CASTE DISCRIMINATION AND EXCLUSION IN INDIA

India is a land of diversity as there are diverse variety of people co-existing on the same land. The Indian society is remarked with the presence of different people belonging to different religions and caste, following different traditions, practicing different culture, speaking different languages, eating different kinds of food, wearing different types of clothes, etc. these diversities result in disparities among the people. These inconsistencies result in discrimination and exclusion of various individuals and groups from the society at many points of time.

The people in the society are highly discriminated on the basis of the caste that they belong to and family they are born in. just because someone is born in a family belonging to a lower caste, they are considered to be lower than the others members of the society and are discriminated. The country is dominated by Hindus and the Hindu culture divides and sub-divides the individuals in different castes; certain castes are awarded the states of supreme whereas others like Shudras are regarded as the untouchables. This discrimination was highly based upon the type of work or occupation that is performed by the members of a particular caste. Also, in the later stages, if a particular caste is considered to be lower, the members of the caste are discriminated and excluded irrespective of their occupation. This was a worse situation as it affected the development and modernization of the society as well as the individuals, and also depicts the narrow and conventional ideologies prevailing the nation.

This kind of Discrimination and the practice of untouchability are hereditary in India. The society rank the people as per the purity of their occupation and justify their action through the concept of Karma. the traditional people believed that a certain individuals belong to a particular caste as a result of their deeds of pervious birth. However, the above concept is completely illogical and unjustified, the Indian society has undergone various reforms to eliminate this discrimination. The Indian Constitution observes the application of the principle of Equality and Justice for every individual citizen of the nation. Thus, the practice of Untouchability has been nearly abolished from the society and equal recognition has been provided to all the individuals.

Yet, there is some extent of discrimination and exclusion taking place on the basis of different traits and characteristics of an individual or group. The extent of this problem is much wider and deeper than what is supposed. That’s the reason why the strict legislations and regulations have also failed to eradicate the problem completely. This discrimination and exclusion manifest itself in several forms, whether socially, economically or politically.

SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION: The society divides itself into different castes and creeds, there is a hierarchical relationship formed that grades the different castes as high or low. It depicts that people belonging to some specific castes are considered to be unholy, impure and polluting, thus, they are ordered at the lowest position in the list. The people belonging to the upper caste would consider them and even their touch to be impure. Hence, they were exploited and discriminated and often beaten if they come in contact with the people of higher caste. The social exclusion was practiced as they were excluded from the social gatherings and other social activities, they were not allowed to make use of the public properties or spaces like Wells, ponds, temples, schools, hostels, hospitals, etc. Even after the enforcement rules and legislations, they are forced to live outside of the town and village during the day time and their homes are physically separated from that of the upper caste. Along with these discriminations, they are also discriminated religiously; they are not allowed to practice their religion and culture, worship their gods or even perform their burial rituals.

ECONOMIC DISCRIMINATION: The people belonging to the lower caste commonly lack financial resources, they were not allowed to purchase their own piece of land or build their own homes. It is only after the establishment of a democratic form of government and enforcement of the Constitution that these people are allowed to own some property under their Right to Property. However, many of the Dalits are still landless labors working on the farmers of upper caste Zamindars and land owners, even the one owning a land has a small insignificant piece of it.

POLITICAL DISCRIMINATION: The lower caste people were not even recognized in the society; thus, they were definitely not allowed to participate in the political matters. Even, their constitutional right to vote is violated, as the people of the upper caste didn’t agree to share the polling booth with them. This kind of discriminatory behavior results to them losing their self-confidence and ignorance of their Self-esteem. Thus, they were not confident enough to raise any voice or represent themselves to the nation and the authorities.

Therefore, it can be concluded that even after many reforms and governmental regulations, the Indian system has miserably failed to help the lower caste earn their self-identity. We as a responsible citizens uphold discrimination as immoral and make attempts to eliminate it.