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Gender, Religion & Caste By Mr. SiddharthChandrasekar
What Disadvantages Do Women Face? Literacy Rate - 54% for women.76% for men showing disparity Smaller proportion of girls go for higher studies Preferential treatment meted out to boy`s education rather than for girls Proportion of women among highly paid and valued job is small Equal wages Act provides equal wages but discrimination continues in sports, cinema, factories and fields Preference to have sons and abortion of girl child Sex selective abortions have led to decline in child sex ratio Various types of harassment, exploitation and violence Urban areas too have become unsafe for women
Solution To This Problem… To make it legally binding to have a fair proportion of women in elected bodies Reservation of 1/3 seats in local bodies 10 lakh elected representatives in rural and urban local bodies Demand for 1/3 seats in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies
Give A Few Instances That Involve Relationship Between Religion & Politics. Gandhiji believed that politics must be guided by ethics drawn from religion Human rights groups demanding the Government to take special steps to protect religious minorities Women`s movements want Government to change family laws to make it equitable
Communalism… To place ones community above everything including the nation When does it begin? When religion is seen as the basis of the nation When does it become acute? When religion is expressed in politics in exclusive and partisan terms When one religion and its followers are pitted against the other
Communalism… What factors promote communalism? Beliefs of one religion are presented as superior to those of other religions. When demands of one religious group are formed in opposition to another. When state power is used to establish domination of one religious group over the rest. What is Communal Politics? It is based on the idea that religion is the principal basis of social community.
Communalism… What Do Communalists Think? Followers of one religion must belong to one community. Their fundamental interests are same. People who follow different religions cannot belong to the same social community.
Communalism… What forms can Communalism take in Politics? It involves religious prejudices, stereotypes of religious communities and belief in the superiority of one`s religion over other religions. Communal mind leads to a quest for Political dominance of one’s own religious communities. If it is a Majority community – Majoritarian Dominance. If it is a Minority community – It forms a separate Political Unit. Political mobilisation – using symbols, religious leader`s emotional appeal and plain fear in order to bring the followers of one religion together in political arena. Communal violence.
Secular State… There is no official religion for India. Constitution does not offer special status to any religion. Constitution provides to all freedom to profess, practice and propagate any religion. Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion. State will intervene in matters of religion to ensure equality within religious communities. It bans un-touchability.
Caste & Politics… Hereditary occupational division sanctioned by rituals. Members of the same caste group formed similar occupation, married within the caste and did not eat with members from other caste groups.
Efforts Taken to Check Casteism… Political leaders and social reformers like JOTHIBHA PHULE,GANDHIJI,AMBEDKAR and EVR PERIYAR have done a lot to check casteism. Socio economic changes have brought in a check. Large scale urbanisation. Literacy and education. Occupational mobility. Weakening of the position of landlords. Constitution prohibited caste based discrimination.
Caste & Politics… Why is there a disproportionately large presence of Upper Caste among Urban Middle Class ? Groups that did not have access to education were prohibited from acquiring it have lagged behind.
Caste can take various forms in Politics… During the choice of candidates before an election , care is taken that the composition of electorate and nomination of candidates from different castes to muster support to win elections. During formation of Governments, political parties take care that representatives of different castes and tribes find a place in it. To make appeals to caste sentiment to muster support. Universal adult franchise - one person one vote.
Elections are all about Caste & nothing else… No parliamentary constituency has a clear majority of one single caste. Every candidate /party must win the confidence of more than one caste and community to win elections. No party wins the votes of all voters of a caste /community. Many political parties may put up candidates from same caste. Ruling party /sitting MP losing election could not have happened if all castes and communities were frozen in political preferences.
What forms does Caste take when it is Politicised? Caste group becomes big by including neighbouring castes. Party enters into a coalition with other castes. Rise of backward caste and forward caste group.
Effects of Exclusive Attention to Caste… Is negative. Politics based on caste identity alone is not healthy. Diverts attention from poverty ,development and corruption. Leads to tension, conflict and even violence.
Popular Struggle & Movements
Nepal… Won democracy in 1990. Formal power was with the King. Real power with elected representatives. 2001 – Massacre of Royal Family, Gyanendra took charge. 2005 – Dissolution of Parliament. 2006 - Popular control over Govt. headed by the King. 7 Party alliance called for a 4 day strike. Maoists & other organisations joined. 21st April, King conceded to all demands leading to : Restoration of Parliament. Seizure of power from the Ruler. To make Koirala Prime Minister. Maoists & SPA came to an agreement about a new constituent assembly to be elected.
Bolivia… Fight against Privatisation of Water World Bank pressurised Government to give up control of Municipal Water supply. Sale of rights to a MNC for the City of Cochabamba. Company raised the price of water 4 times. 4 day general strike by Labour and Human Rights and Community leaders. Government agreed to negotiate. Power of the people forced MNC to flee & made Government to concede to all demands. Water supply was restored to municipality at old rates.
Two way roles of these organisations are … Direct participation in competitive politics Creation of parties contesting elections and forming Governments
Formation of Organisations… Those organisations that undertake activities to promote their interest are called INTEREST GROUPS or PRESSUREGROUPS. PRESSURE GROUPS : Influence Government policies Do not aim at directly controlling or sharing political power. Formed when people with common occupation, interests, aspirations or opinions come together to achieve a common objective.
Pressure Groups… Movements : Narmada BachaoAndolan Women’s Movement Influence politics rather than directly take part in electoral competition They are loose organisations Make informal decisions and are flexible They depend on spontaneous mass participation
Interest Groups… Are united organisations Do not care much for mass participation Promote the interest of a particular section or group of society Example : Trade Unions, Business Associations & Professional Bodies Sectional Groups…
Represent a section of society
Example : Workers, Employees, Business Groups, Industrialists, Followers of Religion & Caste Groups
Aims : Betterment of their members & not society in general
Groups… FEDECOR (FeracionDepartamentalCochabambina de Regantes) Represents some common or general interest that needs to be defended. Members may not benefit from the cause that the organisation represents. Promotional Groups Promote collective good Aim to help groups rather than their own members Group fighting against bonded labour is an example They are also called public interest groups
Groups… BAMCEF(Backward & Minorities Community Employees Federation) Made of Govt. employees that campaigns against caste discrimination It addresses problems of its members who suffer discrimination Its concern is with social justice and social equality for the entire society Movement Groups Issue specific movements and seek to achieve a single objective within a limited time frame
Single Issue Movements… Nepalese Movement Specific objective of reviving the king’s orders that led to suspension of democracy Narmada BachaoAndolan Specific issue of people displaced by creation of SardarSarovar Dam Objective To stop the dam Questioned all such big dams and requirement of such dams Has a clear leadership and organisation Active life is short
Long Term & More Than One Issue Movements… No single organisation controls /guides such movements. All these have a separate organisation, independent leadership and different views on policy. Example : Environmental movement Women’s movement
National Alliance for People’s Movements(NAPM)… Movement groups struggling on specific issues are constituents of this loose organisation which co ordinates the activities of a large number of people`s movements
How do Pressure Groups & Movements exert influence on Politics ? They gain public support and sympathy for their goals by carrying out information campaigns, meetings and petitions. They influence media by giving attention to these issues Protest activities like strikes are done to force the Government to take note of their demand Business groups employ professional lobbyists or sponsor expensive advertisements They participate in official bodies and committees that offer advice to the Government Sometimes political parties grow out of movements Example DMK and AIADMK
Groups… Interest groups and movements do not directly engage in politics but seek to influence on political parties Movement groups take a political stance without being a party They have political ideologies and position on major issues Is their influence healthy? Pressure groups have deepened democracy. Governments can often come under undue pressure from a small group of rich and powerful people Public interest groups and movements perform a useful role of countering this influence and reminding the Government of the needs and concerns of ordinary citizens Sectional groups prevents the domination of one group over the rest They bring about a rough balance of power and accommodation of conflicting interests