Cultural Change

Cultural Change


Write short notes on:

Caste and secularisation.


Caste and secularisation: (i) There has also been considerable debate about what is seen by some as secularisation of caste. What does this mean? In traditional India caste system operated within a religious framework. Belief systems of purity and pollution were central to its practice. Today it often functions as political pressure groups. Contemporary India has seen such formation of caste associations and caste political parties. They seek to press their demands upon the state . Such a changed role of caste has been described as secularisation of caste.

(ii) In the sentances below this process highly unequal society like India their were and still are obstacles to any easy taking over of the customs of the higher castes by the lower. Indeed, traditionally, the dominant caste punished those low castes, which were audacious enough to attempt it. The story below captures the problem.

(iii) Everyone recognises that the traditional social system in India was orgnised around caste structures and caste identities.

In dealing with the relationship between caste and politics, however the doctrinaire moderniser suffers from a serious xenophobia. He begins with the questions: is caste disappearing? Now, surely no social system disappears like that. A more useful point of departure would be: what from is caste taking under the impact of modern politics, and what form is politics taking in a caste-oriented society?
(iv) Those in India who complain of ‘casteism to politics’ are really looking for a sort of politics, which has no basis in society...Politics is a competitive enterprise, its purpose is the acquisition of power for the realisation of certain goals, and its process is one of identifying and manipulating existing and emerging allegiances in order to mobilise and consolidate positions. The important thing is organisation and articulation of support, and where politics is mass-based the point is to articulate support though the organisations in which the masses are to be found. It follows that where the caste structure provides one of the principal organisational clusters along which the bulk of the population is found to live, politics must strive to organise through such a structure.

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