Inter Caste Relations

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INTER CASTE RELATIONS
*Ms. Shailja Saxena **Abhishek Kumar According to Oxford dictionary, Caste means “any class or group of people who inherit exclusive privileges or are perceived as socially distinct “or” each of the hereditary classes of Hindu society, distinguished by relative degrees of ritual purity or pollution and of social status” Inter caste relations have always been an area of interest for an intellectually able society and these relations have undergone a sea change post independence. With liberalization and globalization as the current trends, talking about caste differences appears to be a mockery in the name of modernization. But the fact of the matter is that caste differences still exist and caste consciousness still remains. Caste has permeated every segment of the society and it is not now that caste has gained importance; it had become an integral part of our social structure even before independence, particularly in peninsular India. Economic interdependence of the caste system has weakened post independence. But it is still evident that members of different castes traditionally perform tasks for one another in Nevertheless, it is clear that members of different castes customarily perform a number of functions for one another in bucolic India that stresses on cooperation rather than competition. There has been a ritual opposition of sanctity and pollution which since times immemorial has been a cornerstone of the hierarchical framework of caste. The norms of sanctity and pollution worked to point out the difference and categorizations of castes and sub castes. Prominent amongst them were those concerned with mingling between different castes. They determined who could dine together at a mean and with whom. Not just this, the rules also determined who could accept water and food and from whom1. Only people belonging to equal castes could dine together. Mostly, people accepted cooked food and water from the hands of people belonging to the upper caste but not from people belonging to the subordinate castes. Professor, Symbiosis Law School

Student, BBA.LLB, Symbiosis Law School, 2011-2016
Andre Beteille, “India's destiny not caste in stone.” The Hindu, February,21,2011, Section D, Final edition. Also, there continues to be a general link between castes and occupation. The link exists to the point that lowest castes are majorly concentrated in low paying and tedious jobs whereas the higher castes explore well-paid and esteemed jobs. The association was dominant in our traditional economy of grain and land. Economic growth and availability of opportunities have loosened the link between occupation and caste but the link still remains unbroken.

Table Source: Census of India
Upper Caste 16.1 19.9 17.7 Brahmin 6.7 5.8 6.4 Bhumihar 3.0 6.2 4.1 Rajput 5.0 6.2 5.7 Kayastha 1.4 1.7 1.5

Backward Castes 24.3 27.4 24.8 Yadav 14.0 15.7 14.6 Kurmi 3.5 4.4 3.8 Koeri...
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