India: Social expectations of 2019 are the real challenge: people aspire even more

Image result for india caste politics
Image credit: rightlog.in

The results of general elections of 17th Loksabha held in April-May 2019 witnessed more zeal and expectations on the part of Indian masses from the BJP and its allies(NDA) in comparison to 2014. In the last five years when Narendra Modi took over the premiership of India for the first time, there was no any radical or visible forward movement in rural/urban socio-economic , but several projects and schemes initiated by Modi government after taking over has, no doubt, raised hope for future. The new government is hoped to launch many more new programs in its second inning apart from marked development on previous schemes. Corruption in public life was no less pinching, but no major scam was noticed, and a large number of people belonging to different strata of society have retained a hope from the new team formed by Modi, day after the oath. Thus, in the coming years to balance the glaring disparity of Indian masses would remain the biggest challenge for this government. In fact, people want a substantial improvement not only in the socio-economic sphere but on all counts as well. This hope may prove a disaster if the present dispensation fails to perform as desired by the people.

Glaring disparity everywhere

Today, there are significant contrasts between traditional India and modern high-tech and Westernised India. In the old days, Indian society was dominated by a large number of poor people with a small elite characterized by flamboyant maharajas and a middle class made up mostly civil servants. These classes primarily exist today except the middle class is more diverse and , and the small elite includes industrialists and high tech entrepreneurs as well as large landowners. Hindus have traditionally looked to the caste system and religion to create order and structure in society. Government has historically been looked upon as something that maintained society and kept anarchy from breaking out.

Consequently, India is justly famous for its complex social systems. It is multifaceted to an extent, perhaps unknown in any other of the world’s great civilizations. The ethnic and linguistic diversity of Indian culture is more like the diversity of an area as variable as Europe than like of that of any other single nation-state. Living within the embrace of the Indian nation are vast numbers of different regional, social, and economic groups, each with different cultural practices. Throughout the country, religious differences can be significant, especially between the Hindu majority and the large Muslim minority; and other Indian groups-Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Jews, Parsis Sikhs and practitioners of tribal religions-all pride themselves on being unlike members of other faith.

These apart, access to wealth and power varies considerably, and vast differences in socioeconomic status are evident everywhere. The poor and the wealthy live side by side in urban and rural areas. It is common in city life to see a prosperous, well-fed man or woman chauffeured in a beautiful car pass gaunt street dwellers, huddled beneath burlap shelters along the roadway. Likewise in many villages, substantial cement houses of landowners rise not far from the flimsy thatched shacks of landless laborers. But crosscutting and permeating all of these differences of region, language, wealth, status, religion, urbanity, and gender is the distinctive feature of Indian society that has received the most attention from observers: caste. Caste and caste-like groups-these quintessential groups with which almost all Indians are associated-are ranked. Within most village or towns, everyone knows the relative rankings of each locally represented caste, and people’s behavior toward one another is continuously shaped by this knowledge. Castes are primarily associated with Hinduism but also exist among other Indian religious groups.

In the circumstances, social justice in India seeks to remove the glaring inequalities in a society based on such a hierarchical caste system, with its graded disabilities from birth imposed on a large number of Hindu culture and the conferment of privileges and position of dominance. In traditional Indian society, the basis of hierarchy and existence of social inequalities was the idea of purity and pollution. In modern industrial society, the foundation of inequalities is an achievement, which is the result of open and fair competition. People accepted status hierarchies so long they linked caste with religion. And this linkages continued up to the 1920s and the 1930s of the twentieth century. The contacts with western culture spread of education and the process of industrialization and urbanization changed people’s ideas. They started human-made inequalities. The political independence of the country provided further opportunity to raise the question of inequalities and demand social justice.

In general various welfare legislation enacted during the post-independence era. The establishment of Human Rights Commission, Women Commission, Family Courts, Industrial Tribunals, Administrative Tribunals Ombudsman, Panchayati Raj, and Lok Adalats are only few illustrations to suggest that the sole objective is to make justice available to common man and ameliorate the sufferings of masses including women, children and other neglected and weaker sections of society. The law relating to consumers protection, dowry prohibition, the abolition of bonded labor, control of environment pollution has been enacted to provide social justice. However, in the post-independence era, the definition of social justice seems to have changed colloquially. It is now identified solely with reservation, which in the country has become a political necessity as well. Now no political party can afford to initiate any debate on the relevance of reservation policy; leave aside revising the policy. Although the judiciary, in such a scenario, has often been forced to take up a stand against the politicization of reservations, the caste-based reservation policy is a sensitive issue, and there are arguments on both sides.

Overdue social justice

After the independence of the county in August 1947 social justice gained a new impetus. The rule of law and the legal system were strengthened considerably. In the context, the constitution of India became the main inspiration for making a variety of legislation. It paved for the country adoption of a constitution embodying the social philosophy and economic values towards the attainment of an egalitarian welfare state. A separate chapter on fundamental rights and freedom and a chapter on directive principles of state policy comprising social rights has been incorporated in the constitution of India, and the judges have endeavored to harmonize the individual rights with the social interests of the community through their judicial decisions. The function of law is now to resolve the conflict between the right of an individual and the interests of society. As such, now there is no conflict between fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy as both are aimed at ushering an egalitarian society for the welfare of the nation as a whole. Earlier, the framers of the constitution realized that unless unequal are treated equally, the socio-economic, political, regional, and gender gaps could not be bridged. The compelling social situation led to the creation of special provisions in the constitution for the advancement of socially and economically backward classes of citizens. The positive discrimination was thought of as a policy mechanism to realize the social goals set before the nation and as a means by which the backward citizens could reach the mainstream to achieve social justice. Thus for the formation of socialistic pattern of society based on equality, liberty, and fraternity, it laid down specific provisions in the constitution of India for the social justice and development of downtrodden India, as part of national commitment.

New social commitments

Of the county in August 1947 social justice gained a new impetus. The rule of law and the legal system were strengthened considerably. In the context, the constitution of India became the main inspiration for making a variety of legislation. It paved for the country adoption of a constitution embodying the social philosophy and economic values towards the attainment of an egalitarian welfare state. A separate chapter on fundamental rights and freedom and a chapter on directive principles of state policy comprising social rights has been incorporated in the constitution of India, and the judges have endeavored to harmonize the individual rights with the social interests of the community through their judicial decisions. The function of law is now to resolve the conflict between the right of an individual and the interests of society. As such, now there is no conflict between fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy as both are aimed at ushering an egalitarian society for the welfare of the nation as a whole. Earlier, the framers of the constitution realized that unless unequal are treated equally, the socio-economic, political, regional, and gender gaps could not be bridged. The compelling social situation led to the creation of special provisions in the constitution for the advancement of socially and economically backward classes of citizens. The positive discrimination was thought of as a policy mechanism to realize the social goals set before the nation and as means by which the backward citizens could reach the mainstream to achieve social justice Thus for the formation of socialistic pattern of society based on equality, liberty, and fraternity, it laid down specific provisions in the constitution of India for the social justice and development of downtrodden India, as part of national commitment.

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

SAJ on Facebook

SAJ Socials

   

Top Authors