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GENDER,RELIGIONANDCASTE

SEXUAL DIVISION OFLABOUR


In most families women do allwork inside the home such as
cooking,cleaning, washing clothes, tailoring,looking after children, etc., and
men doall the work outside the home.
FEMINIST MOVEMENTS
More radical womens movements aimed at equality in personal and family
life as well. These movements are called Feministmovements.
PATRIARCHY
It is a system in which men exercise more power over women.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT WAYS THROUGH WHICH WOMEN
FACE DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT AND SUPPRESSION?
1. Female literacy is very low than male literacy in India. The proportion of
girl students go for higherstudies is very less.
2. No wonder the proportion ofwomen among the highly paid andvalued jobs
is still very small.
3. The Equal Wages Act provides thatequal wages should be paid to
equalwork. In all areas ofworkwomen are paid lessthan men, even when
both do exactlythe same work.
4. In many parts of India parentsprefer to have sons and find ways tohave the
girl child aborted before she isborn. Such sex-selective abortion led toa
decline in child sex ratio
5. There are reports of various kindsof harassment, exploitation and
violenceagainst women. Urban areas havebecome particularly unsafe for
women.
ROLE OF WOMEN IN POLITICAL/ PUBLIC LIFE
1. In India, the proportion of womenin legislature has been very low.
Forexample, the percentage of electedwomen members in LokSabha has
neverreached even 10 %and in the stateassemblies less than 5 %.
2. One-third of seats inpanchayatsand municipalities are now reservedfor
women. Now there are more than10 lakh elected women representativesin
rural and urban local bodies.
3. Womens organisations andactivists have been demandingreservation of at
least one-third ofseats in the LokSabha and StateAssemblies for women. A

bill with thisproposal has been pending before theParliament for more than
a decade.
COMMUNALISM
It is a system in which beliefs of one religion are presented assuperior to
those of other religions.
COMMUNAL POLITICS
When the demands of one religiousgroup are formed in opposition
toanother and when state power is usedto establish domination of one
religiousgroup over the rest. This manner ofusing religion in politics is
communalpolitics.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGION AND POLITICS
1. Gandhiji used to say that religion cannever be separated from politics. He
believed that politics must be guidedby ethics drawn from religion.
2. Human rights groups in our countryhave argued that most of the victims
ofcommunal riots in our country arepeople from religious minorities.
3. Womens movement has arguedthat family Lawsof all religionsdiscriminate
against women.
COMMUNALISM CAN TAKE VARIOUSFORMS IN POLITICS
1. The most common expression ofcommunalism is in religiousprejudices,
stereotypes of religiouscommunities and belief in the superiorityof ones
religion over other religions.
2. A communal mind often leads to aquest for political dominance of onesown
religious community. For thosebelonging to majority community, thistakes
the form of majoritariandominance.
3. Political mobilisation on religiouslines is another frequent form
ofcommunalism. This involves the use ofsacred symbols, religious
leaders,emotional appeal and plain fear in orderto bring the followers of one
religiontogether in the political arena.
4. In electoralpolitics this often involves special appealto the interests or
emotions of votersof one religion in preference to others.
5. Sometimes communalism takes itsmost ugly form of communal
violence,riots and massacre. India and Pakistansuffered some of the worst
communalriots at the time of the Partition.
WHAT WERE THE SEVERAL CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS TAKEN TO SOLVE
COMMUNALISM IN INDIA?
1. India is a secular state. There is no official religion and our Constitution
does not givespecial status to any religion.

2. The Constitution provides to allindividuals and communities freedom


toprofess, practice and propagate anyreligion, or not to follow any.
3. The Constitution prohibitsdiscrimination on grounds of religion.
4. At the same time, the Constitutionallows the state to intervene in
thematters of religion in order to ensureequality within religious
communities.
5. For example, it bans untouchability.Understood in this sense, secularismis
not just an ideology of some partiesor persons. This idea constitutes one
ofthe foundations of our country.
CASTE SYSTEM
Caste system is a social division based on occupation but later turned into based on birth. Those
who had taken over low paid jobs were termed as low castes. The so called lower castes
face exclusionand discrimination in the hands of other caste groups.
POLITICAL LEADERS AND SOCIAL REFORMERS WHO FOUGHT
AGAINST CASTE SYSTEM
Political leaders and socialreformers like JotibaPhule, Gandhiji,B.R.
Ambedkar and PeriyarRamaswamiNaicker advocated and worked
toestablish a society in which casteinequalities are absent.
CASTES AND CASTE SYSTEM IN MODERN INDIAHAVE
UNDERGONE GREAT CHANGES.
1. Witheconomic development and large scale Urbanizationlarge number of
villagers have migrated to cities and employed in various fields without
disclosing their caste identity.
2. Occupational mobility andthe weakening of the position oflandlords in the
villages, the old notionsof Caste hierarchy are breaking down.
3. Growth of literacy and education brought some awareness in the minds of
the people.
CASTE HAS NOT DISAPPEARED FROMCONTEMPORARY INDIA.
1. Evennow most people marry within their own caste or tribe.
2. Untouchability hasnot ended completely, despiteconstitutional prohibition.
3. The higher caste groups that had access toeducation under the old system
have acquired moderneducation and economically strong.
4. Those groups that belong to lower caste didnot have access to education
or wereprohibited from acquiring wealth have naturallylagged behind.
5. That is why there is adisproportionately large presence ofupper caste
among the urban middleclasses in our country.
CASTE CAN TAKE VARIOUS FORMS IN POLITICS

1. When parties choose candidates inelections, they keep in mind the


castecomposition of the electorate andnominate candidates from
differentcastes so as to muster necessary supportto win elections.
2. When governments areformed, political parties usually take carethat
representatives of different castes andtribes find a place in it.
3. Political parties and candidates inelections make appeals to caste
sentimentto muster support. Some political partiesare known to favour
some castes andare seen as their representatives.
4. Universal adult franchise and theprinciple of one-person-one-votecompelled
political leaders to gear upto the task of mobilising and securing political
support by forming Political Parties.
CASTE CAN NOTTAKE VARIOUS FORMS IN POLITICS
(The focus on caste in politics cansometimes give an impression
thatelections are all about caste and nothing else. That is far from
true- How?)
1. No parliamentary constituency inthe country has a clear majority of
onesingle caste. So, every candidate and partyneeds to win the confidence
of morethan one caste and community to winelections.
2. No party wins the votes of all the voters of a caste or community.
3. Many political parties may put up candidates from the same caste. Some
voters have more than onecandidate from their caste while manyvoters have
no candidate from theircaste.
4. The ruling party and the sitting MP and MLA frequently lose elections in
ourcountry. That could not have happenedif all castes and communities
were frozen in their political preferences.
5. The voters have strongattachment to political parties which isoften stronger
than their attachment totheir caste or community. People withinthe same
caste or community havedifferent interests depending on theireconomic
condition.
HOW DO POLITICS INFLUENCE THE CASTE SYSTEM?(CASTE PLAYS
DIFFERENT KINDS OF ROLES IN POLITICS)
1. Each caste group tries to becomebigger by incorporating within
itneighbouring castes or sub-castes whichwere earlier excluded from it.
2. Various caste groups are required toenter into a coalition with other castes
orcommunities and thus enter into adialogue and negotiation.
3. New kinds of caste groups havecome up in the political arena
likebackward and forward caste groups.