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Caste in the Contemporary Times

Casteism in India is
one of the social problems that are prevalent in India. It refers to the hatred
for one caste by the other or the attempts of the members of one caste to gain
advantage for them to the detriment of the interest of the fellowmen of the
other castes. It is a result of the growing clash between various castes for
higher share in the socio economic privileges and power but the feelings of
deprivation are fanned mainly by a few individuals for their own benefits in
the name of the caste as a whole.

Kaka Kelelkar says that
casteism is an overriding blind and supreme group loyalty that ignores the
healthy social standards of justice, fair play, equality and universal
brotherhood. Prasad D.N. says that casteism is loyalty to the caste translated
into politics. The causes of casteism are the sense of caste prestige, marriage
restrictions, illiteracy, communication propaganda, etc. The effects of
casteism are the hindrance to the nationality, danger to democracy, moral
degradation etc.

The old use of the term
caste has changed in the present times. Now the members of the scheduled casts
are proud of saying that they belong to a particular case and are even adding
their caste names to their personal names. Caste sanctions have also become
weak and do not operate with the same force in all sections of Indian society. The
political use of caste is increasing day by day in every region of India. 
The structure and
function of caste system have weakened and the association between caste and
occupation is now a thing of the past. Many new occupations are being created
where people of all castes meet freely and work together.

After India gained
independence, the caste system has seen some drastic changes. Untouchability,
the most undesirable feature of the caste system, has received a severe setback
and is disappearing from the society. The caste panchayats used to wield all
the authority and the Brahmins enjoyed a superior position, however in the
modern times, village panchayats, trade unions, and the state are the exclusive
features and the supremacy of the Brahmins has vanished from the society.  

The Indian constitution
gives reservation to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the
Legislative Assembly and the House of the People in articles 332 and 330
respectively. They have also been given reservations in education, jobs and at
other places so that they are given an equal opportunity as compared to others
and also to take care of their financial interests.

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