Discuss the role of caste in Indian politics.

Discuss the role of caste in Indian politics.

Ans. Stratification Within Caste: With the introduction of industrialization at large scale affected the rural traditional occupation people. Number of people gave up their traditional occupation. F.G. Bailey in the year of 1950 had observed that in Orissa, the fishermen do not catch fish, the cultivators are warriors, the potters do no know how to make pots etc. During the period of fifties and sixties it was observed in different parts of the countries there the diversification of occupation has taken place.

Among the lower caste maximum number of illiteracy prevails and for their livelihood depends on manual labour. Among the caste there are three types of economic differentiation:

(a) A caste characterized by sharp polarisation.
(b) Upper caste has majority of members has upper strata.
(c) A caste has majority of members belonging to poor strata.
Rajputs and Thakurs of Rajasthan are characterised by sharp polarisation.

Whatever may be the history of the origin of the caste system, the institution of caste has been one of exclusive characteristics of the Indian society since early ages. Inspite of great changes in the history of India caste has continued to be an important feature of Indian social life. Pressure Group: Caste Associations: Caste has provided a far more fertile field for pressure group activities.

Traditionally the castes associations were primarily concerned with the behaviour of their own members and with the preservation of distinctive caste practices. After the independence the castes organised themselves.

The different castes associations tried to force the Government to concede them political and educational facilities. Many of today’s powerful caste associations originated in the desire for upward social mobility on the part of economically prospering castes with a low ritual status. The most powerful groups are–the Nadar caste association in Tamil Nadu; the Jat groups in Rajasthan and the Kshatriya Mahasabha in Gujarat.

The competitive Indian politics in various states of the Indian union is a politics of cast groups. For example Brahmin versus non-Brahmins in Tamil Nadu, Baniya-Brahmin versus Patidar in Gujarat, Nair versus Ezhava in Kerala. Marwari association has achieved a conspicuous place in the business life. Harijan Sevak Sangh has won the status of social and economic through legislation and social work.

There is the difference between Panchayat and caste association. Members of Panchayat enjoy the hereditary position. While association does not have heriditary position, it has written Constitution specifying power and responsibilities of different working people. Association carries out economic, educational and political programmes.

Its decisions are not binding to the caste people. The decisions of Panchayat or council are binding to the people of caste. It deals with social aspects related to marriage, divorce and other family disputes of the members.

Political Parites: Several movements were launched by joining different caste together. In Tamil Nadu, several castes became together and launched the non-Brahmin movement, the caste such as Veliala, Gaunda, Padayachi,

Chetri, Tattan etc. These castes launched the movement individually or jointly. Non-Brahmins highlighted themselves in 1916 and express the dominance of the Brahmins in Government services and injustice to non-Brahmin who were in majority. ‘Justice Party’ was formed in 1916. The party sent a delegation to England in 1919 and presented the case before the Joint Parliament Committee who was responsible for preparing the Government of India Bill.
(a) Dr. Ambedkar formed Scheduled Caste Federation.
(b) Adivasi leaders of Bihar formed the Jharkhand Party.
(c) Kanshiram formed the Bahujan Samaj Party– (Party of Dalits).

After independence many associations and parties were formed and took part in contesting the election. For example in the year of 1950 in Gujarat Kshatriyas formed the party and want to contest the election, but soon realised that they were unable to contest the election because the support and strength of the Kshatriyas were not too much.

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