Impact of caste dynamics in contemporary India

The association between various caste groups has now become more flexible and is now at ease. One of the significant impacts in the contemporary age is personal job preference. In the past, men believed in pursuing occupation under its caste like mainly they were engaged in pottery, blacksmithing etc. However, the current scenario is very much different, people have started pursuing jobs of their own choices irrespective of their caste such as in railways, teaching, government jobs, marketing and business. The food habits of the people have been modified, sharing of food is now common between both the sections of society and nowadays people of both upper and lower caste enjoy their food in restaurants in the local together. Power and wealth are almost in least association with the caste. The belief that the lower castes are responsible for pollution and freshness has now somewhat become extinct. However, in petto, rituals of purification with regard to one’s caste ranking, such practice still prevails. The custom of marrying only within the limits of a caste is still in practice, though not as severely as in the past. Lower sections of the society still faces difficulty in pursuing of caste related occupation and access to essential resources in extreme remote rural areas, however in urban areas, caste has almost nil significance in the society. The growth or ranking of women is still based on man’s positioning in the society. But today awareness of equal rights of women, education, employment are eventually advancing the modern society. The Indian Constitution made and implemented various special provisions, due to which competition among the caste groups in order to access the power and necessities like better life enhancement, educational benefits, government oriented jobs, etc. have gained force.

Implementation of such provisions and policies have always been the talk of the town and ground to numerous controversies, although political parties support these policies seemingly for their political benefits, but keeping it aside, it has been of great significant to the people belonging to the lower caste especially the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and backward classes (OBCs). These groups have grabbed every opportunity provided to them and excelled in it. In the elected offices, these groups have greater representation. They have proved to be an essential part of the Indian political election system. They have also successfully mend their paths in each and every institution, be it political, legal or educational, and also secured high posts in government jobs. In a number of regions, these caste groups have succeeded in forming powerful parties in politics.

However, regrettably, a small portion of people belonging to the lower caste have gained profit from the policies and provisions made by the Indian Constitution. When observed from far, other sections of society seem to have willingly accepted the individuals of the lower castes, but the reality is quite contrary, in numerous parts of India, the upper castes still treat the lower caste’s individuals as outsiders and deny them access to resources. Such an incident came into light in parts of Bihar, India in 1994, the landowners of the upper caste formed a special army known as Ranvir Sena in order to defend themselves from lower caste’s individuals. Though fortunately by 1999, this was disbarred, the Ranvir Sena had already slaughtered 20 Dalits. The upper caste’s individuals who are against the special polices made for the lower castes and also those who are at any sort of economic disadvantage by the implementation of such policies, often are responsible for the mistreatments against lower sections.

The caste system has played a vital role in molding the ethics, principles as well as habitation of the society in India. The rituals  and customs of Hindu philosophy greatly influence the faith and lives of the Indians. Post independence, Indians are still in the clutch of beliefs regarding one’s social rank and their caste status. In the ancient days, people of a common society were divided on the basis of caste, sex and birth. Since birth they had their lifestyles organized according to their specific caste rule and had no choice preference as such. However, with the course of time the linkage between one’s occupation and caste has become almost insignificant. In urban areas, interaction among various castes is without restriction. The current Indian society is progressing eventually from the closed caste system to interactive functioning of the society irrespective of any caste. The various provisions and policies implemented by the government have encouraged the lower sections to come forward and represent themselves in the society. Such provisions have also encouraged the people of other caste groups to be secular towards one another. Therefore, it is essential to look after how caste discrimination has affected the standard of life and mobility of society in contemporary India.