Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
88Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Caste in Modern India

Caste in Modern India

Ratings:

4.0

(2)
|Views: 3,243 |Likes:
Published by api-3838421

More info:

Published by: api-3838421 on Oct 18, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

03/18/2014

pdf

text

original

 
CASTE INMODERN INDIAAND OTHER ESSAYS
M. N. SrinivasASIA PUBLISHING HOUSE BOMBAY • CALCUTTA • NEW DELHI • MADRAS LONDON • NEWYORK-iii-
CONTENTSINTRODUCTION
1
1. CASTE IN MODERN INDIA
2. A NOTE ON SANSKRITIZATION AND WESTER-NIZATION
3. VARNA AND CASTE
4. CASTES: CAN THEY EXIST IN THE INDIA OFTOMORROW?
5. THE INDUSTRIALIZATION AND URBANIZATIONOF RURAL AREAS
6. THE INDIAN ROAD TO EQUALITY
7. THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM OF INDIANUNITY
8. THE STUDY OF DISPUTES IN AN INDIANVILLAGE
9. VILLAGE STUDIES AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE
10. SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE STUDY OFRURAL AND URBAN SOCIETIES
11. HINDUISM
INDEX
161-vii-
INTRODUCTION
The essays included in this volume were written during the years 1952-60. Each one of themwas written in response to a specific invitation to contribute to a seminar, symposium orlearned publication. In each case there was a deadline, and as everyone knows, meeting thedeadline frequently involves a compromise with one's conscience. But it is also true that, inmany cases, the essay would not have been written but for the deadline.The essays are on a wide variety of topics, and I would like to stress the fact that they werewritten over a period of eight years. My views have naturally undergone a certain amount of change during this time but I have refrained from making any except minor verbal alterationsin the essays. An essay has a structural unity and it is not possible to add or deleteparagraphs. I find the writing of a new essay less difficult than changing an old one. Apartfrom this, a few of the essays included in this volume have stimulated a fair amount of discussion and it would not be fair to my critics to alter them substantially.
II
 
Caste in Modern India
: The first essay included in this book "Caste in Modern India", wasread as the Presidential Address to the Anthropology and Archaeology Section of the Forty-fourth Session of the Indian Science Congress, which met in Calcutta in January 1957. In it Itried to highlight the part played by caste in the democratic processes of modern India, and inadministration and education. I must confess that I was somewhat disturbed by what I feltwas an increased activity of caste in certain areas of public life. In this connection I cameacross certain conflicting attitudes among the elite. On the one hand there seemed to be atouching faith in the efficacy of legislation to cure ancient and deep-seated social 'evils.' Onthe other hand, there was not only no determined effort on the part of the elite to fight theseevils but there was also a tolerance of their practice.
1
  ____________________
1
See in this connection Chapter 4.-1-When "Caste in Modern India" was read at Calcutta it drew from the
Times of India
 
2
 thecomment that I was exaggerating the role of caste in Indian public life and politics. But theGeneral Elections which followed a few weeks later seemed to shock thoughtful people into anawareness of the relation between caste and elections. This relationship was manifest not onlyin those areas in South India which were regarded as the traditional strongholds of caste butalso in certain parts of North India such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. TheCongress Working Committee, meeting soon after elections, took formal note of the fact thatcaste considerations had played a large part in influencing voting behaviour. A well-knownpolitical leader remarked that whatever the political party to which candidates professed tobelong, they really stood from their castes.The General Elections of 1957 may be said to have awakened the Indian intelligentsia as tothe actual considerations which influenced voting. It also led to the widespread condemnationof exploitation of caste-links for election purposes. Condemnation, however, is not the samething as abstaining from the desire to use it to further the interest of one's own party.Elections to panchayats and municipalities held in subsequent years have shown conclusivelythat caste considerations are potent.
3
 The establishment of Panchayat Raj in Rajasthan andAndhra has given a new fillip to caste.The hold of caste is also seen in the tenacity with which castes which were once classed as'backward' cling to that privilege. The
Mysore Backward Classes Committee Report 
( 1961)published a list of backward castes on the basis of the number of high school students perthousand of a caste's population. (This is done in spite of the fact that statistics regardingcaste are not firm, and the unit which is regarded as a caste is often quite arbitrary.) TheLingayats were classified as a 'forward community" in the Report, but they brought suchpolitical pressure to bear that the Mysore Cabinet ordered that they be classified as a"backward" community.
The Report of the Administrative Reforms Committee of Kerala
( 1958) pointed out, in an admirable way, the risks and drawbacks of treating caste as thebasis of backwardness and the attraction of using the economic criterion in determining thebackwardness of individuals, but felt that the time was not ripe for its adoption.
4
 Only two Indian States,Maharashtra and Gujarat, now use the economic criterion exclusively in determiningbackwardness.
III
A sociologist would define caste as a hereditary, endogamous, usually localized group, havinga traditional association with an occupation, and a particular position in the local hierarchy of 
 
castes. Relations between castes are governed, among other things, by the concepts of pollution and purity, and generally, maximum commensality occurs within the caste.In the above definition it is assumed that a caste group is always easily identifiable and that itdoes not change its social boundaries. This, however, is not true. A caste is usually segmentedinto several sub-castes and each sub-caste is endogamous. This segmentation is probably theresult of a long historical process in which groups continually fissioned off. As a result of thislong process of development there has come into existence several cognate groups, usuallyfound scattered over a limited geographical region (this, however, ____________________
4
We have considered the question of reservation of posts for backward classes. In this State,40 per cent of the posts in Government service are reserved for Backward Communities.This is in addition to the reservation of 10 per cent for Scheduled Castes and ScheduledTribes. Within this 40 per cent there is a 'principle of subrotation' by which a certainpercentage is reserved for a community or group of communities."The system, as it now exists, has several disadvantages. Firstly, there is a continuousclamour to include more and more communities in the list and the basis for the assessmentof their backwardness is not entirely satisfactory. Secondly there are among the 'backwardclasses' communities which are 'relatively advanced' and those who are truly backward. Thelatter have a feeling that the benefit of the reservation generally goes to the former. The'principle of subrotation' has not met this to a satisfactory extent. Thirdly, there is theconsideration, that such reservation inevitably brings down the quality and standard of theservices. The most important point, however, is that the system creates a psychologyamongst all the communities by which caste and communal consciousness is perpetuated."On account of these, it has been suggested by some that the criteria for backwardnessshould be economic rather than those based merely on communities. This suggestion looksattractive. But, apart from the fact that over 80 per cent of our people should be consideredto be economically backward, it ignores the historical fact that economic backwardness inour country, has, in most cases, been the concomitant and result of social backwardness.-3-is increasingly less true of the higher groups), each of which retains a sense of its identity aswell as its linkage with other similar groups. Traditionally, it was the smallest group whichconstituted the unity of endogamy, and the identity of this tiny group stood out sharplyagainst other similar groups. All the members of this group pursued a common occupation or afew common occupations, and this group was the unit of social and ritual life. The members of this group ate food cooked by each other, shared a common culture, and in most cases, weregoverned by the same caste-panchayat. During the last sixty years or more, however, thelinkages between groups have become more and more significant, and the strong wallserected between sub-castes have begun to crumble. The endogamous circle is widening,especially under the impact of the dowry system which is specially characteristic of the highcastes. Certain other factors have also been significant in this context : the greater mobilitybrought about under British rule, the movement to the cities for higher education andemployment, urban cosmopolitanism and Westernization. In the case of the lower castes,which were also more rurally oriented than the higher, political factors have been responsiblefor the weakening of the barriers between sub-castes. Thus, leaders of the non-Brahmincastes in South India came together in order to obtain certain concessions and privileges, andto break the Brahminical dominance. Not only were the internal divisions within each non-Brahmin caste ignored, but all non-Brahmins including Jains, Christians, and Muslims cametogether on a ____________________"It is exceedingly difficult to suggest a simple solution to this complicated problem. A

Activity (88)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
syed Irfan liked this
gnanaaloysius liked this
Anjali Behl liked this
Siva Teja liked this
Deshpandem liked this
Rishishwar Simmi liked this
ashfaqamar liked this
Sanjana Pampati liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->