Day 28 – Q 3. Critically evaluate the role played by caste based pressure groups in Indian politics.
3. Critically evaluate the role played by caste based pressure groups in Indian politics.
भारतीय राजनीति में जाति आधारित दबाव समूहों द्वारा निभाई गई भूमिका का समालोचनात्मक मूल्यांकन करें।
A caste based pressure group (PG) is a group where people of same castes are organised actively for promoting and defending their common interest. They try to influence government policies to secure socio-economic benefits. With Caste system being main feature of Indian society, caste based PG’s have evolved in India. Some examples of caste organisations are Scheduled Caste Federation, Backward Caste Federation, etc.
Positive role played by caste based pressure groups in Indian politics
- Deepen Democracy – They provide vital link between the government and the governed.
- Political empowerment – Caste based assertions and political bargaining power has increased for many backward castes. Eg: OBC reservation.
- Influence policy decision – Pre-independence PG’s highlighted social issues which led to constitutional provision of securing equality and justice for downtrodden. Towards this pursuit, state came out with affirmative measures like reservation in education and employment.
- Achieve constitutional ideals – equality, justice and dignity. Voice is given to the marginalised sections as they cannot be ignored in the first-past-the-post electoral system.
- Strengthen democracy as these PG’s encourage people’s political participation. Help educating group on their rights and form public opinion on important issues.
- Regional politics origin is also traced to caste based PG’s which entered into political domain. Ex: AIDMK, BSP. This has made national political landscape more accommodative of regional aspirations.
Negative fall outs
- Identity politics – caste based politics. Likelihood of minority castes being left out.
- Fissure in society – reinforcing caste and community consciousness. Ex: Lingayats in Karnataka.
- Increased social unrest and social animosity. Ex: caste based violence bhima-koregaon.
- Law and order issue with their agitation turning violent. Ex: Jats for reservation, Karni Sena protest against Padmavat.
- Violent protests obstructing development through protests.
- Political class agreeing to demands under pressure. Ex: reservation for Marathas when they do not meet the criteria of socially-educationally backward class.
Democracy wants people to express their views and interests. Pressure groups provide means to this. In diverse country like ours with multi-caste system, caste based PG’s have so far had both positive and negative fallouts.