Casteism is a peculiar evil of Rural India. It is closely connected with the Caste System. Therefore, casteism is basically old rural problem and it exists only due to the one sides or particle loyalty in favour of a particular caste.
From the ancient period, Caste system divides the whole Hindu Society into a number of groups. The members of such groups are deeply motivated by a strong we feeling and blind caste loyalty.
When the members of a particular caste-group want to secure their interests and blindly work against the interests of other castes, casteism originated. Therefore, casteism refers to emotional inclination towards a caste. But the existence of caste feeling in a society where it signifies a specific social status does not pertain to casteism. The sense of caste is converted to the casteism only when the members of a particular caste consider themselves as superior and want to secure the interests of their own caste contradiction to other castes.
Thus casteism in a blind group loyalty towards one’s own caste or sub caste which does not care for the interests of other caste and seeks to realise the social economic, political and other interests of its own group. It refers to snobbery, violence and hostility attitudes of a particular caste against the member of another caste. Casteism has crept every sphere of life. It has become an open fact that the strength of casteism is growing day by day.
Definition of Casteism:
Casteism has been popularly defined by many scholars in different ways. Following are the important definition of casteism.
According to Kaka Kalekar, “casteism in an over ridding, blind and supreme group loyalty that ignores the health social standard of justice, fair play, equality and universal brother.”
R.N.Sharma says “casteism is a blind group loyalty towards one’s own caste or sub-caste which does not care for the interests of other castes and seeks to realise the social, economic, political and other interests of its own groups.”
K.M.Panikkar defines casteism is the loyalty to the sub-caste translated into political.
D.N.Prasad opines “casteism is a loyalty to the caste translated into politics. In this way caste has been dragged into political arena in the form of casteism such as “Brahmivada” and “Kayasthavada”.
Causes of Casteism:
Casteism is a serious problem of rural India which has multiple causes. The following causes are mainly responsible for the growth of growth of casteism in India.
1) Social Inequality:
Social inequality is the hate fullest expression of Caste System. Under Caste System, the whole Hindu society is divided into two broad groups, higher and lower castes. In a caste ridden society the higher caste people enjoy all the privileges while the people of lower caste suffer from all kinds of disabilities. It leads to social inequality between the two caste groups. This caste inequality is the root cause of casteism.
2) Social Distance:
Every Indian caste is basically known as closed group. Because it lacks mobility among the members. In every sphere, there is a great social distance between the castes. Caste System imposes certain restrictions on occupation, marriage, food, drink, social intercourse and so on. Therefore, one caste is socially different from the other caste in Rural India.
The members of own caste cannot touch the culture, religion, norms and values of other casts. Their outlook is only concentrated within their own caste boundary. As a result of which a strong caste feeling develops among them. This feeling gradually converted to casteism.
3) Illiteracy and conservatism:
Rural people are so illiterate and ignorant that they are very conservative and deeply motivated by narrow thought and superstition. They believe deeply in old customs, traditions, folkways, mores, norms and so on. The rural people are very orthodox in their nature. They oppose strongly to any change in society. Being influenced by the rigid customs and traditions, the rural people consider their own caste as superior. It gives birth to casteism.
4) Industrialisation and urbanisation:
Industrialisation and urbanisation are the two process of modernisation. These two processes encourage casteism in India to great extent. Due to the industrialisation, different types of factories and industries set up in different parts of the country. As a result of which the people of different castes work there and form various organisations on the basis of caste which results casteism.
On the other hand, urbanisation drove the people from rural areas to the urban areas. People belonging to a particular caste got an opportunity to unite in large numbers in towns. As a consequence the people of different castes formed different associations to seek maximum benefits of the caste members and its leads to casteism in urban India.
5) Development of transport and communication:
In the past, lack of the means of communication hindered the growth of casteism in India to a great extent. But now-a-days, with the growth of transport, the members of a particular caste could easily assimilate each other and the bondage of caste between them grew stronger. Similarly, due to the development of mass media communication like post, telegraph, radio, television, newspaper and so on, the people of one caste could easily communicate with each other and strong their caste organisation. All these lead to casteism.
6) Sense of Caste Prestige:
One of the important causes attributing to the growth of casteism in Rural India is the strong desire of the people belonging to a particular caste to enhance the prestige of their, own caste. But the prestige of caste can be maintained only when every opportunity is availed in order to improve the social statue of its member. In order to achieve this objective every caste provides its members with all possible privileges in order to raise their social status. This tends to increase casteism.
7) Marriage Restrictions:
Every Indian caste is basically known as endogamous group. By endogamy, we generally mean, marriage within the caste. Traditionally, Caste System imposes certain restrictions on the institution of marriage. Due to this restriction, the members of a particular caste are forced to marry within its own caste. Moreover, the members of one caste are linked in matrimonial relations; a strong caste feeling develops among them which lead to castesism.
8) Reservation Policy:
Some special privileges which constitutionally provided to the members of a particular caste expedite casteism in modern Rural India to some extent. Due to the reservation policy of the government, the people of lower caster getting maximum benefits in the fields of education, job and other occupational sectors. But in actual practice, it is found that the lower caste people who have not adequate skill are posted in different posts.
On the other hand, the people of higher caste having the adequate skill and capacity are deprived of such facilities. As a consequence a cold war started between the members of higher and lower castes. This war is the root cause of casteism.