Potential areas of socio-political conflicts
The caste system in India has its roots in ancient India. Just as the ashrama dharma laid down rules and duties with reference to the individual’s life in the world, varna or caste system prescribed duties with reference to the particular caste to which an individual belonged. Earlier they were all regarded equal in social status and could take up any profession they liked. There was no restriction in the matter of eating food or marriage with members of other profession. But with the beginning of specializing in hereditary professions and coming in contact with the indigenous people situations changed and the birth of the person decided their caste. Hence the varna system that developed during that time was the outcome of the social and economic development. But as time passed, it led to the division of society into high-caste and low-caste people who could not mix with each other. Inter-caste dining or marriage was forbidden. People belonging to the so called lower castes were exploited and slowly down the ages, their condition became miserable. They were poor and did not enjoy equality in society. They were not even allowed to draw water from the common wells of the villages, or even could go to the temples or to come close to the people of the so called higher castes. Thus caste system hampered the healthy growth of different professions as entry into a particular profession was based on birth and not on ability.
Issues related to women
Our Constitution gives equal rights to both men and women in every field. Today, women enjoy voting rights, right to inheritance and property. In fact, the Constitution lay down that the government should promote with special care the interests of the weaker sections of the people. Several laws have been passed since independence to promote the interests of women. These laws relate to marriage, inheritance of property, divorce, dowry, etc. In 1976, the Equal Remuneration Act was passed to provide for equal remuneration to men and women for similar work.
In India females are discriminated in various fields like health, education and jobs. The girls carry the liability of dowry on their head, and they have to leave their parents home after marriage. Besides, in order to safeguard their old age parents prefer to have male offspring. Many female babies are aborted, abandoned, deliberately neglected and underfed simply as they are girls. This is worst in the state of Rajasthan. But now there is a great change in this direction. In some states like Haryana where girl child ratio is very low, the government has taken out many schemes to promote education of girls. Reservation of jobs for women and even six months maternity leave is provided to them besides many others.
The practice of dowry is one of the worst social practices that has affected our culture. In independent India, one of the landmark legislations is the passing of the Dowry Prohibition Act in 1961 by the Government of India. Despite the fact that the practice of both giving as well as accepting dowry is banned by law and such acts are punishable offences, the system is so thoroughly imbedded in our culture that it continues unabated. Whether it is rural or urban India, the blatant violation of this law is rampant. Not only dowry deaths, even most of the acts of domestic violence against women including psychological as well as physical torture are related to matters of dowry. Some of the very basic human rights of women are violated almost every day. Sometimes it is heartening to see some girls stand firm to assert their rights against dowry. But there is an urgent need to strengthen such hands by taking some concrete as well as comprehensive social, economic, political and administrative measures in order to free Indian society of this disease.
The habitual use of or dependence on harmful substances like liquor/alcoholic drinks, tobacco, bidis/cigarettes, drugs (for other than prescribed medical treatment) called substance abuse or addiction. As the range of addictive substances continues to expand, more and more persons particularly, in the younger age groups get addicted. There are many factors that are responsible for pushing the young as well as adults into the trap of substance abuse.
These factors include peer-pressure, non-conducive family environment and stress. Substance abuse is a condition which needs medical and psychological help. The parents have to be considerate to children, particularly during their transition from childhood to adolescence and adulthood, when many changes occur in their physique. Adolescents are naturally curious, they are exploring new worlds, ideas, behaviors and relationships. In the process, some are exposed to drugs. Unless their environment, families, schools and friends educate them about the ill effects of using drugs, they are likely to be trapped. Drinking and smoking are the most common as well as harmful addictive actions.
India is a country of different religious faiths. Persons belonging to different communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Parsees, etc. live in India. The aggressive attitude of one community towards the other creates tension and clashes between two religious communities. Hundreds of people die in communal riots. It breeds hatred and mutual suspicion. Communalism is an issue that needs to be tackled and eradicated. It poses a great challenge to democracy and unity of our country. It is therefore, a major obstacle in the path of our progress. Education is one very important means through which we can hope to bring peace and harmony in society. We must remember that we are all human beings first, before we belong to a religious community. We must respect all religions. Our country is secular, which means that all religions are treated equally and everyone is free to follow their own religion.
Issues of poverty and unemployment
India is a large country in area. It is roughly 2.4 percent of the total area of the world. But do you know what percentage of the world’s population it has? Well, it is about 16.7%. As per Census 2011, India’s population is 1210 million. With such a huge population, some economic problems have developed. These are the problems of unemployment, inflation, poverty and price rise. A large section of our population lives under the poverty line. There is a huge unemployment. Inflation and price rise has added to the problem.
With a significant number of people living below the poverty line, its impact on socioeconomically marginal families in the form of poor quality of life, disease, low literacy, malnutrition, and child labour becomes a serious concern. Nearly a quarter of the population that belongs to the scheduled category is almost entirely below poverty line. Poverty is a fundamental problem, hindering development objectives.
Unemployment is a situation where an able bodied person, willing to work fails to find a job to earn a living. Chronic unemployment and the consequent poverty are responsible for the erosion of human values. Under the compulsion of poverty, parents do not hesitate even to send their children to the labour market. Millions of children miss their childhood because of this phenomenon. They remain uneducated, and ignorant – which results in their unemployment or under-employment and consequent poverty.
It is a painful experience to come across beggars wherever we go. At the market place, railway station, hospital, temple, even at road crossings, you will notice some people approaching you with open palms. They ask for money or food. We also see many children begging in the streets. Beggary is a major social problem in India. The major causes of beggary in our country are poverty and unemployment. These days many gangs are operating in our society as well, that thrives on begging in an organized manner. However beggary is a social curse which must be eradicated. If you see beggars on the road or elsewhere, tell them that begging is an offence punishable by law both for the one who is begging and the one who gives alms.
left wing extremism
Left-wing extremists, popularly known as Maoists worldwide and as Naxalites 1 in India–have been gaining in strength and influence since some time. Today, the menace of Left-wing extremism is the single internal security threat that affects the largest number of States in India. The intensity this threat poses is next only to that being faced in Jammu and Kashmir. There are more than 30 Left-wing extremist groups in operation in the country. Some of them have consistently followed a violent agenda, rejecting parliamentary politics. Some others have been participating in the democratic processes with considerable success, while some maintain underground cadres, but also participate in parliamentary politics.
The objective of the Naxalites is to wage an armed revolution, modeled on the lines of the Chinese Revolution, which they call New Democratic Revolution (NDR), and usher in their own form of government. The present paper discusses the scope and scale of the activities of Left-wing extremist groups in India, especially in Andhra Pradesh 2 , and discusses the probability of a peaceful resolution of the problem of Left-wing extremism. While it is beyond the scope of this paper to analyse Left-wing extremist violence across the country, certain core features as manifested in the affected States are enumerated wherever plausible.
Right wing extremism
Saffron terror is a neologism used to describe acts of violence motivated by Hindu nationalism. The acts are perpetrated by members, or alleged members, of Hindu nationalist organizations close to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Abhinav Bharat. However, in some cases the motivation for the acts has not been clearly determined, and in others it has been determined to be unrelated to Hindu nationalism. The term comes from the symbolic use made of the saffron colour by the Hindu nationalist organisations
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