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SYNOPSIS [11th NOVEMBER,2020] Day 27: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. Development of bicultural identity is an important effect of globalisation in India. Elucidate.
Approach – It is straightforward question; it expects students to write about – how biculturalism developed due to globalization. – Write multidimensional points – you need to support your argument by giving example.
Bicultural identity is the condition of being oneself regarding the combination of two
Cultures. The term can also be defined as biculturalism, which is the presence of two different cultures in the same country or region. This condition usually arises from impacts of globalization.
How biculturalism developed due to globalization:
- Indian and foreign cuisine: Historically, Indian spices and herbs were one of the most sought after trade commodities. Rich Indian gastronomy biryani, idli and dosa with Pizzas, burgers, Chinese foods and other Western foods have become quite popular shows the bicultural identity.
- Family: Due to globalization increasing migration coupled with financial independence has led to the breaking of joint families into nuclear ones. The western influence of individualism and Indian traditional value of Holism and joint family shows the development of bicultural identity.
- Mergers: Globalisation has resulted growing number of mergers and collaborations of Indian companies with MNCs or TNCs. Due to merger there is now two type of modes of production traditional Indian and western industrial.
- Access to education: Existence of gurukul parampara and modern technical education due to globalization is the bicultural phenomenon.
- Mixed state of economy: With the increasing disinvestment of public sector, privatisation was encouraged meanwhile the state continues to be a welfare state performing all the protection functions as well as several social functions builds the bicultural identity of Indian economy.
- Performing Indian arts: Due impact of globalization Indian traditional art forms has got crystallised into bicultural identity. Changing trends in performing arts rarely manifest themselves with dramatic abruptness. They usually creep up silently, changing practices and traditions stealthily, but resolutely.
- Transportation: Improved transport, making global travel easier. For example, there has been a rapid growth in air-travel, enabling greater movement of people and goods across the globe. But meanwhile Indian traditional transport system existence shows the bicultural identity.
- Higher Disposable Incomes: People in cities working in high paying jobs have greater income to spend on lifestyle goods. There has been an increase in the demand of products like meat, egg, pulses, organic food as a result. It has also led to protein inflation. But Indian poverty and hunger crisis depicts Indian bicultural identity with high disposable income households.
- Clothing: Traditional Indian clothes for women are the saris, suits, etc. and for men, traditional clothes are the dhoti, kurta. Rather, Indo-western clothing, the fusion of Western and Sub continental fashion is in trend. Wearing jeans, t-shirts, miniskirts have become common among Indian girls.
- Pervasive Media: There is greater access to news, music, movies, and videos from around the world. Foreign media houses have increased their presence in India. India’s various states film industries existence and new OTT platform streaming both western and Indian content sense the true nature of biculturalism.
We cannot say that the impact of globalization has been totally positive or totally negative. It has been both. Each impact mentioned above can be seen as both positive as well as negative. However, it becomes important to study the bicultural phenomenon with India being more globalized and glocalized with speedy mass media and huge technological transfers.
2. Poor people’s involvement in local associations and inter-community cooperation mechanisms can contribute to social empowerment. Do you agree? Substantiate.
Approach – It is straightforward question, where it expects students to – write how poor people’s involvement in local associations and inter-community cooperation mechanisms can contribute to social empowerment – while in last part mention few counter arguments.
Social empowerment is a means to build a socially just society. It is understood as the process of developing a sense of autonomy and self-confidence, and acting individually and collectively to change social relationships and the institutions and discourses that exclude poor people and keep them in poverty. The holistic empowerment of all sections of the society is a necessary condition for the development of a country.
Poor people’s involvement in local associations and inter-community cooperation mechanisms can contribute to:
- Social empowerment by improving their skills, knowledge and self-perception. Local associations also act as self-help mechanisms through which poor people organise their economic activities, such as farming cooperatives, or microfinance groups.
- It is also important to recognise that associational life at the local level takes place predominantly within the informal sphere, such as religious organisations, traditional and customary institutions, and informal community based groups. It is these organisations that exert the most influence on poor people’s lives.
- Vulnerable groups, such as the very poor, women and marginalised communities can often lack the skills and confidence to engage in community decision-making. For example, Manual scavengers in India are inadequately organised which perpetuates their poverty cycle.
- With help of local association and inter-community cooperation mechanism poor people’s skills in various required fields can be increased. It will help them to find suitable work and then it will lead to their empowerment.
- Even second ARC suggest community participation in facilitation of urban services, can ensures inclusive access and empowerment.
- Political and social empowerment can possible if groups formed to take part in social audit of schemes.
- Women from different background can come together and participate in economic activities in SHGs. E.g.: Kudumbashree
- Various NGO’s take part in poor people’s education, tribal upliftment, environmental sustainability etc. all these ensure social empowerment.
However, this does not reality in all cases,
- In some cases, local association and inter community cooperation lead to rise of few leaders then they empower only themselves.
- Differences of social status (caste, religion) among poor lead to throttle any enduring association.
Empowerment and pro-poor growth form a virtuous cycle. Mutually reinforcing economic, social and political aspects of empowerment allows people to move out of poverty through participating in, contributing to and benefitting from growth processes which further help in achieving national ideals.
3. Examine the role of economic competition, especially among the lower and middle class strata, in fuelling communal ideology.
Approach – It expects students to write about – role of economic competition among the lower and middle class strata, in fuelling communal ideology while in last mention about how other factor also contribute to communal violence.
Communalism, in a broad sense means a strong attachment to one’s own community. In popular discourse in India, it is understood as unhealthy attachment to one’s own religion. It’s an ideology that, in order to unify the community, suppresses distinctions within the community and emphasizes the essential unity of the community against other communities.
Role of economic competition among the lower and middle class strata in fuelling communal ideology:
- Historical instances like Moplah Rebellion where poor Muslim peasants rose against exploitative Hindu landlords.
- Business rivalry: Shops and establishment of people belonging to other communities are burned. This is supported to gain market for perpetrator.
- Struggle for resources: In post-independence era, incidents of competition for resources, market led to communal hatred.
- By ensuring economic dominance, people can also control local politics. Like in Jabalpur riot (1960’s), there was extensive use of religion for gaining advantage in business.
- Lack of opportunities: lack of education and employment among Muslim youth leading to alienation and religious radicalisation.
- Scarce resources/market: since, lower and middle strata engage in small and peaty business, so even meagre increment reflected as huge gain.
But, other than economic competition following are other factors too:
- Invoking passion: so, people forget humanity and work on basis of religion affinity.
- Political ends are served: There are designated rumour mongers who spread hate.
Communalism cannot be accepted as the necessary evil in the society. It is detrimental to the development, social change, democracy and the federal feature of the State. Jawaharlal Nehru had pointed out the issue and termed it as the greatest danger. And so he said that anyone who loves India would hate communalism and anyone who hates India would love communalism.
4. In a pluralistic society, the best way to promote secularism is to expand religious freedom rather than strictly practicing state neutrality. Do you agree? Critically comment.
Approach – As the directive here is critically comment, it is expected to stay neutral and write various facts and viewpoints regarding the particular statement. It is necessary to be fair in arguments and with opinions based on evidence. In the introduction part you can explain what secularism is and why its promotion is necessary in a pluralistic society. In the main body part it is expected to put both sides views i.e. pros and cons of expansion of religious freedom and strictly practising state neutrality. In the conclusion one can give their respective opinion backed by evidences. A balanced way forward will fetch more marks.
A pluralistic society is a diverse one, where the people in it believe all kinds of different things and tolerate each other’s beliefs even when they don’t match their own. Secularism in this context is based on the values of tolerance, ignorance, mutual respect. However, due to diversified views regarding the ways to promote secularism the debate between expansions of religious freedom vs. strictly practicing state neutrality arises.
Strict practice of observing state neutrality:
- In the West secularism is conceived as separation of state and religion. The Western secularism means total non-interference of state and religion in the functioning of each other.
- For instance, in France the killing of a middle-school history teacher and followed up killings in French city of Nice brought France’s unique model of secularism into spotlight which observes neutral views with respect to religious freedoms.
- French concept of secularism is known as ‘laïcitéis’. It’s a key component of French citizenship. It encompasses not simply the formal separation of Church and State, but also the removal of religious values from the public space and their replacement with secular values such as liberty, equality, and fraternity.
- It has caused social tension in French society and pushed the country to re-articulate its liberal values in a way that lessens its internal tensions. This model of secularism is based on the notion that if a state stays away from religion or opts to be neutral with regards to matters of religion, then it is truly promoting secularism.
- This model of secularism views society as a melting pot model of society. Where religious differences, socio-cultural views are not starkly observable.
- However, the approach of practising state neutrality gets into conflict with rights of minorities. For instance, the attacks in France due religious tensions reiterates this view.
- A pluralistic society is a multi-religious and heterogeneous society. However, viewing it as a homogenous might spread discontent among the oppressed and minority sections of population. For instance, the lone wolf attack in the USA.
- Infringement on Right to freedom of religion: It is argued that it’s a disguised form of anti-clericalism and infringement on individual right to religious expression, and that, instead of promoting freedom of thought and freedom of religion, it prevents the believer from observing his or her religion.
- Instead of enhancing social harmony, it might exacerbate religious and racial tensions in the society.
State being neutral appears to be not in synergy with the emergence of multiculturalism. However, philosophical underpinning of Indian model of Secularism can prove to be better in a pluralistic society to promote religion.
Expanding religious freedom:
- Equal Respect to all religions: Indian philosophy of secularism gives equal respect to all religion. Our ancient saying of ‘SARV DHARMA SAMBHAV’ is the basis for this.
- Even our constitution grants Religious freedom to all through its Right to freedom of religion (Article 25-28). Which shows that any person belonging to any religion is free to profess her religion.
- Promotion of religious freedom addresses religious plurality and seeks to achieve peaceful coexistence of different religions. For instance, in India people of different religions co-exist peacefully with each other since Ancient times.
- Promotion of religious freedom deals not only with the religious freedom of individuals but also with the religious freedom of minority communities. For instance, it gives equal respect to all religions or protection of all religious views equally.
- It makes society more liberal, in a sense that it is not neutral rather accepts every religion in a broader sense. It allows its citizens to preach whatever religion they want to follow.
- This kind of promotion of religious freedom to all symbolises the Salad Bowl model of society where people of different religions, faiths, beliefs live in harmony with each other. In fact, this makes the society more harmonious, peaceful.
- The promotion of religious freedom to all and not following the strict separation of state from religion allows the state to intervene and modify derogatory practises of religion. For instance, triple talaq issue.
However, strict separation of religion and promotion of expanding religious freedom have other sides too.
- As per the western model of secularism, the “State” and the “religion” have their own separate spheres and neither the state nor the religion shall intervene in each other’s affairs. Which makes the function of state simple, and the functioning of state is not affected by the religion.
- For instance, in Indian polity major factor which influences state’s function is religion whereas in USA or in France religion does not that much influences politics. It helps the state functionary to be neutral thus helps in effective implementation of welfare policies.
- Having a religious freedom do sometimes affect the social harmony and thus creates social tensions in the society due to acts of some unscrupulous elements. For instance, Cow slaughter in the name of religious freedom.
Though the expansion of religious freedom has its own lacunas, due to its value of tolerance, the best approach to promote secularism is to expand religious freedom rather than strictly practicing state neutrality in a pluralistic society. It becomes people’s responsibility to ensure value-education that makes the upcoming generation understand and appreciate own as well others religious views that will help to ensure to realise the true meaning of secularism in its letter and spirit.
5. Linguistic aspirations have played a major role in promoting regionalism. Analyse.
Approach – A straightforward question where in you need to analyse the role of linguistic aspirations in promoting regionalism in India.
Regionalism is an ideology and political movement that seeks to advance the causes of regions where regionalism can have positive as well as negative impact on society, polity, diplomacy, economy, security, culture, development, negotiations, etc. Roots of regionalism is in India’s manifold diversity of languages, cultures, ethnic groups, communities, religions and so on, and encouraged by the regional concentration of those identity markers as well as fuelled by a sense of regional deprivation.
- In a diverse country like India, each and every individual, community carries a kind of sub-national identity because of affinity to particular region, ethnicity, history, language, culture etc.
- Here language serves as an important identifying factor. Further, it’s role in promoting regionalism can be seen from the following points:
- India has 22 official languages that is recognised by the constitution. But there are around 1635 mother tongues as per 2001 census. The mother tongue of a person creates a profound attachment to his own language and hence the identity of belonging also develops.
- This linguistic aspect has been a major factor in the formation of states during post independent India. Apart from emotional attachment, it also created tensions in the early days of independent India.
- Hindi has been envisaged by the constitution to be promoted as a Lingua Franca (connecting language or a common language). But there has been widespread agitation against this move from non-Hindi speaking states. For Example, The Anti Hindi agitations in Tamil Nadu.
- In the present day, the unity of our country is threatened due to differences in languages. Linguistic differences discourage people to travel from one area to another. For example, attacks on migrants from different states in some states of India by nativist parties.
- Residing and settling in any part of India is a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution but linguistic differences create discomfort and confusion for taking up jobs and make a living. Thus people prefer more to work and settle in their respective regions. This prevents the intermingling of people from different states.
- Language also plays a role in exposure to a set of ideas and upbringing. For example Bollywood and Hindi TV channels are mostly followed by Hindi speaking states whereas movies, music and shows based on regional languages are followed by people belonging to that region. This inhibits informal conversations based on tastes and preferences.
Furthermore, it is necessary to know that the formation of states on linguistic basis has rationalised the political map of India in more than one way and was not necessarily a negative aspect –
- The formation of these states changed the nature of democratic politics and leadership. The path to politics and power was now open to people speaking regional languages rather than the small English speaking elite.
- It led to the local people participating in the administration in a larger number because of being able to communicate in a common language.
- Events since 1956 have clearly shown that loyalty to a language is quite complementary to the unity of the nation where by reorganizing the states on linguistic lines, the national leadership removed a major grievance which could have led to fissiparous tendencies.
- Linguistic reorganization of the states has not in any manner adversely affected the federal structure of the Union or weakened or paralysed the Centre as many had feared.
At the same time, it is also important to note that regionalism has multiple other factors for its intensification where –
- Regionalism in India also has a religious dimension. India was united with Pakistan before independence. Also, the violent demand for an independent country of Khalistan in the 1980s was based on Sikh religion.
- Economic factors also contribute to the development of regionalism. Some states and regions are better in terms of development like infrastructure, healthcare, job opportunities etc. For example, economic factors caused problems between regions of states like Jharkhand and Telangana were based on lack of development.
- The problem of Naxalism has its roots in economic deprivation of people belonging to this region.
- India is home to as many as 645 Scheduled tribes as recognised by the constitution. These ethnic differences formed the base for demands for political autonomy and secession. For example, the Nagas of Nagaland are demanding a nation based on their ethnic identity.
The unique Indian ethos of Unity in Diversity needs to be preserved for the pluralistic character of the Indian nation state to be successfully sustained where the role of National Integration council must be revamped to solve conflicting regional aspirations and usher-in a vibrant and united “New India”.