Under the impact of certain powerful factors Caste System in undergoing drastic changes in modern India. The factors affecting Caste System are as follows.
1) Modern Education:
Modern education plays a vital role in diminishing the importance of Caste System in Indian Society Modern education is based upon secular principles and domestic values. On the one hand, it gives importance to the democratic ideals like equality, liberty and fraternity and on the other hand, expands scientific look like reason and observation.
Due to spread of modern education, the educated people deviate the principles of divine origin of caste, inherited inequality, hereditary occupation karma and Karmaphals which are the direct results of Caste System, as modern education is usually imparted in the co-educational institutional it encourages inter-caste marriage based on love, among the educated young men and women. This modern education acts as a very powerful force against caste in India.
The present age is the age of modernisation. Due to the progress of science, the process of industrialisation has taken place in India. As a result to this industrialisation, the tradition of caste of past has come into disuse. Now-a-days, members of all caste have sought and got employment in the modern factories and industries and work together.
Thus, it is not possible for a person to respect the restrictions on social intercourse which are predetermined by Caste System. For example, a Brahmin, who works by the side of an untouchable in a factory, cannot avoid his shadow. Similarly in different factories and Government offices, the people of lower caste occupy higher posts and the people of higher caste works as their sub-ordinate employee.
Urbanisation is the direct result of industrialisation. As city is the collection of different people irrespective of caste, religion, Varna, language and so on, it is difficult to practice caste restrictions. It is because, in a city, one individual cannot know the caste or another individual under the impact of urban civilisation, the ideas of pollution by touch of shadow is gradually deteriorated among the minds of the urban people.
4) Rapid Development of Transportation and Communication:
Rapid development of transportation and communication are also responsible for the disintegration of Caste System to some extent. In India, due to the industrial development, the different type of modern means of transportation like buses, trams, trains and so on are invented and it is impossible to observe caste rules, regarding food, drink and social intercourse while at the time of traveling in these means.
Inter-communication deeply influences the village community and brings rapid change in its customs, traditions and usages. At the time of traveling in buses or trains the people of all castes pay equal behavior to each other. Thus, modern means of transportation have increased special mobility of the people and thereby put an end to the geographical isolation, which was a favorable condition for the creation of Caste System in India.
5) Social Reform Movement:
The abolition of various social problems which are created by the Caste System in Indian society is the main aim of social reforms movement. Raja Rammohan Ray, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Acharya Harihar, Swami Vivekananda, Ramkrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vinova Vave were the main exponents of this social reform movement and they try to remove Caste System and touch ability from the society. In this field, the role of Brahman Samaj, Arya Samaj, Prathana Samaj and Ramakrishna Mission is highly appreciated.
6) Political Movement:
Indian Caste System is deeply affected by the political movement. After independence, for the abolition of Caste System, political movement was started in India Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation, was the main advocate of this movement. He raises his voice against the Caste System and says “un touch ability is the hatefulness expression of Caster System and crime against God and human being.”
The main aim of political movement was to abolish all discriminatory practices based on caste, creed, and sex. This movement created a strong public opinion against Caste System in India. Therefore, political movement is the great enemy of Caste System.
7) Religious Movement:
The various religious movements are directly responsible for the decline of Caste System in India. Among these, Arya Samaj movement of Swamy Dayananda Saraswati, Brahma Samaj movement of Raja Rammohan Ray, Ramakrishna Mission movement of Ramakrishan Paramahansa and Prathana Samaj movement of Justice Mahadeb Govind Chandra Ranady were very important. The main aim of this movement is to remove or eradicate untouchability and superiority-inferiority feeling in the society.
8) Introduction of Inter-caste Marriage:
In the past, Caste System created many restrictions on the principle of marriage. Each caste and sub-caste is known as an endogamous group and there by, the members have to marry within their own caste. Inter caste marriage was strictly prohibited Hindu Society. But the Hindu Marriage the entire barricades of Caste System and introduces inter-caste marriage in a wider range.
According to the provision of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 a man of higher caste marriage a woman of lower caste. As a result, all the members of caste marry according to their sweet will.
9) Increase in the importance of Wealth:
In the present century, wealth is replacing birth as the basis of social prestige. Consequently, Caste System, which is based on birth, is no longer the basis of social status, as a rich Shudra is more respected than a poor Brahmin in modern society. People choosing their occupations; give more consideration to income rather than anything.
10) Inter-communal Marriage:
This is a new factor which affecting Caste System in the present century to some extent. By inter-communal marriage, we mean marriage outside the community. The marital relationship between the Hindus and the Muslim is called inter-communal marriage. This type marriage was strictly prohibited in Indian Society due to the rigid principles of Castes System.
But now-a-days inter-communal marriage is possible to the in fact of modernisation. As a result, some people of India marry outside their community. As a consequence, all the restrictions of caste relating of marriage are gradually deteriorating.
11) Government efforts:
Lastly, several efforts of the Government have deeply affected the Caste System. After independence, the Central Government has taken many steps to eradicate all social evils which have been created by the Caste System. The “un touch ability offences Act of 1995” come into existence as the first step of the Government of India.
According to this Act, untouchability is a crime and the man who encourages it is penalysed by rupees five hundred or six months imprisonment or in both the punishment. On the other hand, for the all-around development of lower caste people, the Government has given preferences to them in the sphere of jobs, education and industries.
According to the constitution of India, the state cannot discriminate the people on the basis of caste, religion, color, sex and so on. The Article 15(2) of the religion and colour. It is declared in the constitution that it is a crime to deprive untouchable of the public place, temple, hotel, school and so on. As a result the backbone of all castes has been broken.