India , Bangladesh etc. .
  • Globalization has exacerbated gender inequalities => no doubt women have been benefitted but men are benefitted more than  men .
  • Globalization has corrupted the value system of males =>  Due to objectification of women , cases of rapes and sexual exploitation have increased. 
  • With encroachment of MNCs , small women entrepreneurs have gone out of market. Eg : Women silk spinners  from Bihar aren’t able to compete against Chinese silk yarn  .
  • Male members have move to other nations (especially from Indian states like Punjab and Kerala) -Women has to pass almost whole of her life without her husband .

3 . Farmers and Agriculture

Positive impacts of globalization

  • Globalization has provided greater access to better technology like
    • high yield varieties .
    • genetically modified crops (GM crops) .
    • micro irrigation techniques.
  • Foreign investment in agriculture in contract farming  and food processing have helped farmers.
  • Globalization has given access to farmers to the foreign markets .

Negative impacts of globalization

  • With globalization farmers were encouraged to shift from traditional crops to export oriented ‘cash crops’ such as cotton and tobacco but such crops needed far more inputs in terms of fertilizers, pesticides and water.
  • Exposed to competition from World =>  good produce in Jamaica can make price of sugarcane to fall in India .
  • MNCs using IPRs to create seed monopolies . Eg :  Monsanto’s monopoly over BT cotton seed.
  • Due to WTO obligations and de-minimus limit , state support for agriculture has declined substantially . 
  • MNCs are controlling farmers through Contract Farming (due to monopsony in exotic products).
  • Crops grown in Contract farming  usually requires high doses of fertilisers and pesticides which damage environment .
  • Number of suicides have increased since LPG reforms in India . Eg : Vidharbha is called suicide capital of India .

4. Old Age

Loneliness Children are migrating either to work in MNCs in cosmopolitans or other countries . (also known as Empty nest syndrome)   
Economic Impact With new kinds of jobs and change in technology , they are not fit for employment in many sectors.  
Psychological Impact They are not able to accept encroachment of foreign values which has occurred at huge pace. This leads to clashes  between parents and children especially girl child  .  
Health Impact Due to agreements like TRIPS price of patented drugs have skyrocketed => this has impacted Old age the most.

5. New Generation / Youth  

Positive Impacts

  • New avenues of Job : New avenues of jobs have opened . Eg: IT sector , BPO , Sharemarkets etc. .
  • More political awareness : Due to idea of  individual  liberty, justice etc.  .
  • Rise of entrepreneurial spirit : Globalization has led to end of monopoly of Parsis, Marwaris etc. in the industry . India has seen the rise of startup culture & first  generation  millionaires (eg : Ola, Oyo etc.) .
  • Pressure for protection of children :
    • India has signed international  conventions  like   Convention  on  Child  Rights .
    • NGOs  & Social workers like Kailash  Satyarthi’s efforts  get global recognition .
  • Youth see themselves as global teenagers. They belong to a much bigger community than the community they were born into. The younger generation is embracing western popular culture and incorporating it into their Indian identity.

Negative Impacts

  • Change in value system :  individualism had increased suicidal tendencies & loneliness .
  • Hyper consumerism : It has engulfed in feeling of relative deprivation .
  • Increased Competition : Now they have to compete not just with their countrymen but whole world .
  • Globalization  is also changing family institutions, and the nuclear family is increasingly the norm. Youth are not as close to their grandparents as were earlier generations and spend less time with the older generation resulting in loss of wisdom handed down from generation to generation.
  • Increased divorces : Marriage is now seen as contract .
  • Drugs : Globalization has brought drugs like heroin , smack etc. to India.

6. Art Forms 

  • Globalization has led to fusion of Indian and Western Art  forms  . Eg Fusion Music , Fusion Dance etc.
  • Packaging and branding of traditional folk and festivals .
  • Tourism to see Indian culture. Eg – Langar of Golden Temple to ruins of Hampi have become tourist destinations .
  • Yoga has become world famous . 
  • Foreign culture is also penetrating India and hence, right wing groups have revived cultural nationalism . Eg campaigns against Valentines Day etc. .

Glocalisation  vs Homogenization vs Clash of Civilisation

With increase in globalization, what will happen? 

There are three contrasting views regarding this :-

  1. With Globalisation ,  all cultures will become similar/ homogeneous.
  2. There is an increasing tendency towards Glocalisation .
  3. Clash of Civilisations will happen at large scale.
Globalization

Glocalisation refers to the mixing of the global with the local.

Glocalisation = Globalization + Localisation

Arguments for Glocalisation

  • It is a strategy adopted by foreign firms  to enhance their marketability.
  • Glocalisation can be seen in following things in India,  
    • Netflix making Indian TV Series .
    • Foreign TV channels like  MTV and Cartoon Network using Indian languages.
    • McDonald selling Indian Burgers .
    • Many English movies are dubbed in Hindi  to increase the marketability and to cater to large number of audiences.
    • Bhangra pop &  remixes .
Glocalisation
  • But ratio of influence of the western culture on local cultures is more .

Argument for  Homogeneity

Homogeneity due to globalization in India can be seen at 2 levels

  • Socio-cultural level:
    • Common values of Globalization like modernization, promotion of democracy .
    • Homogenous food habits (Mcdonaldization, pizza culture) .
    • Use of  ‘English’ as a global language . 
    • Creation of Global Celebrities like Britney Spears and Ronaldo .
  • Economic level:
    • MNCs – same large corporations having presence in whole world .
    • Same corporate culture .
    • Same production techniques .
    • Use of crypto-currencies like Bit-Coins .

Infact Globalisation is Americanization of the world .

3rd view – Cultural polarization

  • Samuel Huntington  dismissed the idea of a global monoculture as well as Glocalisation .
  • He was the proponent of phenomenon known as ‘clash of civilizations’ –  civilizational conflict would  occur between USA and China and between the West and Islam.

Does economic globalization promote prosperity  and opportunity for all?

Points in favour

  • The magic of the market : Economic globalization can  expanded opportunities and prosperity .
  • It let country to produce goods in sectors where it has ‘comparative advantage’, & import other goods thus benefiting from   economies of scale .
  • MNCs bring with them  access to modern technology in the developing world .
  • Economic freedom promotes other freedoms  : When people become rich , they demand for democracy and rights.

Points against

  • Deepening poverty and inequality : Winners are USA & MNCs and losers are people of developing country who are exploited .
  • Globalisation is the soft underbelly of Capitalism .
  • Globalisation promotes ethics of consumerism & feeling of relative deprivation.
  • Example of Bhutan : People are happy even without outside links .

Previous year UPSC GS Mains questions

  • Critically examine the effect of globalization on the aged population in India.
  • Discuss the positive and negative effects of globalization on women in India?
  • To what extent globalization has influenced the core of cultural diversity in India? Explain.

Regionalism

Regionalism

This article deals with Regionalism’ . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.

What is Regionalism ?

The phenomenon in which people’s political loyalties become more focussed on particular region in preference to the nation or other parts of the state of which that region is sub-part is called regionalism .

In Indian context, regionalism is rooted in India’s diversity vis a vis caste , religion , language , ethnicity etc. When all these factors get geographically concentrated along with the feeling of relative deprivation, it results into Regionalism.

Is Regionalism a threat to National Integration?

The politics of regionalism has two connotations

  • Positive Connotation  : This type of Regionalism is not threat to National Integration. It is manifested in form of
    1. Desire for preserving identity based on language, culture and ethnicity .
    2. To protect socio-economic interest .
    3. For administrative convenience .
  • Negative Connotation : Any demand of regionalism which acts as a threat to nation building efforts is referred as negative form of regionalism . Like Son of Soil policy & demand of secession.

Second form can be seen as threat while first form is not threat per se.

Characteristics of Regionalism

  • Regionalism is conditioned by economic, social, political and cultural disparities. 
  • Regionalism at times is a psychic phenomenon. 
  • Regionalism is built around as an expression of group identity as well as loyalty to the region. 
  • Regionalism supposes the concept of development of one’s own region without taking into consideration the interest of other regions. 
  • Regionalism prohibits people from other regions to be benefited by a particular region.

Types of Regionalism

Regionalism
  1. Demand for  Separation  : Demand to secede from Indian union and become a sovereign state. Eg : Khalistan , Azad Kashmir , Naga etc.
  2. Supra-state regionalism : Group of states are involved. They share common issues & build common identities . Eg  : North-eastern states for economic development and rivalry between North and South Indian States on language  .
  3. Inter-state regionalismBetween states . It is  issue-specific. Eg : Disputes between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over Kaveri  and disputes between Punjab and Haryana over Chandigarh and Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal.
  4. Intra-state regionalismDue to lack of equitable sharing of benefits within state. Eg:  Coastal region vs western region in Odisha and Jaipur (Amer) vs Jodhpur (Marwar) in Rajasthan.

Causes of Regionalism in India

Regionalism is a pre-independence phenomenon. It became predominant in post-independence period. The establishment and role of Justice Party in Chennai, and to a lesser extent, of Akali Dal in Punjab in pre-independence period are examples of emerging regionalism in India.

  1. Linguistic Reorganisation of States
    • After independence, Indian states were  divided on linguistic lines . It  generated sub-national identity  and thus regionalism.
  2. Historical and cultural factors: 
    • History has divided India into two  parts – “Aryans” and “Dravidians”.
    • Different regions have their own local heroes & people tend to mobilise around them . Eg Shivaji in Maharashtra or Periyer in Tamil Nadu or Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Punjab .
    • After independence, there  was integration of the Princely States .  Small states were integrated with the big states. But people continued to nurse loyalties to old territorial units.
  3. Economic underdevelopment : Uneven development generates  regionalism and separatism. It can manifest in form of demand for Special Category Status or separate state or secession . Eg Bodoland, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Chhatisgarh, Telangana, and so on. 
  4. Politico-administrative factors:
    • These are used by some region based parties. Eg : Shiv Sena claims to protect Maratha interests and Akali Dal to protect Punjabi (& Sikh) interests  .
    • Undue interference in the affairs of state by  central government gives  birth to regionalism.
  5. Economic Development : Sometimes development of particular community raises regional aspirations of the community . Eg After Green Revolution , Sikh Jatts of Punjab became economically prosperous and they started to demand separate Punjab from other Hindi speaking regions   .
  6. Religion : Religion play a significant role in regionalism when it is combined with dominance and linguistic homogeneity as in Punjab or fed on a sense of religious orthodoxy and economic deprivation as in Jammu and Kashmir.
  7. Disintegration  of Congress Party : After Nehru, central leaders started to impose their mandate on regional leaders. As a result, local leaders moved away to form parties like NCP in Maharashtra  , Trinamool Congress in West Bengal etc. They encouraged regionalism .

Son of the Soil Movement / Nativist Movement

  • “Son of the soil” doctrine argues that state specifically belongs to the main linguistic group inhabiting it , who are the sons of the soil or local residents.
  • The ‘sons of soil’ or nativist movements emerged in the sixties and seventies in some parts of India.
  • Shiv Sena of the sixties and seventies and the Assam movement, which culminated in 1985, may be considered to belong to this genre.

Why son of the soil?

  • Cultural prejudice is the main reasons behind the rise of nativist movements. More dissimilar the immigrant population is ethnically or culturally, stronger is likely to be the opposition.
  • Economy’s failure not to create enough employment opportunity. There remains a competition for jobs  .
  • Rising aspirations of the local middle class .
  • Politicians with vested interests try to consolidate their voting base using this. Eg Shiv Sena in Maharashtra .

Note : In some areas like Punjab , Haryana , Delhi etc. , Son of the Soil theory is not there but in Maharashtra , Karnataka etc. it is present.

Not Present in Punjab, West Bengal, Delhi etc. because

  • Son of Soil theory is for Middle class jobs and not for menial jobs .
  • It is not issue of political parties . Eg : Akali Dal is Jatt dominated party and Communist Party refused to use anti-migrant sentiments in Calcutta because of its ideological commitment.
  • Symbiotic Relationship : Punjabis want cheap agricultural labour . Hence, they don’t raise voice against immigration of cheap labour from Bihar and Eastern UP.
  • In Delhi, culture is purely cosmopolitan.

It is present  in Maharashtra because 

  • Political parties like Shiv Sena, MNS use this as political tool .
  • Competition between migrants and nativists is for middle class jobs.
  • If national party is weak, the native political parties become more assertive.

Various Regional Aspirations

Demand of Dravida Nadu (Supranational Regionalism)

  • It’s genesis lies in Self Respect Movement of  Tamil Nadu started in  1925 .
  • Later it stood against imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi  areas.
  • Demand of  Dravida Nadu in 1960s made it a secessionist movement.

Gorkhaland

  • Gorkhas are demanding separate state of Gorkhaland by seceding from West Bengal .
  • Reason
    • Gurkhas speak Nepali while West Bengal Government of Mamata Banerjee tried to impose Bengali on them by making it compulsory in schools.
    • Region is under-developed  compared to other parts of West Bengal.

Khalistan Movement

  • It was during the era of 1980s that Khalistan movement with its aim to create a Sikh homeland, often called Khalistan, cropped up in the Punjab . In fact this demand has also the colours of communalism, as there demand is only for Sikhs.

Shiv Sena and MNS Targeting North Indians

  • Shiv Sena & MNS in Mumbai frequently attack North Indians.
Regionalism

Impact of Regionalism in India

Positive Impact

  • It can lead to inter-group solidarity in a particular region. People belonging to a region may feel the need to come together to protect their vested interests, setting aside their differences. Eg : Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council that was formed in 1985 has served to protect an otherwise endangered tribal identity in the state.
  • Due to regionalism, most important basis for the formation of identity was language. Hence, it has kept communalism and formation of political identity based on religion in check .
  • Given the increasing uncertainty in the contemporary globalised world, regionalism has become a source of identity among people.
  • Regionalism has helped in promoting democracy in India. Regional parties like Shiv Sena, DMK, Akali Dal etc. fight to capture power via democracy .
  • It may induce competition among people of a region and propel them to do better to improve the status of their region. Eg. Competitive federalism in India .

Negative Impact

  • Regionalism at times transforms into secessionism .
  • Son of Soil Policy impacts Fundamental rights of Citizens like right to life or right to carry out any profession .
  • It can cause great damage to private and public property
  • Regionalism creates sub national feelings in the people . Eg : Naga Nationalism or Punjabi Nationalism vs. Indian nationalism.
  • Development plans can be implemented unevenly, in order to curb regionalist and secessionist demands.
  • Regionalism, also becomes hurdle in the international diplomacy . Eg : Tamil Parties impact diplomacy with Srilanka & Trinamool Congress with Bangladesh (like in Teesta Water dispute) .

Ways to Combat Regionalism

  • Making India truly federal in word and spirit.
  • Doing away with regional imbalances . 
  • Not imposing single culture on whole nation . Eg : imposing Hindi in whole nation will face backlashes from Non-Hindi speaking states . 
  • Three language formula as suggested by Sarkaria Commission should be strictly implemented.
  • Encouraging ‘People to People’  contact and making people aware of other cultures using TV & Radio.
  • Taking steps to end  the prejudices of Cow Belt against North Easterners & South Indians .

Federalism to Combat Regionalism

  1. Other countries with ethnic and linguistic diversities are facing many problems like secessionist movements as they weren’t able to accommodate regional aspirations 
    • Nepal was recently facing Madhesi Agitation 
    • Pakistan is facing Baluchi & Sindhi movements
    • Sri Lanka has experienced Tamil civil war 
    • Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia 
    • Yugoslavia broke due to various sub nationalisms at play .
  2. But India inspite of such a huge diversity of cultures is still united  .  Reason for this is federalism and devolution of power which gives sense of meeting regional aspirations by various groups.
  3. Indian federalism provides democratic ways to meet local aspirations of people
    • Sovereignty is constitutionally shared. States enjoy significant power  . People feel that they are governed by their own people . Cooperative  and Competitive Federalism is the new watchword in India.
    • 73rd and 74th Amendment  which has led to formation of Panchayati Raj and Urban Local Bodies.
    • Regions under 5th and 6th Schedule enjoy certain autonomy  .
    • Article 371 has special provisions helpful in addressing concerns of some states.

Other factors why India hasn’t faced Regionalism 

  1.  Linguistic reorganization of states
    • Unlike our neighbours, India recognized early that language is the reason behind regionalism & opted for linguistic reorganization of the states in 1956. And by 1966 all major language speakers have states of their own. This led to regionalism problem getting subdued in India.
  2. Economically most backward regions are politically most powerful.
    • India has a peculiar situation  unlike other countries =>  UP is one of the most backward state in India but they decide who will make Government at Union . Hence, they cant complain of political apathy & discrimination  .
  3. Economic interdependence between different regions has necessitated the need for migration to different cities and states, thereby reducing loyalties towards a particular region.
  4. Wave of globalization : Under the wave of globalization, India is becoming homogenous . Regionalism has been subsumed by Globalisation.

Previous year UPSC questions on Regionalism

  1. Growing feeling of regionalism is an important factor in generation of demand for a separate state. Discuss.
  2. What is the basis of regionalism? Is it that unequal distribution of benefits of development on regional basis eventually promotes regionalism? Substantiate your answer.

Secularism

Secularism

This article deals with Secularism’ . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.

What is Secularism ?

  • Secularism is defined as the principle of separation of state from religious institutions and religious dignitaries .
  • But nature and extent of separation may take different forms depending upon different values it intends to promote.

Three models of Secularism

Secularism

1 . US Model

  • US Model is of the view that , religion is private affair of person and state passively respects all religions .
  • In this model , ‘ARM LENGTH DISTANCE‘ is maintained between state and religion

2. French Model

  • It is also known as Laicite / Militant Secularism .
  • In France, due to long battle against religious influence on laws and government, Laicite was introduced. 
  • There is total separation between religion and state (i.e. religious activities and symbols are banned in public sphere). 
  • But , French secularism has come under criticism that rather than promoting diversity, freedom of thought and multi-culturism , it is interfering with the basic right to religious self expression . Recently, this model came in controversy due to backlash by Islamists against Charlie Hebdo’s publication of objectionable cartoons of Prophet Mohammad and denial of French government to condemn such acts.

3. Indian Model

  • The Indian idea and practice of secularism although was inspired by western ideas yet it is rooted in India’s unique socio-historic circumstances like religious diversity and support for all religions .
  • Features of Indian secularism are as follows
    • Wall of separation between state and religion is porous i.e. state can intervene in religion to promote progressive voices within every religion . Eg : Abolition of untouchability (among Hindus) and Abolition of Triple Talaq (among Muslims) .
    • However, religion is strictly prohibited to interfere in state matters hence disallowing mobilisation of electoral support on religious lines  .

In the context of India, it is sometimes argued that the concept of secularism has been imported from the west. But it is clear from the above differences that in the west, strict church and state separation is the main area of focus; while in India peaceful co-existence is the focus.

Provisions regarding Secularism in India

  1. The Preamble of India states that India is a secular country .
  2. Articles 25 to 28 : Deals with freedom of religion to all. 
    1. Article 25: guarantees freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
    2. Article 26: every religious denomination has the freedom to manage its religious affairs.
    3. Article 27: Freedom from payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion.
    4. Article 28: Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions.
  3. Articles 14 (Equality before law and equal protection of law) , Article 29 (Protection of distinct language, script or culture of minorities ), Article 44 (Uniform Civil Code) and 51A, by implication prohibit the establishment of a theocratic state.
  4. Judicial pronouncements regarding secularism
    1. In the Kesavananda Bharati case, the Supreme Court had declared secularism as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
    2. Rev Stanislau vs. State of MP held that forcible conversions is not included in right to propagate religion as it may disturb public order.
    3. In the Church of God (Full Gospel) in India vs K. K. R. Majestic Colony Welfare Association (2000) , it was held that as the right to religion is subject to public order, no prayers  should be performed by disturbing the peace of others .
    4. Ismail Farooqui vs Union of India (1994) : Supreme Court held that “the concept of secularism is one facet of the right to equality .
    5. Doctrine of Essential Practices pronounced by Supreme Court .
  5. Section 123(3) of Representation of Peoples Act 1951  prohibits political parties to ask for votes on religious lines .

Challenges to Secularism

  • Frequent recourse to revivalist events such as Ghar Wapsi etc. breeds fear amongst the minorities  .
  • Incidents of lynching especially of Muslims in the name of cow vigilantism .
  • Charges of ‘Love Jihad‘ by far right Hindutva groups in case of inter-religion marriages. BJP ruled states like UP and MP are bringing laws against so called Love Jihad .
  • Communal Riots and Targeted Violence .
  • Religious hate speech,  falsification of history and dissemination of wrong information .
  • International events such as rise of ISIS (Daesh), instigation by foreign agencies such as ISI etc.

Previous year UPSC questions on Secularism

  • How do the Indian debates on secularism differ from the debates in the West?

Communalism

Communalism

This article deals with Communalism’ . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.

Definition

Communalism can be defined as allegiance to ones own  ethnic/religious group  rather than  to wider society . It is exclusive in outlook, a communalist considers his own religion to be superior to other religions.

Stages of Communalism

Communalism is manifested at three levels

Mild When people belonging to same community believe that they have same secular interest .
Moderate When people belonging to different communities believe that they have different secular interests .
Extreme When people believe that they not only have different interests but mutually antagonistic and hostile interests (i.e. one community can prosper only at the cost of other community).

Note : Communalism is an ideological tool often used by upper class to mobilise people to achieve their own political goals .

6 types of Communalism

Often there is perception in the society that communalism is threat to national security . But , it is not a threat to national security per se . It depends upon type of communalism we are looking at.

According to Sociologists, there are 6 types of Communalism .

Assimilationist 
Secessionist 
Types of 
Communalism 
civi sp 
Separatist 
a.com 
Welfarist 
Retreatist 
Retaliatory
Assimilationist When large religious community tries to bring into it’s fold small communities. 
Eg : Hindu organisation projecting Tribals as Hindus .
Welfarist When religious community makes effort for welfare of the members of that community .
Eg : Christian organisations doing welfare work for Christians .
Retreatist When the religious community forbid their members from participating in political affairs .
Eg : Bahi Community  .
Retaliatory When members of the religious communities are made to believe that their interests are mutually antagonist to interests of other religious communities .
Eg : Hindu-Muslim community .
Separatist When based on religious identities , people demand a separate state within the federal framework .
Eg : Punjabi Suba Movement by Punjabi Sikhs.
Secessionist When based on religious identities , people demand secession .
Eg : Khalistan Movement.

Last three are threat to national integration but first three aren’t . Hence, we cant say communalism is always threat to national integration.

Characteristics of Communalism

  • Communalism is an ideological concept. 
  • It is total commitment to a set of beliefs & unwillingness to accept other beliefs .
  • It mostly rests on prejudices . 
  • It close the self and is highly emotional .
  • It causes rivalry and violence among masses. 
  • It is used by the higher class people and elites as an instrument for division and exploitation.
  • It strikes at the roots of secularism and national integration.

Evolution of Communalism in India

The genesis of  communalism in India can be traced back to the British rule

  • With the emergence of secular education,  new educated middle class emerged . But the aspirations  of the middle class were not getting satisfied in the absence of adequate economic opportunities. Communal Politics emerged to get largest pie for their community .
  • In India, Socio-economic classes coincided with religious distinctions. Eg :
    1. Hindu Zamindars vs Muslim peasants in Bengal, Kerala etc .
    2. Hindu Banias vs Muslim (Jatt) Peasants in Punjab.
  • Divide and Rule Policy of Britishers : To counter the growing national movement .

However, the overthrow of colonial state was only the necessary condition to fight the menace of communalism but not sufficient condition . There were other forces at play too. Even in post-independence period , Government failed to control communalism. Even post-independence, communalism persisted and has been the biggest threat to the secular fabric of our nation . As a result, following communal violence outbreaks happened in India :-

  1. Anti-Sikh riots of 1984
  2. Mass killing and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley (1989)
  3. Riots after Babri Masjid demolition (1992)
  4. Godhra riots of 2002
  5. Assam violence between Bodos and Bengali speaking Muslims (2012)
  6. Muzzafarnagar riots (2013)
  7. Delhi riots (2020)

Causes of Communalism

Failing of Minorities to integrate in Mainstream

  • Muslims failed to intermix in the national mainstream and insist to sustain separate identity.

Vote Bank Politics

  • Various religion base parties use Communalism to consolidate their vote banks .

Communal way of History writing

  • British historians like James Mill described ancient period  as the Hindu period and  medieval period as the Muslim period .

Economic Causes

  • If certain religious community is economically weak , it leads to feeling of relative deprivation and leads to rise of communalism .

Absence of Uniform Civil Code

  • In absence of Uniform civil code, there is  perception that all communities have divergent and contradictory interests. 

Psychological factors

  • Hindu groups consider that the Muslims are crusaders , fundamentalists and unpatriotic.
  • On the other hand, the Muslims believe that they are  treated as inferior in India . 

Politics of Appeasement

  • Political parties try to appease communities for votes. Eg : Shah Bano Case . This promote Communalism .

Provocation of Enemy Countries

  • Eg : Pakistan foster Communal feelings especially in Kashmiri Muslim Youth .

Social factors

  •  Issues like beef consumption, Hindi/Urdu imposition, conversion efforts by groups etc., further created a wedge between the Hindus and Muslims.

Present issues related to Communalism

Love Jihad

  • Ultra Right Hindu outfits allege that organised conspiracy is going on under which Muslim males marry Hindu females with sole purpose to convert them into islam.
  • Although term ‘love jihad’ has no legal basis but states like UP, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are planning to make law against ‘love jihad’.

Problems in State Machinery to fight Communalism

  • National human rights commission (NHRC)  fights for  communal violence related causes . But it’s recommendations are advisory in nature .
  • Various commissions have given suggestions to  solve the issue of communal violence. Prominent among them are SACHAR COMMITTEE  and RANGANATH MISHRA COMMISSION.
    • Sachar committee (2010) : Recommended to set up Equal opportunity commission (EOC) . 
    • Ranganath Misra Commission : Recommended reservation for minorities  .
  • There is not any special act to deal with communal violence and targeted violence. It was also held in Sajjan Kumar vs State (2018) .
  • Role of police in communal riots is highly controversial. This is further aggravated by large scale concentration of dominant caste in police .

Impact of Communalism

On Politics Organisation of political parties on communal basis .
– Voting in elections also happens on communal basis .
– Large scale riots  near elections to polarise votes .  
On Society It has created wide rift among the people .
Hampers unity of nation and creates various sub-national feelings  .
Curbing of Progressive voices . Eg Voices for abolition of Triple Talaq is being opposed .   
On Economy – Vandalisation of public property like burning of buses, trains etc.
Badly impacts the investors confidence .

Ways to eradicate Communalism

  1. Building solidarity and assimilation of various religious groups by fostering a secular culture eg. celebrating each other’s religious festivals.
  2. Swift and prompt response to radicalisation by a militant group on social media through police action and psychological counselling.
  3. Ensuring that political parties refrain from using religion in order to h votes through strict vigilance  by institutional mechanisms such as the Election Commission .
  4. Stern law should be framed by the Parliament against communal violence.
  5. CBI or a special investigative body should investigate communal riots within a stipulated time frame. Further, special courts should hear such cases for quick delivery of justice to victims.
  6. Pluralistic settlement where members of different communities live should be encouraged by removing existing barriers as religious segregation strengthens communal identities and reinforces negative stereotypes of other religious groups.
  7. Government should not ban minority practices in order to appease the majority group. E.g. the state should not show a preference for vegetarianism.
  8. Uniform Civil Code should be formulated and implemented with the consensus of all religious communities so that there is uniformity in personal laws.
  9. Equal Opportunities commission  should be formed .
  10. State should show zero Tolerance toward riots . 
  11. Promote Indian ideology of Vasudeva Kutumbakam i.e. whole world is a family .

Previous year UPSC questions on Communalism

  • Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and communalism giving one example of how the former has got transformed into the latter in independent India.

Safety of Women at Workplace

Safety of Women at Workplace

This article deals with topic titled ‘Safety of Women at Workplace.’

 

Note – This article is part of our series on Society for UPSC examination. For more articles, click here.

 

According to NSSO Data, Women’s workforce participation has decreased to 21%  ( one of the lowest in the world ) .

 

 

Initiatives taken so far

      • Vishakha Guidelines by  Supreme Court in 1997

 

      • Protection of Woman from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act  based on  Vishaka Judgement

 

    • She Box Portal to enable woman employees  to file harassment complaints at workplace

 

 

 

 

 

Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2012

Features
      • It  defines sexual  harassment  as laid down by SC in Vishaka  case.

 

      • It puts the legal responsibility on the employer to provide a safe & conducive environment for the woman  worker.

 

      • Formation of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) or, in case of unorganised sector , formation of 5 member Local Complaint Committee under the supervision of District Collector.

 

      • Those who  donot  comply  with the Act’s provisions will be fined up to Rs 50,000.

 

Limitations
      • 2015 study : 36% of Indian companies have not constituted ICC

 

      • Non inclusion of the armed forces and all paramilitary forces within its purview.

 

      • If a complaint is found to be “malicious” , she is liable for punishment. This will discourage victims

 

      • Limited time period of 90 days to file complaint

 

      • Provide security to only women and not men

 

      • Punishment   for misconduct is as per the service rules of the employer ( if it exists), else as per the rules of the act. The Act is, however, silent on the situation where employers’ service rule contains less stringent punishment provisions.

 

 

 

 

 

Current Cases

Oct 2018 #MeToo Campaign : Large number of women came forward to share their old experience of harassment at workplace by men in power

 

 

 

Dowry issue in India

Dowry issue in India

This article deals with ‘ Dowry issue in India .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .

Introduction

  • Dowry is the  payment in cash or  kind to a bridegroom’s family at marriage
  • Dowry Death  = When young women are murdered or driven to suicide by continuous harassment and torture by husbands and in-laws in an effort to extort an increased dowry.

Reasons

  • Dowry as part of Indian culture : Exclusion of women from workforce especially those belonging to higher caste necessitate this .
  • Increasing   consumerism : people see dowry as avenue to fulfil their  impossible dreams.
  • For some people, paying dowry at their daughter’s marriage is an investment  for  fetching high  dowry through  their son’s  marriage.

New Trend : Earlier only upper castes indulged in dowry but now lower castes are imitating higher castes in this. This is process of Sanskritisation at play .

Effects of Dowry System

  • Domestic Violence : women are at the receiving end who are harassed & tortured .
  • Imbalance in sex ratio: due to this, daughters are seen as financial burden leading to female infanticide & foeticide .
  • Against Constitutional spirit of Equality and Justice as it leads to violation of Fundamental Rights of women and their parents .
  • It negatively impacts children‘s personality .
  • It is detrimental for Indian image at global level and also goes against Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ratified by India  .

Provisions to prohibit  dowry

Dowry issues in India

1 . Dowry prohibition Act , 1961

  • Under the act, asking & giving dowry has been made punishable by 6 months , or a fine .
  • Issue with the Act :  “Dowry” is defined as a gift demanded or given as a condition for marriage. Gifts given without condition are not considered dowry, and are legal.

2. Section 304 B of IPC

  • Section 304 B deals with dowry death related cases.
  • It has provision of imprisonment of 7 years to life term.

3. Section 498 A of IPC

  • Dowry related cases are non bailable and non compoundable.

4. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act , 2005

5. Conventions

  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is against it.

Side Topic : Issues with Dowry related provisions of IPC

1 . Section 406 of IPC 

  • Section doesn’t clearly demarcates boundary between dowry & Streedhan. This has been misused in demanding dowry. (according to Justice Malimath Committee)  .

2. Section 498 A of IPC is problematic

Problems

  • Husband or his family members are presumed to be guilty till they prove their innocence  => this provision is misused by the women .
  • Dowry related cases are non-compoundable (cant compromise while case is going) and non-bailable . According to Justice Malimath Committee , it kills any effort of conciliation .

July 2017 Judgement : Rajesh Sharma v State of UP 

  • Supreme Court accepted that Section 498A of the IPC is misused  .
  • As safeguard, Supreme Court ordered that : –
    • Set up of 3 membered ‘family welfare committees’ in all districts.  Every complaint will be looked into by Committee within month & no arrest can be made till that time .  
    • Automatic assumption of guilt has been seen as a problem .
  • Supreme Court in the case however has stated that the aforesaid directions do not apply to cases in which the wife has suffered tangible physical injuries or death.

How to end dowry ?

  • Attitudinal Change   : Government should use peer pressure  to bring attitudinal change in the society.
  • Amend Section 406 and 498A of IPC  as suggested by Malimath Committee.
  • Government should enforce the laws strictly.
  • Dowry related cases should be fast tracked in the courts. 
  • Government should promote “Adarsh Marriage” & ” Mass Marriage”.

Initiatives for Women

Initiatives for Women

This article deals with ‘Initiatives for Women.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .

Initiatives for Women
Initiatives for Women

Constitutional measures

  • Right to Equality under Article 14 .
  • Article 16 : Equality of opportunities in matter of public appointments for all citizens.
  • Article 23 : Bans trafficking in human and forced labour .
  • Equal pay for equal work under Article 39(d) (DPSP) 
  • Article 42 : Maternity Leave .
  • Article 44 : state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for its citizens, throughout the territory of India.
  • Article 51(A)(e) : Renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Fundamental Duty) .
  • Article 300 (A : Right of property to women .
  • 73rd & 74th Amendment Act 1992 : Reservation of 1/3rd of seats in local bodies of panchayats and municipalities for women. 

Judgements

  • Vishakha Judgement : Supreme Court gave detailed guidelines regarding women at workplace known as Vishakha guidelines.
  • Shyara Bano case : Triple Talaq was declared unconstitutional  by the Supreme Court .
  • Laxmi vs Union of India : Supreme Court recommended following to contain incidents of Acid Attacks :-
    • Don’t sell acid to person under 18.
    • Sell acid only if they show identity proof and purpose of purchase .
    • Record the sale details and submit them to police.
    • Sell only non-harmful form of acid.

Statutory Provisions

1 . Special Marriage Act , 1954

  • It has been amended to fix the minimum age of marriage at 21 years for males & 18 years for females .

2. Hindu Succession Act 1956

  • Equal share to daughter in father’s property , while a widow has the right to inherit husband’s property.
  • An amendment in this Act in 2005 enabled daughters to have equal share in ancestral properties.

3. Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956

  • It prohibits traffic in women and girls for the purposes of prostitution.

4. Dowry Prohibition Act,1961

  • Act makes dowry demands in wedding arrangements is illegal.

5. Indecent   Representation   of   Women (Prohibition)  Act,   1987

  • Act prohibits indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings etc.

6. Sati (Prevention) Act , 1987

  • The practice of Sati which was first abolished in 1829, was revised and made illegal in 1987.
  • It provided for a more effective prevention of the commission of sati and its glorification and for matters connected therewith.

7. National Commission for Women (NCW) Act, 1990

  • The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 .

8. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

  • It seeks to determine domestic violence in all forms against women & make it a punishable offence.

9. Sexual Harassment At Workplace Act

  • Based on Vishakha guidelines .
  • It has provision of formation of ‘Internal Complaints Committee’ (ICC) to deal with cases of Sexual Harassment at workplace .

10. Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

  • It increased women’s maternity leave entitlements from 12 to 26 weeks .

11. Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 

12. Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 2003.

13. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013

  • In the backdrop of Nirbhaya gang rape, this Act was passed amending the CrPC. The new law has provisions for increased sentence for rape convicts, including life-term and death sentence, besides providing for stringent punishment for offences such as acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism.

14. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971

  • The act provides certain grounds on which abortion is allowed including foetal abnormalities, physical and mental injury to the mother and failure of contraceptive methods.
  • But there are some issues with present act. These include
    1. Denial of Reproductive rights to Unmarried women: It does not contain provisions for unmarried women seeking abortion in case of contraceptive failure.
    2. Upper limit of 20 weeks: Under the act, termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks needs approval of the court. This is problematic since a number of foetal abnormalities are detected after 20 weeks .
  • Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 has been introduced to address above issues. Amendments include
    1. Enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for termination of pregnancy.
    2. Relaxing the contraceptive-failure condition for “any woman or her partner” (including unmarried women)

Conventions

1 . Convention on Elimination  of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

  • India ratified CEDAW in 1993.

2. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) (1995)

  • It was adopted on Fourth World Conference on Women which was held in Beijing.
  • It sets  objectives and actions for advancement of women and achievement of gender equality in 12 critical areas of concern like (1) Women and the environment, (2) Women in power and decision-making, (3)  girl child, (4) Women and the economy, (5) Women and poverty, (6) Violence against women, (7) Human rights of women, (8)Education and training of women, (9) Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, (10) Women and health, (11) Women and the media and (12)Women and armed conflict .
  • After signing the Beijing Declaration, India setup Nodal Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD), National Commission for Women, passed progressive legislations etc.

Government’s Schemes  to empower Women

1 . Health related Schemes

1.1 PM Suraksheet Matritva Yojana (PM SMY) 

  • Ante – Natal (before birth) checkup for pregnant women on 9th of every month by specialist  .
  • Started in 2016 .

1.2 Janani Suraksha Yojana 

  • To promote Institutional delivery of the pregnant women .
  • Started in 2005 .

1.3 PM Matru Vandana Yojana 

  • ₹ 6,000 to be given to all mothers .
  • To be given in Instalments (6th Month pregnancy || 3 months after birth || 6 months after birth)
  • Applicable for  first  two  children .

1.4 Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

  • Safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel ( LPG ) .

1.5 To Combat Diseases among Pregnant Women & infants

  • Anaemia : Anaemia is the major problem in Pregnant women.  Iron Folic Acid supplements are given to women to deal with this issue.
  • Diarrhoea : Large number of infants die because of this . ORS and Zinc Tablets are given to women to deal with this issue. 

Side Topic : Menstrual Hygiene  Schemes

  • Only 12% of menstruating women in India use sanitary napkins
  • 23% of rural girls  drop out of school when they start menstruating. Dropping out  encourages early child marriage and makes them lose the opportunity to be in  workforce.
  • To deal with this, government has started following menstrual hygiene schemes :-
Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan Started by Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD).
Under one component of the Scheme , sanitary pads are provided to girls in schools .
Suvidha Started by Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.
It aims to provide 100% biodegradable sanitary napkin .
Project Stree Swabhiman Started by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY).

2. Financial Security

2.1 Stand up India

  • Loan of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore is provided woman without collateral  for setting up a new enterprise .

2.2 Swa-Shakti

  • This project aims at establishment of more than 16000 SHGs(Self Help Groups) having 15 – 20 women members each & thereby enhance women’s access to and control over resources for betterment of their lives.

2.3 Rashtriya Mahila Kosh

  • It provide funds to  poor women  .

2.4 Mahila E-Haat

  • Web based initiative which provides access to woman entrepreneurs  to global markets .

2.5 Sukanya Samridhi Yojana

  • Small savings scheme for girl child

Side Note : Some women entrepreneurs to be quoted as example

  • Kiran Mazumdar : Biocon Limited (world’s leading Biotech company)
  • Rajni Bector : Cremica & Mrs Bector (Phillaur (Punjab) based company which is the largest food confectionary company of India) 

3. Other schemes

3.1 PM Mahila Shakti Kendra

  • These will be set-up at village level in all Anganwadi Centres. 
  • It will Empower women through training and capacity building .

3.2 Sakhi- one stop centre scheme

  • It provide  support ( rescue , medical and legal, psychological support ) to women affected by  Domestic Violence .

3.3 Working Women Hostel

  • To provide safe and conveniently located accommodation for working women, with day care facility for their children, in urban, semi urban, or even rural areas where employment opportunity for women exist .

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana

  • Objectives of the scheme
    1. Prevent female foeticide &  infanticide.
    2. Ensure every girl child is educated .
  • Funding Pattern : It is 100 % funded by the Centre .
  • Salient features of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana
    • Task Force  has been setup under the District Collector .
    • It ensures strict implementation of PCPNDT Act .
    • It also ensures strict implementation of POCSO Act  (POCSO= Protection of children from sexual offences).
    • Small Saving Scheme under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao known as Sukanya Samridhi Yojana has been started.

Inspite of these schemes, position of women is not that good

  • Global Gender Gap Report  2018 (by World Economic Forum) : India  is ranked 108 .
  • As per census 2011 , sex ratio for India is 940 females per 1000 of males .
  • According to  Lancet, nearly 10 million female abortions have taken place in India in the last 20 years.
  • Female literacy levels according to the Literacy Rate 2011 census are 65.46% where the male literacy rate is over 80%.
  • Woman Labour Force Participation is low (at 27%).
  • On an average,  66% of women’s work in India is unpaid, compared to 12% of men’s.
  • Global Wage Report points toward fact that Indian Woman are paid 30% lesser than males for same job .

What more should be done ?

Reproductive Health 

  • There is need to shift focus from female sterilisation to male sterilisation.

Education

  • Mission mode approach for literacy among women  should be adopted.

Economy

  • Recognizing women’s unpaid work should be utmost priority.
  • Need to grant Rights of women to immovable property.

Governance and Decision Making

  • Number of women legislatures should be improved

Environment and Climate Change

  • Climate change will impact Women the most as
    • Higher temperatures will increase their labour in food processing & collection of potable water
    • Global warming will lead to low food => it will  affect females more than males due to unequal intra-household food allocations .

Other aspects

  • Programs should place women at centre stage.
  • Need to recognize special needs of single women including widows, separated, divorced and deserted.

Economic Survey Topic : Development as antidote to female issues

  • Development  is an antidote’ to problems faced by women in India  due to Convergence Effect ( i.e. when development happens , all socio-economic indicators improve) .
  • In India , Convergence Effect is seen in all female problems except
    • Female Labour Participation
    • Son Meta Preference (Sex Ratio of Last Child)
Development as antidote to female issues

(Note : Comparison is made  when other countries were at same wealth level )

Reason for above observation : Cultural Lag

  • Whenever development happens
    • If it is impacting peripheral values ,  changes will be accepted .
    • But when it is impacting any core value, it faces backlash and is not accepted easily.
  • For changing core values, demand for change should come from within the society .
  • Hence, development is necessary for social change but it is not a sufficient condition. 

Women Organizations and Movements

Women Organizations and Movements

This article deals with  Women Organizations and Movements ’ . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.

Introduction

  • Unlike the women’s movement in the West, the Indian women’s movement began in the shadow of colonial rule and the commitment to attain freedom from colonial rule. Thus , the Indian women’s movement transcended the limited gender framework unlike the women’s liberation struggles in the other parts of the world, especially in the West where the principal purpose was to address the relationship between women and men in the private and public spheres. Questions of independence and freedom from the colonial power were inextricably linked with the consciousness of the Indian women’s movement
  • Since the late 19th century Indian society, witnessed an active feminist movement. The early attempts at reforming the conditions under which Indian women lived were mainly carried out by western educated middle and high class men. Soon they were joined by the women of their families. These women along with the men began organized movements fighting against the oppressive social practices such as female infanticide, sati, child marriage, laws prohibiting widow remarriage, etc.
  • After Independence, many of the bourgeois women within the liberal section advocated for representation . During late 1960s and early 1970s , India witnessed the resurgence of women’s movement, mainly due to the repercussion of the problems that cropped up at the national front (such as price rise) and the women’s active mobilizations at the international front.

Pre-Independence Movements

Women’s Organizations Started by Men

1 . Brahmo Samaj

  • Founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in 1825 & attempted to abolish restrictions and prejudices against women, which included sati, child marriage, polygamy, limited rights to inherit property etc.
  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy played an important role in getting Sati abolished .

2. Prarthana Samaj

  • Founded by MG Ranade & RG Bhandarker in 1867.
  • Its objectives were more or less similar to that of Brahmo Samaj but remained confined to western India.

3. Arya Samaj

  • Founded by Dayanand Saraswati in 1875.
  • Unlike the above two, it was a religious revivalist movement , revitalising the ancient Hindu traditions. It advocated reforms in the caste system, compulsory education for men and women, prohibition of child marriage by law, remarriage of child widows.

While the men wanted the women to be educated and take part in public activities, but at the same time they regarded the home as the primary focus for women. Gender equality was never an agenda for any of the movements mentioned above. They had a very limited perspective of changing the position of women within the family .

Women’s Organization Started by Women

By the end of the nineteenth century, a few women emerged from within the reformed families who formed organizations of their own.

1 . Swarnakumari Devi

  • She was the daughter of Devendranath Tagore, a Brahmo leader, and sister of the poet Rabindranath Tagore, who formed the Ladies Society in Calcutta in 1882 for educating and imparting skills to widows and other poor women to make them economically self-reliant.
  • She edited a women journal named Bharati.

2 . Ramabai Saraswati

  • She formed the Arya Mahila Samaj in Pune in 1882 and Sharda Sadan in Bombay after few years.

Women in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras and other smaller cities formed associations whose members were drawn from among a small group of urban educated families. They were useful in bringing women out of their homes, giving them an opportunity to meet other women, doing philanthropic work, encouraging them to take an interest in public affairs and thus broadening their horizon.

National Women’s Organizations

  • The early women’s organizations were been confined to a particular locality or city. In 1910, Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, daughter of Swarnakumari Devi formed the Bharat Stree Mandal  with the object of bringing together “women of all castes, creeds, classes and parties… on the basis of their common interest in the moral and material progress of the women of India.” Branches were started in different cities such as Lahore, Amritsar, Allahabad, Hyderabad, Delhi, Karachi and other cities.
  • The early 20th century saw the growth of women’s organisations at a national and local level. The Women’s India Association (WIA) (1917), All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) (1926) and National Council for Women in India (NCWI) (1925) were the prominent ones.

National Freedom Movement

  • Gandhian Movement : Women had been associated with the freedom struggle before arrival of Gandhi as well. They had attended sessions of the Indian National Congress and taken part in the Swadeshi movement in Bengal. But the involvement of really large number began when Gandhiji launched the Non Cooperation Movement and gave a special role to women.
  • Revolutionary Movements : While thousands of women joined freedom movement in response to Gandhi’s call, there were others who could not accept his creed of nonviolence and joined revolutionary or terrorist groups. Their hatred of the British was intense and their plan was to make attempts on European lives as widely as possible. 
  • Agrarian Movements : Women participated along with men in struggles and revolts in the colonial period. The Tebhaga movement originating in tribal and rural areas in Bengal, the Telangana arms struggle from the erstwhile Nizam’s rule, and the Warli Tribal Revolt are some of the examples.
  • Labour Movements : In 1917,  Anasuya Sarabhai had led the Ahmedabad textile workers’ strike and in 1920 under her leadership , the Ahmedabad textile mill workers union was established. By the late 1920s, the presence of women in the workers’ movement was noticeable. There were several prominent women unionists.

Post Independence Women’s Movements

During freedom movement, it was felt that with the nation’s Independence , many of the disabilities would disappear , and problems of women attributed to colonial rule. The national government undertook to remove the legal disabilities suffered by women and initiated major reforms in Hindu family laws. The legal reforms in the 1950s sought to provide greater rights to Hindu women in marriage, inheritance and guardianship. However, they failed to bridge the gap between legal and social realities. Similar changes in the family laws of other communities like Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews, have not yet come up due to political resistance despite the Directive Principle of State Policy clearly stating the need for uniform laws for all the communities.

Feminist Movements

Feminist activism in India gained momentum in the late 1970s.

  • Towards Equality Approach : United Nations declared 1975-85 as the International Decade of the Woman and organised the World Conference on Women in Mexico (1975). As a result, In India, the National Committee on the Status of Women had been set up to examine the status of women in the country and to investigate into the extent to which the constitutional and legal provisions had impacted on women’s status . The Committee came out with its findings in the form of a report, popularly known as the Towards Equality Report (1974) . The beginnings of the women’s movement in India, has often been traced back to this report. It showed that women far behind men in enjoying the equal rights conferred on them  by the constitution. This report led to change in ideology to ‘Women in Development’ rather than  ‘Women and Development’ .
  • New organisations such as Self-Employment Women’s Association (Gujarat), Working Women’s Forum (Tamil Nadu), Shramik Mahila Sangathna (Maharashtra) etc. concerned themselves with the plight of women workers in the unorganised sector. These organisations organised women labour and took up the issues of their wages, working conditions, exploitation and health hazards .
  • Mathura Rape Case : brought women’s groups together for first time. Reason was acquittal of policemen accused of raping a young girl in a police station leading to country-wide protests in 1979-1980 which forced Government to create a new offence of custodial rape.
  • Alcoholism (Anti Arak Movement)  : Alcoholism leads to violence against women . Women groups launched anti-liquor campaigns in Andhra , Himachal , Haryana, Odisha, MP etc .
  • Anti Dowry Movement : In the 1980s , several women’s and other progressive organisations formed a joint front in Delhi called “Dahej Virodhi Chetna Manch” and campaigned through protest, demonstrations, discussions, street theatre, posters etc.  After much deliberation, the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1984 was passed.
  • Deforestation and Ecological Movement : Women have direct contact with natural resources like fuel, food and fodder, forest, water and land especially in rural areas. Economic hardships faced by women in the Himalayan region due to cutting down of forests resulted in spontaneous mobilisation of women. They hugged the trees to prevent the contractors from felling them. This is popularly known as Chipko movement. It was just the beginning, which was followed by several other movements such as Green Belt movement in 1977 (planting trees), Appiko movement (hugging the trees) , Narmada Bachao Andolan etc. which saw significant participation of women at all levels.
  • Triple Talaq : Started in Shah Bano Case & culminated with Shyara Bano case in Supreme Court which has effectively banned the practice of Triple Talaq in Muslims.
  • Bhanwari Devi Gangrape Case (1992) : Bhanwari Devi was a Saathin in Rajasthan with job of raising consciousness in her village about child marriage, dowry etc. Her efforts wrt Child Marriage was resented by men of dominant caste and she was brutally gangraped . NGO named Vishakha filed Case in Supreme Court culminating in Vishakha Guidelines .

Self Help Groups (SHGs)

  • SHGs were key instruments in women’s empowerment .
  • 10-20 rural women from the same village , mostly poor , come together to contribute fortnightly or monthly dues as savings and provide group loans to the members .

Literary Movements

Journals devoted to promote women’s equality in various languages started to come up to raise women issues . These include

Feminist Network English Bombay
Ahalya Bengali Calcutta
Women’s Voice English Bangalore
Stree Sangarash Hindi Patna
Manushi Hindi Delhi

Present Movements

  • ‘Pinjra Tod’ : fighting against the discriminatory rules in colleges and university hostels against girls .
  • Temple Entry Movement : Women leaders like Trupati Desai (of Bhumata Brigade) raised voice for entry of women inside the sanctum sanctorum of Temples like  Shani Shignapur and Sabarimala etc.
  • #MeToo Movement :  MeToo Movement started in US and came to India where women named powerful men  who have sexually assaulted their colleagues at workplace. This movement showed  that Balance of Power at workplace is skewed in favour of perpetrators of sexual harassment.
Women Organizations and Movements

Caste System

Caste System

This article deals with Caste System’ . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.

What is Caste System ?

Caste is system of social stratification which trace it’s origin from Varna system . In this, persons special privileges and ineligibilities  are decided by birth and  can’t be transformed in persons lifetime.

Caste System

Origin of Caste System

The meaning of word VARNA means colour. There are difference among social thinkers about the origin of castes, though three theories about castes origins are quite famous.

  1. Racial theory
  2. Occupational theory of caste system
  3. Political theory of caste system

1 . Racial theory 

  • It is supported by Herbert Risley and G.S.Ghurye.
  • Risley in his book, The Peoples of India, stated that origin of castes is linked to Racialism. According to him,
    • Aryans came from Middle Asia & were divided into 3 Varnas (Brahman, kshatriya and Vaishya) .
    • They defeated natives with their better warfare capabilities and merged them in Varna system giving them Shudra status . The new system was called chaturvarna .
    • Additionally they invented endogamy rules to maintain their racial purity 
  • Ghurye also supported Risley and accepted that caste system in India is product of Aryans that originated in Ganga Yamuna Doab and then spread to other parts .

2 . Occupational theory 

  • Nesfield is the proponent of this theory .
  • He believed that occupation is the basis of origin of caste.
  • According to him, occupation and only occupation is the basis of origin of caste system. All castes are products of division of labour which by time became hereditary . Additionally, to support vocational efficiency they started to marry within the occupational group which consolidated caste system.
  • Critics of this theory believe that occupational groups are present in various societies then why caste system didn’t originate there.

3 . Political theory

  • Abbé Dubois is the supporter of this theory.
  • He believed that caste system is the product of Brahmanical mind . According to him , to maintain their supremacy for long period they invented caste system .
  • But critics don’t support this theory. According to critics Brahmans were neither the leader of army nor the class which deals in wealth so how did they established this system.

The most accepted theory for caste system is MULTIFACTORIAL THEORY which believes that origin of caste system is due to many factors.

Salient features of Caste System

The caste system in India is mainly associated with Hinduism and has governed the Hindu society for thousands of years.  Salient features of caste system includes

  1. Ascribed status
  2. Endogamy
  3. Heredity of occupations
  4. Commensal restrictions
  5. Jati panchayat
  6. Jajmani system
Ascribed status  In caste system, person’s status is decided on his birth only  which he can’t change in his life time.  
Endogamy Caste is endogamous group where each  member of caste is expected to marry within his or her own caste group.  
Heredity of occupation Member of particular caste can adopt the occupation associated with that caste.
Purity Pollution basis Hierarchy of caste is decided according to the degree of purity and pollution.  Pure caste is ranked at the top and impure is ranked at the bottom.  
Commensal restrictions Person belonging to lower caste are not allowed to dine with people belonging to higher castes .  
Jati panchayat Every caste has its own Jati panchayat which enforces marriage, occupational and dietary rules via provisions like social boycott.  
Jajmani system – Economic aspect of caste system is called Jajmani  System. 
Jajmani  system  denotes the exchange of  services and objects among different caste groups.
Those castes which take services from other castes are called JAJMANS and those which give services are called Praja or Kamin.  

Western thinker William Wisser studied  caste system with functional perspective and believed that Jajmani system ensures egalitarianism by way of  dependence of different caste on each other.

However, French thinker Louis Dumont believed it to be oppressive system. According to him,
Many castes take services only but not give services .
Many castes give services only but not take services .
Many a times the value of  exchanged services or objects are not equivalent.  

Above mentioned caste system remained in force till British arrival. With and after British arrival many changes were seen in Caste system due to following reasons :-

  1. Advent of Industrialisation .
  2. Urbanisation : With increasing migration, city life is becoming anonymous where caste identities of co-habitants is seldom known.
  3. Rise of new occupations
  4. Exoteric Education System .
  5. Impact of rule of law and constitution
  6. Dalit consciousness due to efforts of stalwarts like BR Ambedkar.
  7. Herbert Risley’s attempt to assign  rank in social hierarchy to castes : The colonialists conducted methodical and, intensive surveys and reports on the ‘customs and manners’ of various tribes and castes all over the country so as to govern them effectively.  The 1901 Census sought to collect information on the social hierarchy of caste . This kind of direct attempt to count caste and to officially record caste status changed the institution itself. Before this, caste identities had been much more fluid and less rigid.
  8. British Administration took keen interest for welfare of downtrodden like Government of India Act of 1935 which gave legal recognition to Scheduled Castes marked out for special treatment.
  9. Breakdown of Jajmani system: Jajmani system involved exchange of goods and services, with each jati contributing its share based on occupational specialty. However, it is dissipating due to traditional breakdown of occupation and industrialization. 

Where as above mentioned causes weakened the caste system, on the other hand there are 3 main reasons which provided lifeline to caste system

  1. Democracy
  2. Caste based reservation
  3. Caste organisations

There is saying that after independence , though caste is diminishing but Casteism is increasing. Andre Beitelle has said that democracy and reservation will provide lifeline to caste system for next 100 years. Recent times show a paradoxical situation – as on the one hand, caste system has weakened, on the other, caste-based identities have strengthened due to political mobilization.

Ill effects  of Caste System on Indian Society

  • Hindered national unity by dividing people on the basis of caste.
  • Resulted in the creation of a class of idlers .
  • Stood against democracy as democracy works in equality. 
  • It has led to lower status of women in the society .
  • Resulted in religious conversion: Shudras converted to Islam and Christianity to get out of exploitative system .
  • It led to introduction  of Untouchability .
  • Caste System acts against Meritocracy .

Some Benefits

  • Caste system started as natural division of labour and was useful in its original form.
  • It helped in accommodating multiple communities including invading tribes in the Indian society.
  • It has helped in passing knowledge and skills from one generation to the next   .
  • Through subsystems like Jajmani system, caste system kept our villages self-sufficient and made village community in the words of Charles Metcalfe to be ‘Little Republics‘ .

Ways to eradicate Caste

  • Improve Education  and ensure good quality education to all.
  • Promote Inter-caste Marriage  .
  • Economic Stability and Job producing economy  .
  • Eradicate Timeless Reservation: According to sociologists like Andre Beittle , Reservation has provided 100 years lease period to Caste System .
  • Strengthen Section 123 of RoPA , 1951: To prevent parties from invoking votes solely on caste grounds.

India has been a signatory to Convention for  Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969)   which places  country  in “anti-racism” camp .

Sanskritization

  • M.N.Srinivas gave the concept  of Sanskritization  after studying village Rampura (Mysore)  in his book Caste and Religion among the Coorgs of South India .
  • It denotes the process by which caste or tribes placed lower in the caste hierarchy seek upward mobility by emulating the rituals and practices of the upper or dominant castes.
  • The lower castes tend to do following things to get upward mobility and social prestige
    • Renunciation of polluted vocations.
    • Renunciation of non vegetarianism and acceptance of vegetarianism .
    • Renunciation of alcoholism .
  • According to Srinivas , following Sanskritization there is not any structural change in caste hierarchy but only positional change.

Issues with Sanskritization

  • It doesn’t lead to structural change but only positional change of some individuals.
  • It exaggerates the scope of ‘lower castes’ to move up the social ladder.  In a highly unequal society such as India there were and still are obstacles to  taking over of the customs of the higher castes by the lower.  
  • It leads to practices of secluding girls and women, adopting dowry practices  

De-Sanskritization

  • Due to the policy of positive discrimination (reservation in jobs and admission) adopted by the Indian government, now an increasing number of groups lay claim to backward status in state matters and a forward status in society. This trend is exactly opposite to Sanskritization , thus termed as De-Sanskritization.
  • The agitation of Gujjars in Rajasthan to claim the status of Scheduled Tribe and by Jats in north-western India to include them in backward caste list exemplifies this trend.

Side Topic : Dominant Castes

  • Concept given by M.N Srinivas holds that a caste is dominant when it is numerically higher than the other castes.
  • This can be seen as anomaly to Caste System .
  • Dominant caste may not be ritually highest but enjoy high status because of wealth, political power and numerical strength.
  • Examples include Jats in Haryana, Sikh Jatts in Punjab, Yadavs in UP & Bihar, Reddys in AP & Telangana etc . (mainly  agrarian communities) .
  • The power of the dominant caste is supported by a norm discouraging village from seeking justice from  court or police 
  • After Mandalisation of Politics, power of Dominant caste has increased very much.

Modern avatar of Caste

  • After Mandalization of politics , according to M.N. Srinivas  vertical hierarchical nature of caste has been replaced by horizontal arrangement of competing caste groups free from any stigma of purity & pollution  & this has been termed as the modern avatar of caste.
  • Elite substratum : Within backward caste , a class has been created which has taken the advantage of affirmative action and is now monopolising all new opportunities .
  • Caste system has become ‘invisible’ for the upper caste, urban middle and upper classes.  For the so called scheduled castes and tribes and the backward castes – the opposite has happened.  For them, caste has become all too visible, indeed their caste has tended to eclipse the other dimensions of their identities.  
  • Secular pattern of living has been emerging because of urbanisation  .
  • Trends for intercaste marriage: Due to economic and social necessities, inter-caste marriages on western lines are being performed at increased frequency .
  • New food habits: Due to frequent mixing of the people at meetings, conferences, seminars etc . , food habits have changed. People have started to eat at the same table, accept food prepared by low caste people etc.

Role of Caste in Politics (based on Rajni Kothari’s study)

Various phases in Dalit Movement in India are as follows :-

1 . Pre-Independence

  • These can be divided into two parts
    • Reformative : They never questioned the Caste System. All they wanted was  , discriminatory aspects of Caste System should be reformed . Eg : Harijan Movement of Gandhi .
    • Alternative : Create alternative socio-cultural system where there is no place for caste system . Eg : Religious Conversions etc.

2. Post Independence

2.1. 1950-60s

  • Congress was manipulating Dalits as vote bank but they were not given any leadership role. To challenge it ,
    • Republican party of India formed .
    • There was mass conversion of Dalits to Buddhism .
  • But Republican Party wasn’t able to sustain itself due to Marxist vs. Ambedkarite ideology . Ambedkarites were  in favour of gaining political power and use it for social upliftment of their community. But Marxist wanted to annihilate socio-political structure and create completely classless society.

2.2. 1970s

  • Dalit Panther Movement
    • It was inspired by ‘Black Panthers Movement of USA’ . 
    • It was aimed at generating awareness among people regarding the plight of the Dalits .
    • It was carried out by educated students and methodology included public debates, pamphlets , plays etc . Students of other sections of society apart from Dalits also participated in this.
    • They defined Dalits in holistic way consisting of  “all those who are exploited politically, economically and in the name of religion.”

2.3. 1980s

  • Rise of Bahujan Samaj Party
    • They were of the ideology that, ‘In democracy , majority should rule’ .
    • They wanted to take power out of the hands of elites especially Brahmins , Rajputs and Baniyas .

Salient features of Indian Society

Salient features of Indian Society

This article deals with Salient features of Indian Society’ . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.

What is Society ?

  • Society can be defined as network of social relationships due to interaction between it’s members .
  • There are 4 attributes of any society
    • Definite territory : there should be definite geographical territory .
    • Progeny : Source of membership through reproduction .
    • Composite Culture .
    • Independence : It can’t be sub entity of larger entity .
  • India is state with multiple societies / nations in it . Indian society is amalgamation of many societies
    • India is one state but multiple nations .
    • Sri Lanka is one state with two nations .
    • Japan is single state with single nation .
    • Korea is two states with one nation .
  • Change in society can be studied wrt following
    • Endogenous Changes : From within the system  like Buddhism, Jainism, Bhakti etc.
    • Exogenous Changes : From outside the system like  Islam, Christianity, British Rule , Globalisation etc .

Characteristics of Indian Society

  1. Multiethnic society : Indian society is multiethnic in nature due to co-existence of wide variety of racial groups.
  2. Multilingual society : Across the country, more than 1600 languages are spoken.
  3. Multi-class society : Indian society  is segmented into multiple classes. This division can be on the basis of birth as well as financial and social achievements .
  4. Patriarchal society : Indian society is largely a patriarchal society where men tend to enjoy greater status than women . However, some tribal societies are matriarchal as well.
  5. Unity in diversity : Various diversities exist in India . But beneath this diversity, there is fundamental unity  .
  6. Co-existence of traditionalism and modernity : Traditionalism is upholding  of core values. Whereas modernity refers to questioning the tradition and moving towards rational thinking, social and technological progress. Due to the spread of education, modern thinking among Indians has increased. However, the family life is still bound by traditional value and belief systems.
  7. Balance between Individualism and collectivism :  Individualism is an outlook that stresses human independence, self-reliance and liberty. Whereas collectivism is the practice of giving a group priority over each individual in it. 
  8. Blood and kinship ties : Blood relations and kinship ties enjoy a stronghold over other social relationships. 
  9. Caste System  is intrinsic part of Indian society.
  10. Joint Family : Since time immemorial, Indians prefer to live in Joint families.
  11. Marriage : Mostly monogamy is practiced , but at some places polygamy is also practiced .

Salient Features of Indian Society

Salient features of Indian Society

1 . Caste System

Refer separate Chapter – CLICK HERE.

2. Joint Family

  • A family in which
    • People live together with all family members up to 2nd generation,
    • Members  have no individual identity,
    • Decision making power lie exclusively with the eldest male member of the family .

is called a joint family.

  • Importance of Joint family is understood by the Indians since time immemorial.
  • What constitutes jointness in the family ?
    • Common residence
    • Commensality (inter dining)
    • Common ownership of property
    • Rights and obligations
    • Ritual bonds  : Periodic Propitiation of dead ancestors
    • Blood relations (filial (father-son) and fraternal (between siblings)) are more important than marriage (conjugal) relations .

Advantage of Joint Families

  • Provides Social insurance to the members .
  • Division of work: Workload either domestic or business is divided between the members.
  • Sharing resources with the cousins and sisters  minimize the expenses on children.
  • Development of feeling of camaraderie between cousins.
  • Social Security: weaker members of the family – such as the elders or children – are taken care off by  other members.
  • Joint Families are more disciplined because head of the big family becomes virtually its patriarch .
  • Women members can work too as grandparents and other members are there to look after children.
  • Agency of social control => members don’t indulge in antisocial activities .

Disadvantages of Joint Family

  • Creates parasites who love to feed on other’s income.
  • Low status of woman as blood relations are more important than conjugal relations .
  • Prostitution of personality : Children are forced not to show their real personality but behave according to expectations of others .
  • Joint families are ‘arena of contradiction and conflict.’
  • Agent of cultural reproduction : in Joint families, obsolete  values like patriarchy don’t change .
  • Joint families have high fertility rate as an extra child doesn’t become a financial liability .
  • It leads to encroachment on privacy as there is no privacy in Joint Family.

From Joint Families to Nuclear Families

But despite its many advantages , silent changes have been taking place => old joint family system have been disintegrating and  nuclear families are coming up .

Reasons

  • Migration : Post LPG Reforms, people are migrating towards cosmopolitans for jobs  .
  • Spread of female education : educated girl cant reconcile with husband’s mother &  force to set up independent establishment.
  • Disparity in the income of brothers – brother with decent income usually separates .
  • Influence of urbanization  : Various sociologists have revealed that the city life is more favourable to small nuclear families than to big joint families
  • Western value system : Individualistic values have been inculcated .

We are moving towards Functional Joint Family

  • Many Sociologists are of the view that we are not moving towards nuclear family but  Functional Joint Family .
  • According to sociologist IP Desai , Functional Joint family is  family where although the members of family are living separately,  individual gives importance to fulfilment of obligation towards kin especially parents.   
  • Although person lives in city but he keeps on sending money to parents .

3. Marriage Systems

Marriage is a relationship, which is socially approved and sanctioned by custom and law. It is also a set of cultural mechanisms which ensure the continuation of the family.

Marriage has a large variety of forms

1 . Polygamy vs Monogamy

Monogamy Monogamy restricts the individual to one spouse at a time. Man can have only one wife .
Woman can have only one husband.  
Polygamy Polygamy denotes marriage to more than one mate at one time .
It takes various forms
1. Polygyny : One husband with two or more wives .
2. Polyandry : One wife with two or more husbands . Usually where economic conditions are harsh, polyandry may be one response of society, as single male cannot support a wife and children.
Even where polygamy is permitted, in actual practice, monogamy is more widely prevalent.

2 . Patrilocal vs Matrilocal vs Neolocal

Patrilocal The family in which after marriage wife comes to reside in the family of her husband is known as patrilocal family.
Matrilocal The family in which after marriage husband comes to reside in the family of her wife is known as matrilocal family
Neolocal After marriage newly married couple establish a new family independent of their parents and settled at a new place.

3 . Endogamy vs Exogamy

Endogamy Endogamy requires an individual to marry within a culturally defined group . Eg: caste, religion etc.
Exogamy Exogamy requires the individual to marry outside of his/her own group.

In India, village exogamy is practiced in certain parts of north India. Village exogamy ensured that daughters were married into families from villages far away from home. This arrangement ensured smooth transition and adjustment of the bride into the affinal home without interference of her kinsmen. The geographical distance plus the unequal relationship in the patrilineal system ensured that married daughters did not get to see their parents too often.

4. Patriarchy

  • Patriarchy is social system in which woman is suppressed .
  • It is not a constant concept since the nature of subjugation of woman varies  .  Brahmanical Patriarchy, Tribal Patriarchy and Dalit Patriarchy  are different from each other.

Structures of Patriarchy

  • Family : first lessons of Patriarchy are learned in a family  .
  • Patriarchal construction of the Knowledge System ( media , education institution etc. .)
  • Symbolism
  • Religion : Patriarchy is legitimized by religion . Eg : Manu Smriti .
  • Caste System : Caste purity needs controlling the sexuality of woman  .

Question UPSC : How is patriarchy impacting the position of middle class working woman ?

  • Dual Burden /Second Shift : Due to patriarchy, working women are facing double exploitation because they are forced to do the household work even after job.
  • Glass Ceiling Effect : Not promoted to higher positions .
  • Workplace Violence including sexual violence .
  • Wage Gap : Women including paid lesser for same work .

5. Cultural Lag

  • Term Cultural Lag was coined  by famous sociologist W.F. Ogburn .
  • Every group has two type of values
    • Core Value
    • Peripheral Values
  • According to the concept of Cultural Lag
    • Whenever change comes at peripheral values, it is accepted by the group.
    • But when change comes at Core Values, it is not easily accepted .
    • This phenomenon will create  anxiety because in such a situation group is neither traditional nor fully modern .
    • Eg : People have accepted educating the girl child but they have not given up Patriarchal Mindset  .

Changes in Indian Society

  • From Joint family to Nuclear and Functional Joint families : Already discussed above.
  • Change in marriage system
    1. Legislative measures like child marriage Restraint Act, 1929, and the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 have increased the minimum age of marriage.
    2. Freedom in mate selection which was earlier selected by the family.
    3. To fulfil career and individual  ambitions , distance marriages” “delayed marriages” and  “long have become  a common feature.
    4. Cases of divorce and desertion have also increased.
  • Status of women in the family  has improved  as they have become more educated and started working, thus along with other male members in the family ,they also now have a say in family issues.
  • Women are given  right  in the  ancestral property and a legal right to share property along with male members,  after the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 was amended in 2005 .

NCERT : Impact of colonisation  on Indian Society

History is full of examples of annexation . But, there is  difference between empires of pre-capitalist and  capitalist times.

  • Change in land ownership – Impacted the old agrarian ties . Eg : In Permanent Settlement , Zamindars were made sole proprietors with no rights even to Khudkashts .
  • Forest Laws & Tribals : Tribals were exploited and their rights on minor produce taken away
  • Criminalisation of Tribes via Criminal Tribes Act .
  • Policy of Divide and Rule : Colonialists divided  Indian society based on Religion. 
  • Forced Movement of Population on large scale : Eg :
    • Workers from Bihar & Jharkhand moved to Assam to work on  tea plantations.
    • Indentured labourers send to   Africa and Americas  .
  • Deindustrialisation & Ruralisation led to movement of artisans to agriculture .
  • Exoteric Secular knowledge : Brahmin monopoly over education ended + Dalits also got access to knowledge
  • English replaced Persian as official language : Muslims suffered and Hindus who adapted to change rapidly increased their share in government jobs. 

Previous Year UPSC GS Mains Questions

  1. The life cycle of a joint family depends on economic factors rather than social values. Discuss.
  2. Describe any four cultural elements of diversity in India and rate their relative significance in building a national identity.
  3. In the context of the diversity of India, can it be said that the regions form cultural units rather than the States? Give reasons with examples for your view point. 
  4. The spirit of tolerance and love is not only an interesting feature of Indian society from very early times, but it is also playing an important part at the present. Elaborate.