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NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 27 Caste System In India
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Caste System In India
MODULE 4: INDIAN SOCIETY
INTEXT QUESTIONS 27.1
Fill in the blanks with appropriate words from the brackets:
(i) Pucca food is prepared in ………….. ( leaves, water, ghee).
(ii) The occupation of Brahmins is …………….. (leatherwork, priesthood, business).
(iii) Untouchables are today identified as ……………… (OBC, Savarana, Dalits).
(iv) Membership of caste is …………….. (hereditary, achieved, transferred).
INTEXT QUESTIONS 27.2
Q.1. Match the following:
|(ii) Achieved status||Class|
|(iv) Four Thousand Groups||Dalit|
|(ii) Achieved status||Class|
|(iv) Four Thousand Groups||Jati|
INTEXT QUESTIONS 27.3
Fill in the blanks with the appropriate word from the brackets:
(i) Sanskritisation means ……………. caste becoming high caste (lower, middle, upper).
(ii) Westernisation means adapting to ……………. values (Japanese, Western, Indian).
(iii) Modernisation means having a …………… outlook (traditional, conservative, rational).
(iv) A dominant caste has a …………….. population (large, small, very small).
Q.1. What are the differences between Varna and Jati?
Ans. Difference Between Varna and Jati:
(i) The first mention of Varna is found in Rig-Veda, i.e. in the Vedic ear around 1500 BC. Varna means colour. Initially there were no untouchables. The Varna system was relatively not rigid during the Vedic era (1500 BC-1000 BC). During the later Vedic ear, i.e. around 1000 BC there has been a mention of “Asat Shudra” (untouchable community). Thus untouchability started around 1000 BC. Around 2nd century BC to 1st century AD, because of diversified occupations, several occupational groups emerged and came to be known by different Jatis. Thus Varna Vyavastha is the textual model or book view of Indian social system, i.e. it is found today only in texts. Whereas, Jati is the contextual view or field view of Indian social system, i.e. we find Jatis in reality today and not Varnas.
(ii) There are only four Varnas whereas, there are about 4000 Jatis. In each region about 200 Jatis are found. The Varna had a pan-Indic hierarchy, i.e. Brahmins are on the top, Kshtriyas are at the second position, Vaishyas are at the third position and Shudras are found in the bottom of the hierarchy. This hierarchy was uniform throughout India but in Jati a uniform hierarchy throughout India is not found.
(iii) In the changing situation, in some areas Brahmins are on the top, in some other areas Thakurs (Rajput) are at the top. Today even the Dalits are found on the top in some areas. Thus secular criteria (economic and political) are found in the Jati system. On the other hand in Varna vyavastha ritual criteria (religious) is found. In Varna vyavastha initially untouchable are not found.
(iv) They are placed outside the Varna vyavastha, whereas, in the Jati vyavastha untouchables are an integral part of the system. In Varna vyavastha a person’s status was not changeable, whereas, in the Jati vyavastha one can change one’s status with improved socio- economic condition. Thus one should not take Varna and Jati synonymously.
Q.2. Discuss briefly differences between caste and class.
Ans. Differences Between Caste and Class:
(i) While a caste is hereditary, a class is non-hereditary in nature. A class system allows both exogamy and endogamy, permits mobility either up or down the system, and also allows an individual to remain in the status to which he was born. Thus a class is primarily based on socio-economic criteria. There are three major classes found: Upper, Middle, and Lower. Each class is divided into two sub-divisions. They are upper-upper, and lower upper; upper-middle and lower-middle; and upper-lower and lower-lower.
(ii) A class is more open than the caste in the sense that mobility is allowed in the class system. It is not allowed that openly in the caste system.
(iii) Further, caste system is based on ritual criterion whereas, class is based on secular criterion. Ritual criterion means it is based on religious myths, secular means non-religious criterion like economic, political and social criterion. However, in changing circumstances caste is also adapting to secular criteria.
(iv) Consciousness is found in the class but not necessarily in the caste. However, today castes are also changing into classes in urban areas particularly in terms of economic criterion.
Q.3. What is Sanskritization?
Ans. Meaning of Sanskritization:
(i) It is a process by which any low caste could adapt to the behaviour pattern, style of life, and culture of high caste and claim membership in that high caste. But they have to leave their unclean occupation and other impure habits like meat eating and taking liquor, etc. The untouchables were not allowed to sanskritize their status. Thus only middle castes could sanskritize themselves.
(ii) For sanskritization, a caste must have three conditions: (a) it should have a touchable status.
(b) it should have better economic condition.
(c) it should make a claim to membership into a high caste, by propagating some story or myth.
(iii) It is a group process and not an individual process. It is a lengthy process and not an overnight process. It does not lead to any structural change, only leads to positional change. It means a particular low caste changes its position into a high caste in a particular area, whereas the caste structure does not change.
(iv) Through this process a few lower caste in different parts of country have changed their status into higher castes.
Q.4. Discuss the features of a dominant caste.
Ans. Features of a Dominant Caste: In the 20th century, the phenomena of dominant caste has emerged. It means some caste becomes economically and politically dominant and virtually rules over other castes in the region. A caste can become dominant by having the features like:
(a) large land holdings in the area (good economic position).
(b) politically dominant (becoming a vote bank).
(c) having large population.
(d) high ritual status.
(e) English medium education.
(f) having a tradition in agriculture (not tillers but landlords). and
(g) having a tradition of violence (for dominance muscle power is essential).
However, today it is not limited to the high caste only but has been found among the lower castes also.
SOME OTHER IMPORTANT QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION
VERY SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1. Explain in brief the origin of the term “Caste”.
Ans. The word caste has its origin from the Spanish word ‘Casta’ meaning ‘race’ or ‘a group heredity quality.’
The term was applied to people of India by the Portuguese to denote ‘Joti’.
Q.2. How has the word ‘Caste’ creates confusion in India?
Ans. The word has created confusion in the sense that it is used to denote both Varna and Jati. As you must have known, people saying that there are four castes – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra. In fact these four are not castes but are Varnas. What we find today are not Varnas but Jatis. There are four Varnas and about 4000 Jatis.
The word “Jati” is used for all castes, sub-castes etc. Now-a-days there is a demand to make our society as casteless. However, in the changing situation caste has shaped to many new features like having formal organisations, becoming less rigit and having a link with politics.
Q.3. Give a definition of term (word) “Caste.”
Ans. Definition of Caste: Caste can be defined as hereditary endogamous group, having a common name, common traditional occupation, common culture, relatively rigid in matters of mobility, distinctiveness of status and forming a single homogeneous community.
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1. Discuss how has the westernisation brought changes in caste system in our country.
Ans. Caste System of Indian and Westernisation: It indicates adapting to western style of living, language, dress pattern, and behaviour pattern. In India largely the British influence has been found. The features of westernisation are:
(a) Rational outlook (scientific and goal oriented outlook).
(b) Interest in material progress.
(c) Reliance on modern communication process and mass media.
(d) English medium education.
(e) high social mobility, etc.
The higher castes were first to westernise themselves. Later on, the lower castes also adapted to this process. It has largely influenced the rigidity of caste system and changed it into a flexible system, particularly in the urban areas.