There are several nations across the world, which experience social inequality based on their income. On the contrary, India is one such country that divides the people depending upon their caste. Caste system has been abolished in India according to the educated intellectuals, but the reality is quite the opposite. After India received its independence, the Indian constitution took steps on the discrimination of caste in the public. However, even in the present time, caste ranking is common in the rural areas. In terms of kinship and marriage, caste system plays a very important role in India than in personal relations . A person achieves his or her caste by birth. There are hundreds of castes and sub-castes in India. The basis of each caste has interdependence with other groups, such as specialization of occupation. The castes link with each other across different regions in India. The word caste derived from the Portuguese term casts refers to a race breed. The Indians also call caste by other names, such as varna, samaj, biradari and jati . Varna refers to color while the other terms mean subdivisions of the castes.
There are several castes in India, which enjoy certain rights under the Indian law. The India law differentiated the lowest class of people as scheduled castes. The scheduled castes enjoy the benefits of protective discrimination and have access to a major share of reservations in the central and state government jobs, educational institutions and electoral offices. The improved access to educational opportunities through scholarships has led the scheduled castes to achieve white-collar jobs. The growth of urbanization has a major impact on the caste system and class structure in India. The caste affiliations are unknown in a majority of urban population. In the cities, there are negligible or no restrictions on social interactions with people of lower castes when compared to the rural areas. India is such a country in which more than 74 percent of the population resides in the villages . Landowners who hire labor belong to the upper caste, while the agricultural workers belong to the lower class. The household-labor-using proprietors belong to the middle caste.
The class formation in India forms a three level system with the forward classes containing the higher castes, backward classes with middle and lower castes, and the harijans, who belong to the lowest caste . In the rural areas where the majority of the occupation is agriculture, the classes differentiate people as large-scale farmers, small-scale farmers and landless laborers. In the case of urban areas, which are a hub for major industries and factories, the scenario is entirely different. The class structure depends on the income status and occupation of the people rather than the caste system. The higher classes in urban regions include entrepreneurs, industrialists, bureaucrats, political officeholders and the military. The middle class in the urban refers to those who work in industries, government offices and educational institutions . The rapidly expanding economy of India provided the foundation for a fundamental change in the social and economic status among the people of the country.
In the present time, it is the caste system and class structure, which dictate the political and economic direction of the country. The middle class group in India is mobile, forward-looking and consumer-oriented in order to catch up the ladder to reach the higher class. Ownership of cars and other consumer goods, such as televisions, air conditioners and other amenities, substantial savings and well-educated children who are fluent in English diversify the middle class group from others . The middle class is at a very high boom due to a substantial increase in their wages and salaries. Social inequality in India has become a historical legacy. Inequalities are visible in India in every aspect. There are several luxury hotels in the country that have half-naked beggars sleeping on the pavement outside the hotel. Though the country is developing at a higher pace with the industrial and agricultural development, inequality still exists as reality . The middle class is expanding rapidly with an increase in access to opportunities.
The government should prioritize its policies on money-lending reforms in the rural areas so that the farmers can own the land and cultivate crops on their own rather depending on the owners for employment. It not only leads to a gain in the economic status of the farmers, but also eliminates the line of inequality. In order to break the cycle of poverty and caste system, the government should secure the tenure of loans taken by the farmers as debt . Women play a major role in transforming the society of a country. Hence, it is important to provide ample amount of opportunities to women in terms of education and employment. Also, children are the building blocks of future. The government should take necessary measures to educate children and prevent child labor to break their legacy of poverty and caste system. It is the responsibility of each individual to break the inhuman tradition of caste system, which divides people on the grounds of social and economic status, and treat everyone in an equal way and prosper the country both socially and economically .
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Maddison, A. (2013). Class Structure and Economic Growth: India and Pakistan Since the Moghuls. Routledge.
Natrajan, B. (2011). The Culturalization of Caste in India: Identity and Inequality in a Multicultural Age. Routledge.