Caste in the Contemporary Times

Casteism in India is one of the social problems that are prevalent in India. It refers to the hatred for one caste by the other or the attempts of the members of one caste to gain advantage for them to the detriment of the interest of the fellowmen of the other castes. It is a result of the growing clash between various castes for higher share in the socio economic privileges and power but the feelings of deprivation are fanned mainly by a few individuals for their own benefits in the name of the caste as a whole.

Kaka Kelelkar says that casteism is an overriding blind and supreme group loyalty that ignores the healthy social standards of justice, fair play, equality and universal brotherhood. Prasad D.N. says that casteism is loyalty to the caste translated into politics. The causes of casteism are the sense of caste prestige, marriage restrictions, illiteracy, communication propaganda, etc. The effects of casteism are the hindrance to the nationality, danger to democracy, moral degradation etc.

The old use of the term caste has changed in the present times. Now the members of the scheduled casts are proud of saying that they belong to a particular case and are even adding their caste names to their personal names. Caste sanctions have also become weak and do not operate with the same force in all sections of Indian society. The political use of caste is increasing day by day in every region of India. The structure and function of caste system have weakened and the association between caste and occupation is now a thing of the past. Many new occupations are being created where people of all castes meet freely and work together.

After India gained independence, the caste system has seen some drastic changes. Untouchability, the most undesirable feature of the caste system, has received a severe setback and is disappearing from the society. The caste panchayats used to wield all the authority and the Brahmins enjoyed a superior position, however in the modern times, village panchayats, trade unions, and the state are the exclusive features and the supremacy of the Brahmins has vanished from the society.  

The Indian constitution gives reservation to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly and the House of the People in articles 332 and 330 respectively. They have also been given reservations in education, jobs and at other places so that they are given an equal opportunity as compared to others and also to take care of their financial interests.

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