Social Justice And Discrimination In The Caste System In India

1697 Words 7 Pages
Since last two-decade higher education in India has been witnessing an increase in enrollment number across social groups such as first generation, female, rural and the lower caste students. This has changed student demographics in academic disciplines. Due to diverse students’ group on college campuses, the higher education institutions are facing diversity, social justice and discrimination issues. Caste-based discrimination is one of the issues which is pervasive across the institutions in India (Neelakandan & Patil, 2012; Nambissan, 2006 & 2009; Patwardhan & Palshikar, 1992; Desai & Kulkarni, 2008). The lower caste students have been experiencing discrimination from primary education to higher education institutions. Caste-based discrimination …show more content…
The system is a hierarchical social structure exist in Indian subcontinent. In the system, each individual has a fixed position by birth (hereditary) and caste hierarchies are broadly classified into four categories. In other words, the system has four prominent caste identities in an order: 1) Brahmin (priest or teacher) at the top, 2) Kshatriya (king or warrior), 3) Vaishya (trader or businessman), and 4) Shudra (laborer) at the bottom. Haslam (1999) stated that an explanation of caste system is grounded in ancient Hindu scripture the Rig-Veda, the God created the castes to maintain a social order. Other social groups outside the system known as untouchables (outcaste groups). In contemporary society, untouchables preferred to be called the “Dalit” (the oppressed) which is also known as fifth caste. Since more than two millennia the Dalits have been experiencing a range of exclusion and oppression. Caste system has evolved over the long period of time, therefore, it is extremely complex and dynamic in terms of social relationships between castes, regions, and …show more content…
Tribals are outside the caste hierarchy, thus they are in fifth caste. In the Constitution of India, Shudras are listed as Other Backward Caste (OBC), Dalits are listed as Scheduled Caste (SC), and Tribals are listed as Scheduled Tribe (ST). Since independence the government of India has outlawed (1949) caste-based discrimination and practices, subsequently formed stringent laws to stop discrimination against the Dalits. The Constitution of India subscribes affirmative action policy for the development of the lower caste groups. Among the lower castes, Dalits and Tribals have been experiencing historical socioeconomic, cultural, and economic marginalization. Discrimination and exclusion faced by Dalits and Tribals is profoundly different than OBC. The caste-based discrimination in higher education attributed to two main reasons: subordinate caste identities and affirmative action. The paper identifies OBC in the lower caste groups because they access affirmative action, thus they confront caste-based discrimination from the higher caste

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