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Caste and Politics


Caste division is special to India. Caste system originated through occupational division and was sanctioned by rituals and religion. Members of a caste married within the caste group and did not eat with members of the other caste groups.


Caste system in India has undergone great changes due to the following:

  1. Activities of social reformers
  2. Economic changes
  3. Large scale urbanisation
  4. Growth of literacy and education
  5. Occupational mobility
  6. Weakening of the position of landlords in villages

Prohibition of Caste Discrimination


The Constitution of India prohibits any caste-based discrimination and has laid the foundation of policies to reverse the injustices of the caste system.

  • Article 14—All are equal before the law.
  • Article 15—No discrimination under caste, creed, sex, etc.
  • Article 17—Abolition of untouchability.

Caste in Politics


Caste can take various forms in politics:

  1. When parties choose candidates during elections, they keep in mind the caste composition of the electorate.
  2. Political parties and candidates in elections make appeals to caste sentiment to muster support.
  3. No parliamentary constituency in the country has a clear majority of one single caste.
  4. No party wins the votes of all voters of a caste or community. When people say that a caste is a ‘vote bank’ of one party, it usually means that a large proportion of voters from that cast vote for that party.

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