Can Caste-Based Discrimination And Democracy Co-exist?

Posted by Abhinav Raja in Caste, Society
April 8, 2018

Humans are born humans. What later differentiates them are the set of rules we create which lead to the further creation of a very specific type of society. And it is this that gives rise to one of the most annoying social evils – caste.

Irrespective of the other issues prevailing in the society, this is the worst of them all. It not only creates differences among people but also draws a limit for marginalised people – a limit which has been imposed on them by people from the upper caste. It affects millions of people living in south Asia. It involves massive violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The caste system separates people into unequal and hierarchical social groups. Those at the bottom are considered ‘lesser human beings’, ‘impure’ and ‘polluting’ to other caste groups. Caste discrimination is traditionally rooted in the Hindu caste system, according to which Dalits are considered ‘outcasts’. They  are prone to facing major oppression.

Several incidents of caste-related violence has taken place. Lalasa Devi, a woman who belonged  to a caste once considered ‘untouchable’, was raped in 2013 by an upper caste man from her village in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Even in the world’s largest democracy, caste has a significant influence and plays a huge role in Indian politics. Ideologically, caste and democracy cannot co-exist because they are opposites. What caste talks about is the fragmentation of society, whereas democracy preaches about the unification of society.

However, the peculiarity of Indian society is that both caste and democracy co-exist. It’s very sad to know that caste is used as a way to gather votes from people.

The whole scenario is that caste influences politics and politics influences caste, as both are interrelated. Caste is used as a tool of political mobilisation or articulation.

It is very clear that caste-based hierarchies must be eradicated in order to make the society and the very nation develop in the right way where all are treated as one and equal.