Que. 1. Describe any four cultural elements of diversity in India and rate their relative significance in building a national identity. (UPSC - 2015) [150 Words]
Ans.: Diversity connotes collective differences among people that differentiates one group of people from another.
India is considered as a mega culturally diverse country due to the existence of various groups that provide a unique blend to India’s diversity. These culturally diverse elements have given India an identity that is heterogeneous compared to any such large countries.
Cultural elements of diversity in India:
Thus, cultural diversity has an important role in shaping India’s national identity that is not based on any language or religion but instead on common hopes and aspirations.
Que. 2. Caste as a system has gradually declined but casteism has become stronger. Examine [150 Words]
Ans.: The caste system is one of the unique features in Indian Society. Its root can be traced back to thousands of years.
However, due to various reasons like, efforts of social reformers like Phule, Gandhiji, Ambedkar, economic development growth of literacy, occupational mobility, constitutional provisions such as Right to Equality, caste as a system is gradually declining in India but Casteism which refers to one-sided loyalty in favour of a particular caste has even increased in India.
According to R. N. Sharma, ‘casteism is a blind group loyalty towards one’s own caste or sub-caste, which does not care for the interests of other castes, and seeks to realize the social, economic, political and other interests of its own group’.
Casteism has increased in India over the time reason being :
i. Casteism increases, when a particular group tends to improve the status of its own caste. In order to achieve such status, the members even adopt the most improper methods to enhance the prestige of their caste.
ii. Marital rules such as endogamy, i.e., marriage within the group is another factor. Under the caste system, which allows casteism to perpetuate, such restrictions placed on marriage forces an individual to marry within his own caste group, which brings about cohesion within the group, thereby increasing casteism.
iii. Communication between rural and urban areas became easy through urbanization. The feelings of caste were easily carried through the members from rural areas to urban areas through migration. The members of the caste have to face various problems and as a result, a need to provide security on communal basis was felt. This factor of need for security also encourages casteism.
iv. Easy access to the means of transport and communication is another factor, which contributes to the growth of casteism. Members of the same caste, who were previously not much in touch with each other, are now able to establish intimate relationships. The spread of the feeling of casteism became easy through mass media, such as newspapers, magazines, etc.
v. Using caste as political vendetta by political groups for vested interests thus increasing Casteism
However due to various socio- economic efforts like inter-caste marriage , rise in literacy level, westernisation etc this casteism has suffered a major blow here.