Chapter 4 Gender, Religion and Caste
1. Mention different aspects of life in which women are discriminated or disadvantaged in India.
The women in India are discriminated or disadvantaged in the following ways:
- Literacy – The literacy rate for women is 65.46 per cent, against 82.14 per cent for men. This shows that since independence, the gap between the ratio of men and women with respect to literacy still cannot be filled.
- Higher education – When you compare the percentage of boys and girls opting for higher studies after school, it is lower for girls as they tend to drop out after schools. This is because parents do not wish to spend their resources on a girl’s education, which is quite expected in boys’ cases.
- High-Paid jobs – The percentage of women working in high-paying jobs is still smaller than men. On an average, an Indian woman works one hour more than an average man every day. Yet much of her work is not paid and therefore often not valued.
- The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 states that equal wages should be paid to equal work. However, in almost all areas of work, from sports and cinema to factories and fields, women are paid less than men, even when both do exactly the same work.
- Sex-ratio – Sex Ratio of India is 107.48, i.e., 107.48 males per 100 females in 2019.
2. State different forms of communal politics with one example each.
The different forms of communal politics are:
- Communalism takes a form of religious prejudices, stereotypes of religious communities and a belief in the superiority of one’s religion over other religions. E.g. Militants religious groups.
- The quest for political dominance of one religion over another in a community. It takes a form of majoritarianism. For example, the tiff between Hindus and Muslims.
- Political mobilisation on religious lines is another frequent form of communalism. Example – During elections, hate speeches come to the surface, revealing the communalism.
- Communal violence is another form of communalism in politics.
Example – Indian and Pakistan.
The tiff between the two countries has a long history and the violence that followed is well known.
3. State how caste inequalities are still continuing in India.
According to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the following evidence reflects the present caste inequalities in India:
- The average economic status (measured by criteria like monthly consumption expenditure) of caste groups still follows the old hierarchy – the ‘upper’ castes are best off, the Dalits and Adivasis are worse off, and the backward classes are in between.
- Although every caste has some poor members, the proportion living in extreme poverty (below the official ‘poverty line’) is much higher for the lowest castes and much lower for the upper castes, with the backward classes once again in between.
- Although every caste has some members who are rich, the upper castes are heavily over-represented among the rich while the lower castes are severely under-represented.
4. State two reasons to say that caste alone cannot determine election results in India
The two reasons that say that caste alone cannot determine election results in India:
- In India, no parliamentary constituency has a clear majority of one single caste. So, every candidate and party needs to win the confidence of more than one caste and community to win elections.
- No party wins the votes of all the voters of caste or community. When people say that caste is a ‘vote bank’ of one party, it usually means that a large proportion of the voters from that caste vote for that party.
5. What is the status of women’s representation in India’s legislative bodies?
There are more than 10 lakh elected women representatives in rural and urban local bodies. Women’s organisations and activists have been demanding a similar reservation of at least one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies for women. A bill with this proposal has been pending before the Parliament for more than a decade. But there is no consensus over this issue among all the political parties. The bill has not been passed.
6. Mention any two constitutional provisions that make India a secular state.
- The fundamental right to the freedom of religion clearly states that one has a right to practise, profess and propagate any religion.
- Prohibition of discrimination on the basis of religion is one of the tenets in the constitution under the fundamental right to equality.
7. When we speak of gender divisions, we usually refer to:
- Biological differences between men and women
- Unequal roles assigned by society to men and women
- Unequal child sex ratio
- Absence of voting rights for women in democracies
(b) Unequal roles assigned by society to men and women
8. In India, seats are reserved for women in
- Lok Sabha
- State legislative assemblies
- Panchayati Raj bodies
(d) Panchayati Raj bodies
9. Consider the following statements on the meaning of communal politics. Communal politics is based on the belief that:
- One religion is superior to that of others.
- People belonging to different religions can live together happily as equal citizens.
- Followers of a particular religion constitute one community.
- State power cannot be used to establish the domination of one religious group over others. Which of the statements is/are correct?
- A, B, C, and D
- A, B, and D
- A and C
- B and D
(c) A and C
10. Which among the following statements about India’s Constitution is wrong? It
- prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion.
- gives official status to one religion.
- provides to all individuals freedom to profess any religion.
- ensures equality of citizens within religious communities.
(b) gives official status to one religion.
11. Social divisions based on _________ are peculiar to India.
Social divisions based on caste are peculiar to India.
12. Match List-I with List-II and select the correct answer using the codes given below the Lists: