Discuss how the structure of caste system in India has undergone a paradoxical change over last few decades.
Caste system or the “Chaturvarna System” has been an integral element of Indian Society since ancient times.
Basic features of traditional caste structure:
- Strict 4-fold division of occupations, viz. Brahmins-religious rituals, Shudras-Menial jobs.
- Segregation of living space on the basis of caste.
- Discrimination on the basis of caste – untouchability.
Changes over last few decades:
- Rapid increase in education & its penetration has diluted caste-based occupational division.
- Reservation in jobs & educational have made every occupation multi-caste & multi-lingual.
- Rapid urbanization & globalization has diluted caste-based segregation.
- MNC offices & urban apartments – home to co-existence of all castes.
- Economic & social upliftment has raised the status of erstwhile so called lower castes.
Remnants of caste system:
- Still occupations like manual scavenging, are done predominantly by “lower caste” people.
- Discrimination still reported under prohibition of untouchability act.
Thus, the caste system has changed in a more positive way but still a number of issue are remaining that needs to be addressed.
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