• In India the caste system is different from other societies as in India hereditary occupational division was sanctioned by rituals.
  • Members of the same occupation married with their caste group and did not eat with the members from other caste group
  • Caste system was based on exclusion of and discrimination against the ‘outcaste’ groups.
  • They were subjected to the inhuman practice of untouchability


  • Organizations of people into social groups for the purpose of marriage, work and diet is known as Caste System


  • Most people marry within their own caste and tribe.
  • Despite provision in the constitution untouchability has not ended completely.
  • There has been rich and educated people from lower caste also now-a-days but their percentage is much less as compared to upper caste.
  • Large mass of low caste people still do not have access to education and have remained illiterate and uneducated.

Efforts Taken to Check Casteism

  • Social reformers like Jotiba Phule, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr.B.R Ambedker ,etc. advocated and worked to establish a society in which caste inequalities are absent
  • The constitution of India prohibits discrimination of any type.
  • It provide equal opportunities to all.
  • Socio economic changes have brought in a check.
  • Large scale urbanisation.
  • Literacy and education.
  • Occupational mobility.
  • Weakening of the position of landlords
  • most of the times, in urban areas it does not matter much who is walking along next to us on a street or eating at the next table in a restaurant. The
  • Constitution of India prohibited any caste-based discrimination and laid the foundations of policies to reverse the injustices of the caste system.
  • The caste system can further be reduced spreading education and by promoting inter-caste marriages


  • While choosing candidate: When parties choice candidate in elections, they keep in mind the caste composition of the electorate and nominate candidates from different castes so as to get necessary support to win elections
  • When governments are formed, political parties usually take care that representatives of different castes and tribes find a place in it
  • While forming a government: When the government are formed, political parties usually take care that representatives of different castes and tribes find a place in it.
  • While campaigning: Political Parties and candidates in elections make appeals to people to give them their votes on the basis of caste
  • Universal adult franchise and the principle of one-person-one-vote compelled political leaders to gear up to the task of mobilising and securing political support.
  • It also brought new consciousness among the people of castes that were hitherto treated as inferior and low

Effects of Exclusive Attention to Caste:

  • Is negative
  • Politics based on caste identity alone is not healthy.
  • Diverts attention from poverty, development and corruption.
  • Leads to tension, conflict and even violence


  • No State Legislature in the country has a majority of any caste.
  • Every caste group has its presence in Parliament.
  • Every candidate /party must win the confidence of more than one caste and community to win elections
  • It is not necessary that the people of same caste vote for same political party.
  • It might happen that there are more than one candidate from one caste and no candidate from other caste.
  • Ruling party /sitting MP losing election could not have happened if all castes and communities were frozen in political preferences

Politics in caste

  • Politics too influences the caste system and caste identities by bringing them into the political arena.
  • Each caste group tries to become bigger by incorporating within it neighboring castes or sub-castes which were earlier excluded from it.
  • Various caste groups are required to enter into a coalition with other castes or communities and thus enter into a dialogue and negotiation.
  • New kinds of caste groups have come up in the political arena like ‘backward’ and ‘forward’ caste groups.
  • Thus, caste plays different kinds of roles in politics.
  • In this sense-caste politics has helped people from Dalits and OBC castes to gain better access to decision making.
  • Several political and non-political organisations have been demanding and agitating for an end to discrimination against particular castes, for more dignity and more access to land, resources and opportunities.
  • At the same time exclusive attention to caste can produce negative results as well.
  • As in the case of religion, politics based on caste identity alone is not very healthy in a democracy.
  • It can divert attention from other pressing issues like poverty, development and corruption
  • In some cases caste division leads to tensions, conflict and even violence

Universal Adult Franchise:

  • UAF and the principle of one person on vote compelled political leaders to raise the caste based issues during elections.
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