Dr. K.S. Ingole, Associate Professor, Dept of Economics Post Graduate Studies and Research, SNDT Women’s university, Mumbai email@example.com
Introduction A caste system is the major feature of Indian society, it is not only reflects in social life of Indian people but also economic and political behavior of people are governed by the caste system. Caste is the identity of a person in Hindu society. In India, exclusion or inclusion in the economic activities such as production, distribution or any gainful job to a particular person depend by his caste. In social science literature the concept of social exclusion is defined as ‘the process through which individuals belonging to some groups are wholly or partially excluded from full participation in the society in which they live’. The unfavorable inclusions with unequal treatment may carry the same adverse effects as unfavorable exclusion. The purpose of this study is to examine the caste as exclusion of backward castes people from social respects and economic benefits, and to find out its implication on economic development in general and in particular of backward castes.
The meaning and nature of caste Caste is a term derived from a Portuguese word, casta, meaning breed, lineage, or racei. It is a term used to identify the different social segments within the caste based Hindu society. Each caste has its own customs, rituals, family deities and food habits. According to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, it is mainly the custom of endogamy that has preserved the castes and prevented one caste from fusing into another. Almost all the writers and scholars conform to this view of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Sociologist G. S. Ghurye following features of caste 1 2 3 4 5 6 Segmented division of society Hierarchies Restrictions on feeding and social inter-course Civil and religious disabilities and privileges of different sections Lack of unrestricted choice of occupation Restrictions on marriage
Prof. Ghurye holds that caste in India is a Brahminic child and that endogamy, the outstanding feature of caste was first developed by the Brahmin. The functions of caste can be understood only with regard to the caste system. The caste system is the foundation on which Hindu society is built. Dr. Ambedkar says: by the Hindu social system the communities are placed in an ascending scale of reverence and a descending scale of contempt.ii The Hindu caste system is a pyramid like social structure in which the majority of the lowest castes are forcibly kept at the bottom of the pyramid, condemned to manual professions and forced to serve the castes above them. According to him, Brahmins were the originators of this unnatural institution founded and maintained through unnatural means. Brahmin class first raised the structure of caste while making themselves into caste, the Brahmins by virtue of this, created non-Brahmin caste. The government of India’s Anthropological Survey of India (ASI), under the leadership of K.S.Singh, brought out a series of publications titled ‘The People of India’. This project identified 2800 castes including 450 SC, 461 ST and 766 OBC. It concludes that, caste continues to be the basic building brick of Indian society. This historic verdict of the ASI project did not get any publicity in India’s press because our ruling class is shy of admitting this fact which has made them the rulersiii. Dalit Vice editor Mr. V. T. Rajshekar says, “Almost all political party leaders be they nationalists, socialists, communists and Hindu Nazi have uniform opinion on caste ‘caste is bad and hence it has to be destroyed; Indian scholars and researchers have produced mountains of literature to prove that caste is non-existent’. They believed and made others believe that with economic development, the superficial “caste” could be eradicated. Our planners and rulers, based on this belief, introduced hundreds of welfare schemes and...