Social Exclusion In Castes

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The Indian society has a high degree of structural inequality based on the doctrine of the caste system. The caste system is based on the principle of pollution purity, which involves the division of people into castes with unequal and hierarchical assignment of economic and civil rights ascribed by birth. Social exclusion among the castes is ensured through the practices of endogamy and social separation. Exclusion is, thus, internal to the system, and a necessary outcome of its basic features.

The untouchable castes located at the bottom of the hierarchy suffered the most as they were historically denied the rights to property, business (except the occupations that were considered as impure and polluting), education, civil, cultural, and religious rights. They also suffered from residential segregation and social isolation.

The Dalits are one of the most suppressed and backward communities in the Indian society. They were referred to as ‘Broken Men’ and ‘Protestant Hindus’ by Ambedkar, and ‘Harijans’ or children of God by Gandhi.

The government drafted various legislations and statutes which are influenced by two main considerations:

• To overcome the deprivations of the marginalised social groups inherited from the past, and bring them at par with the others; and
• To provide protection against exclusion and discrimination in the present by encouraging their participation in the general economic, social and political processes of the
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