1. What we know today as ‘caste’ is more a product of colonialism than of ancient Indian traditions. Do you agree? Which British interventions led to the strengthening of the caste system in India? Discuss.
The caste system did exist in India prior to the British rule, however, not in the same form as it exists now with its functional differences, hierarchy, cultural/belief distinctions, etc. The traditional caste system was based on Varna system which was based on hereditary occupations.
The British used census to differentiate different castes by cataloguing each caste’s characteristics. The censuses became a catalyst for an increased consciousness about their caste and its status among the Indian people.
The census provided an avenue to the lower castes to gain higher status by enrolling as higher caste members and by subsequently Sanskritization.
The British policy of raising regiments based on religion and region further strengthened the notion of separation of castes and strengthened caste identities. E.g. Maratha, Sikh and Gurkha regiments.
British policy of promoting western education through English medium, which was unlike the inaccessible Vedas, made lower castes understand the historical oppression and injustice by upper-castes and helped in instilling in them values such as human rights, liberty, equality etc.
Caste identities were strengthened when caste took on the associational character when many caste associations were formed e.g. Bahishkrit-Hitakarini Sabha by Dr.Ambedkar.
The British under GOI act of 1935 introduced “Scheduled casts” term which though dividing the society also gave an important identity to the depressed classes who later on took on the nomenclature of Dalits.
The upper castes owing to the western education moved on to caste neutral jobs like clerks, lawyers, doctors etc. but the lower castes were still following their traditional jobs which increased their solidarity.
Write a brief conclusion.
Best answer: Mani
“Caste” has been a component of Indian society since ancient times. With land grants to higher varnas, different tribal sections got mingled with them. This eventually led to the formation of many castes and sub-castes within the varnas. However, today “caste” is evolved version of the caste system that existed before colonial rule.
In order to understand the societal dynamics and proportion of various castes, they tried to evaluate the position of castes in hierarchical order through census. This led to severe disturbances as different castes tried to project themselves as superior.
The legal framework under the govt of India act 1935 led to the formation of “scheduled castes and scheduled tribes”.
The practice of giving land ownership on basis of caste further increased the importance of the system.
Thus, British rule resulted in a more systematic treatment of castes and increased their relevance in Indian political system. However, independent India has played a major role in the current situation of caste dynamics:
Although colonial rule provided for reservation for SC/STs, the implementation of Mandal report in 1990 deepened the caste lines. It brought hitherto excluded backward classes into the political dynamics.
Caste- related politics, parties, ideologies reflect the importance of caste 70 yrs after independence.
Although Britishers formalised the system of caste in India, independent India too has a role in strengthening and diversifying it.
2. Tribal identity today is centered on ideas of resistance and opposition to the overwhelming force of the non-tribal world. Comment.
Your introduction should include the recent events related to tribal. Ex. Niyam giri, Left wing extremism etc.
Identity is the conception, qualities, beliefs, and expressions that make a person (self-identity) or group (particular social category or social group)
Tribal communities have always had their own separate identity and culture which was respected by the Indian rulers till the medieval period . However, with the advent of the Britishers , their rights and sense of belongingness to the forests were snatched away which culminated into various tribal uprisings showing resistance and opposition.
Post independence, our leaders tried to reverse the discriminatory treatment and respect their unique identity and rights by formulating various laws like Forest Rights Act and PESA. However, ineffective and faulty implementation of these laws left dissatisfaction and frustration in the hearts of the tribals who continue to show resistance and opposition to the outsiders, government and industries . Resistance of tribals in Niyamgiri hills against mining is a classic example.
Resistance and opposition continue and have taken different forms like naxalism, anti- mining movements, demand for separate homelands, etc due to:-
Threat to their own culture and laws.
Poor rehabilitation after displacement.
Welfare services haven’t reached them fully like health and education.
Feeling of alienation from forests which is their homeland.
No share in developmental profits despite them making huge sacrifices.
India is a land of diversity and therefore its imperative to acknowledge each other’s rights and culture, giving space to each community to lead a way of life with dignity and freedom. Laws must be implemented in true spirits and overall the society must be more sensitive towards the tribals.
3. There is no unity in diversity. Rather unity coexists with diversity in India. Elaborate.
Keywords in the question: Unity, Diversity and India’s perspective.
With the vastness of India, comes its diversity. The diversity can be seen in the physical features of the country, which has led to different cultures, customs, traditions, races, languages, religions and castes.
Because of this diversity many prophets of doom said that India will disintegrate into many smaller nations in a time span of 10-15 years after the independence. But they will be shocked in their graves now, to see, India, not only united but also progressing at an unprecedented pace.
Diversity inherently comes with differences. Different religions have different faiths, customs, living styles and values. Similarly, people with same religion but different region and language have differences in their life styles. It is important to note that differences are important. And they exist even at individual scale. All members of a family are different in some aspects. But differences do not mean friction.
The diversity of India makes it so unique and beautiful. The great tendency of Indians to adopt new cultures and customs and change with the pace of time is what makes this country great.
Sometimes we have seen some clashes in the form of communal riots, caste clashes, and demand of separate state.
But these are sporadic events and Unity can be seen by the fact most of the time people are asking for statehood but not to secede from the country. Unity can be seen during emergencies, sports events, natural calamities etc. And this idea of India is reflected in our Constitution as well where every individual is given equal rights irrespective of the differences. Minorities, whether religious or linguistic, are given protection. States were divided on the basis of language which helped in Uniting India rather than dividing it.
India is like a rainbow, where every individual colour is beautiful, but together it is spectacular.
(This is not an answer. Just an Idea on what lines you had to think.)
4.The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 can lead to defemenization of workforce. Do you agree? Critically analyse.
Your introduction should focus on importance of female participation in workforce. And also mention why maternity benefits are important.
Main feature for Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 ( Only for reference)
The Bill amends the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The Act regulates the employment of women during the period of child birth, and provides maternity benefits. The Act applies to factory, mines, plantations, shops and other establishments. The Bill amends provisions related to the duration and applicability of maternity leave, and other facilities.
Duration of maternity leave: The Act states that every woman will be entitled to maternity benefit of 12 weeks. The Bill increases this to 26 weeks.
Under the Act, this maternity benefit should not be availed before six weeks from the date of expected delivery. The Bill changes this to eight weeks.
In case of a woman who has two or more children, the maternity benefit will continue to be 12 weeks, which cannot be availed before six weeks from the date of the expected delivery.
Maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers: The Bill introduces a provision to grant 12 weeks of maternity leave to:
a woman who legally adopts a child below three months of age; and
a commissioning mother. A commissioning mother is defined as a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in another woman.
The 12-week period of maternity benefit will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother.
Option to work from home: The Bill introduces a provision that states that an employer may permit a woman to work from home. This would apply if the nature of work assigned to the woman permits her to work from home. This option can be availed of, after the period of maternity leave, for a duration that is mutually decided by the employer and the woman.
Crèche facilities: The Bill introduces a provision which requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide crèche facilities within a prescribed distance. The woman will be allowed four visits to the crèche in a day. This will include her interval for rest.
Informing women employees of the right to maternity leave: The Bill introduces a provision which requires every establishment to intimate a woman at the time of her appointment of the maternity benefits available to her. Such communication must be in writing and electronically.
How Maternity Benefit Bill,2016 can lead to defemenization of workforce?
Economic burden on employer: – crèches (capital cost), benefits in leave period (increased cost to employer), pressure on middle level companies.
Possibility of sub optimal productivity or demand of work with less workload
Patriarchy – tendency to discourage female employees, lesser pay.
No leave provision for father – Reinforcement of female’s role in child upbringing
Reluctance of a women to join after 26 weeks and change in project scenarios will needs adaptation.
Arguments against it:
Re- assurance that a woman can give time to her child and can do job also
Work from Home – will give an option for balancing between child and job
Positive work culture as natural need of a women is respected.
(You can add more points)
Your conclusion should say that we should look at the brighter side and do some improvements to overcome shortcomings. This step will lead to increase in female participation in long term.
According to India Labor and Employment Report 2014, low participation rate in India is due to low female LFPR impacted by various factors with care work distribution being one. Maternity benefit Bill 2016 which efforts to address the issue of maternity leave increasing it from 12 weeks to 26 weeks however faces the likely challenge of unwittingly discouraging female participation in spite of the aura it aims to create.
a) Various provisions like providing creche facility, multiple visits to it and increase in maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks may find employers finding it burdensome.
b) Although encouraging in the short run, in the long run would perpetuate and sustain gender gap in employment, as males would be seen less demanding vis-a-vis females when it come to maternity benefits, industry would be biased towards employing more males.
c) Less options, low pay and mobility in promotion may ultimately discourage women to stay back home and do household chores.
d) Those who wish to adopt a kid of age more than 3, surrogate mothers(altruistic), and single parents may also drop working to take care of kids although for short period but would make substantial affect.
Yet the bill endeavors to do much as follows:
a) The 26 week of maternity benefit and provision to work from home is win-win situation for both parties.
b) Crèche facility and multiple visits would encourage more women joining workforce.
No doubt this Bill is a much needed step for greater women participation but it must address issue of gender parity to prove sustainable in achieving the goal it endeavors to. Doing so it`ll surely go a long way in bringing women at par to men in their contribution to economic development.
Best Answer3: SherniZaad
The Maternity Benefits Bill 2016 aims to bring changes in the employment conditions of pregnant women by increasing their maternity leave and making many provisions which have resulted in the fear of defeminization of workforce in the following ways:-
1) Employer’s reluctance – provisions like increasing maternity leave and establishment of creche might put extra burden on employer’s work and resources – making them reluctant to provide jobs to women.
2) Work from home- based on mutual agreements might lead to assignment of job of lesser value to women and subsequently decrease in their salary.
3) Stereotypes – the Bill indirectly states the fact that women are solely responsible of taking care of children thus perpetuating patriarchal mindset which expects women to sit at home.
However, if we look at the other side of the coin, these provisions are more towards feminization because:-
1) Extending maternity leave and creche facilities will motivate women workers to remain in their jobs who otherwise choose to quit.
2) Work from home provisions will be a win win situation for both the parties as the work could also be done and babies could also be taken care of.
3) provisions expand the definition of mother ( biological and commissioning) thus increasing the scope of women’s employability.
The Bill is a positive step towards empowerment of the “better half” of the population however few loopholes like no paternity leave and threat of violation of equal pay for equal work due to mutual agreements need to be addressed for seeing effective and better results.
5. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 is a step in the right direction and was much due in the Indian social context. Discuss.
Some provisions of the Bill
Definition of a transgender person: The crux of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, is its recognition of gender identity as a non-binary. For the first time, a proposed legislation acknowledges the fact that the gender assigned at birth may not necessarily match the person’s own sense of the gender they belong to.
Certificate of identity for a transgender person: The Bill allows a transgender person to identify himself/ herself as ‘man’, ‘woman’ or ‘transgender’, while doing away with the nomenclature ‘Other’ that is currently in use.
Prohibition against discrimination: It protects transgenders from discrimination in education, employment, and the right to rent or buy property. Offenders can be jailed for 6 months to 2 years, and fined.
Healthcare: The Bill paves the way for a comprehensive healthcare strategy for transgenders, including mandating that the government should provide for sex reassignment surgery, hormonal therapy, counseling, separate HIV sero-surveillance centres, and insurance schemes.
Right of residence: Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household. It aims to ensure that such children are not separated from their families due to social stigma. In cases of abandonment, the state will provide rehabilitation centres.
Employment: No government or private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment, promotion, etc.
Welfare measures by the government: The Bill requires the government to create vocational training and welfare schemes for such persons.
Transgender community in India has been a subject of much ridicule, abuse and discrimination due to various sexual and social reasons. They have been facing the following problems in India:
Not even being considered as a separate gender till recently
Discrimination in employment, education, health and social alienation
Exploitation sexually, economically, socially, mentally and social stigma
Forced to resort to begging, prostitution, extortion
No welfare schemes and had no rights to live with dignity
Unlike an earlier draft of the Bill, the legislation introduced recently is a step in the right direction and was much due in the Indian social context.
The new provisions of the draft Bill ensures to address the above problems by –
Promoting tolerance towards non-conventional gender identities
removing stigma attached with transgenders with increased participation in public life
ensuring march towards more inclusive society in consonance with SDG 16
paving way for evolution of comprehensive right to gender expression
Best answer: SherniZaad
Trangenders are one of the most marginalized and abused communities in India since the time immemorial. In a bid to empower them in every aspect, government has come up with the Transgender Persons( protection of rights) Bill 2016 with following key provisions :-
Assignment of gender– Bill provides for assignment of gender from “others” to “transgender ” thus giving the community a sense of recognition.
Healthcare – mandates government to provide healthcare facilities including sex reassignment surgery, counselling, etc.
Removes social stigma– by making it illegal to discriminate against transgenders with respect to residence, public places, etc.
Penalties – offenders are punishable with jail terms.
Reservation – certifies non-SC/ST trangenders as OBCs benefiting them in education and employment
The Law was much due in Indian context because:-
Social stigma – transgenders were subjected to ill treatment and various forms of abuses.
Lost opportunities -they lacked any sign of development because of lack of recognition as any gender .
Social security – they were deprived of social security and various other government service facilities.
Although the Bill is put forward in high spirits, yet it lacks few provisions like no National/state level Commission , no special transgender courts, no self choice of gender,etc which if addressed could give it more teeth to bring about a change in the society. Moreover, the most important thing is to change the mind set of the society which is the root cause of such discriminatory and abusive attitude towards the transgenders.
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