JAC Board Class 10 Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 4 Gender Religion and Caste
→ Gender and Politics Public/private divisions
- Boys and girls are brought up to believe that the main responsibility of women is housework and bringing up children.
- This is reflected in a SEXUAL DIVISIONS OF LABOUR in most families: women do all work inside the home.
- When jobs are paid for, men are ready to take up works live. Most tailors or cooks in hotels are men.
- In urban areas, poor women work as a domestic helper in middle-class homes, while middle-class women work in offices.
- The result of this division of labour is that although women constitute half of the humanity, their role in public life, especially politics, is minimal in most societies.
- Women in different parts of the world organised and agitated for equal rights.
- More radical women’s movements aimed at equality in personal and family life as well. These movements are called FEMINIST movements.
- We now find women working as scientists, doctors,-.engineers, lawyers, managers and college and university teachers which were earlier not considered suitable for women.
- In Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Norway and Finland, the participation of women in public life is very high.
- In our country, women still lag much behind men despite some improvement since independence.
Ours is still a male-dominated, PATRIARCHAL society.
→ Women face disadvantage, discrimination and oppression in various ways
- The literacy rate among women is only 54% compared with 76% of men.
- On an average an Indian woman works one hour more than an average man every day. Yet much of her work is not paid and therefore often not valued.
- In almost all areas of work, from sports and cinema to factories and fields, women are paid less than men, even when both do exactly the same work.
- In many parts of India, parents prefer to have sons and find ways to have the girl child aborted before she is bom.
- Urban areas have become unsafe for women.
- They are not safe even within their own home from beating, harassment and other forms of domestic-violence.
→ Women’s political representation
- Yet issues related to women’s well-being or otherwise are not given adequate attention.
- One way to ensure this is to have more women as elected representatives.
- In India, the proportion of women in the legislature has been very low.
- The percentage of elected women members in Lok Sabha has never reached even 10% of its total strength.
- In the government, cabinets are largely all male even when a woman becomes the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister.
- One way to solve this problem is to make it legally binding to have a fair proportion of women in the elected bodies. This is what the Panchayati Raj has done in India.
- There is more than 10 lakh elected women representatives in rural and urban local bodies.
- Women’s organizations and activists have been demanding a similar reservation of at least one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies for women.
- A bill with proposal has been pending before the Parliament for more than a decade.
- Gender division is an example of some form of social division needs to be expressed in politics. ,
→ Religion, communalism and politics
- The division based on religious differences:
- Many countries including India have in their population, followers of different religions. Consider the following:
- Gandhiji used to say that religion can never be separated from politics. He meant politics must be guided by ethics drawn from religion.
- Human rights groups in our country have argued that most of the victims of communal riots in our country are people from religious minorities.
- Women’s movement has argued that FAMILY LAWS of all religions discriminate against women.
- The problem begins when religion is seen as the basis of the nation.
- Communal politics is based on the ideas that religion is the principal basis of a social community.
→ Communalism can take various forms in politics
- The most common expression of communalism is in everyday beliefs.
- A communal mind often leads to a quest for political dominance of one’s own religious community.
- Political mobilization on religious lines is another frequent form of communalism.
- Sometimes communalism takes its most ugly form of communal violence, riots and massacre.
- Communalism was and continues to be one of the major challenges to democracy in our country.
- There is no official religion for the Indian state. The constitution provide freedom to profess any religion and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion.
→ Caste and politics
We have seen two instances of the expression of social divisions in the arena of politics, one largely positive and the other largely negative.
→ Caste inequalities
- Unlike gender and religion, caste division is special to India.
- In most societies, occupations are passed on from one generation to another.
- Caste system was based on the exclusion and discrimination against the ‘outcaste’ groups.
- Partly due to efforts of social reformers and partly due to other socio-economic changes, castes and the caste system in modem India have undergone great changes.
- Large scale URBANISATION, the growth of literacy and education, OCCUPATIONAL MOBILITY and old notions of CASTE HIERARCHY are breaking down.
- Now, in urban areas it does not matter much who is walking along the next to us on a street or eating at the next table in a restaurant.
- Yet caste has not disappeared from contemporary India. Some of the older aspects of caste have persisted.
- Effects of centuries of advantages and disadvantages continue to be felt today.
→ Caste in politics
- As in the case of communalism, casteism is rooted in the belief that caste is the sole basis of social community.
- Caste is one aspect of our experience but it is not the only relevant or the most important aspect.
→ Caste can take various forms in politics
- When governments are formed, political parties usually take care that representatives of different castes and tribes find a place in it.
- Thus, it is not politics that gets caste-ridden; it is the caste that gets politicized.
→ This takes several forms
- Each group tries to become bigger by incorporating within it neighbouring castes or sub-castes which were earlier excluded from it.
- Various caste groups are required to enter into a dialogue and negotiation.
- New kinds of caste groups have come up in the political arena like ‘backward’ and ‘forward’ caste group.