Chapter 3 Equality
Textbook Questions Solved
Some people argue that inequality is natural while others maintain that it is equality which is natural and the inequalities which we notice around us are created by the society. Which view do you support? Give reasons.
- These inequalities emerge due to differences in personal traits either physical, or mental or emotional.
- These inequalities are the result of different characteristics and abilities of inborn qualities of a man.
- These natural differences cannot be changed also.
- Socially produced inequalities are emerged as a result of inequal opportunities, i.e. family background, educational factors, etc.
- Social differences reflect the values of society, which may appear to be unjust.
- The discrimination’s based on gender, colour, race, etc. have been made by society rather than based on inborn characteristics.
- Some natural differences have become alterable also, i.e. progress in medical sciences and technology has helped to several disabled persons to work more efficiently.
- Certain inequalities have been existing for centuries seem justified, and based on natural inequalities, i.e. women are considered weaker than man in every aspect, hence to deny them equal rights is considered the justifiable.
There is a view that absolute economic equality is neither possible nor desirable. It is argued that the most a society can do is to try and reduce the gaps between the richest and the poorest members of society. Do you agree?
Economic equality: It refers to availability of equal opportunities to one and all present in the society, without any discrimination:
- Absolute economic equality of income has never existed in society. But democratic set up provides equal opportunities to at least those who are capable and possess potential with equal opportunities, inequalities may exist between individuals, but one’s position may be improved with the sincere efforts in the society.
- Economic inequality exists if there are differences in wealth, property or income between different sections of society.
- It enhances the gap between the upper, middle, poor-rich and persons living below poverty line.
Measurement of economic inequalities:
- To estimate the number of people who are living below poverty line.
- To find out the differences between the rich and poor.
Importance of economic equality:
- Economic equality guarantees each and everybody equal opportunities to improve one’s potential and capabilities.
- Economic equality reduces the gap between the rich and the poor or high or middle class, etc.
- Economic disparities can make society more violent because the reforms cannot take place in such a society.
Match the following concepts with appropriate instances:
(a) Affirmative action
(i) Every adult citizen has a right to vote.
(b) Equality of opportunity
(ii) Banks offer higher rate of interest to senior citizen
(c) Equal Rights.
(iii) Every child should get free education.
(a) Affirmative action: Banks offer higher rate of interest to senior citizen.
- Senior citizens have contributed to the development and service of society throughout their age.
- Their age increases but their income decreases due to medical needs and social needs.
(b) Equality of opportunity: Every child should get free education
- Every child should get an equal opportunity to get education, i.e. no one should be discriminated on any ground.
- This type of inequalities is against the principle of equality.
(c) Equal Rights: Every adult citizen has a right to vote.
- This principle is based on one person one vote one value, i.e. every adult citizen enjoys the right to vote.
- No citizen should be discriminated on any ground to exempt from enjoying right to vote.
A government report on farmers’ problems says that small and marginal farmers cannot get good prices from the market. It recommends that the government should intervene to ensure a better price but only for small and marginal farmers. Is this recommendation consistent with the principle of equality?
Yes, this recommendation is consistent on the basis of the principle of equality:
- A democratic country should have the provisions to protect the interests of small and marginal farmers.
- The small and the marginal farmers can get assistance from government for their betterment.
- The farmers (medium and small) can get social, economic and political justice due to this arrangements.
Which of the following violates the principles of equality? And why?
(a) Every child in the class will read the text of the play by turn.
(b) The Government of Canada encouraged white Europeans to migrate to Canada from the end of the Second World War till 1960.
(c) There is a separate railway reservation counter for the senior citizens.
(d) Access to some forest areas is reserved for certain tribal communities.
- This does not violate the principle of equality because every child is asked to perform the same activity without any discrimination.
- This violates the principle of equality due to discrimination on the basis of colour.
- It is not violating the principle of equality because senior citizens should be honoured and every individual one day can enjoy the same privileges.
- This violates the principle of equality because all tribal people should be treated equally, no one should be discriminated by reserving forest areas for some only.
Here are some arguments in favour of the right to vote for women. Which of these are consistent with the idea of equality? Give reasons.
(a) Women are our mothers. We shall not disrespect our mothers by denying them the right to vote.
(b) Decisions of the government affect women as well as men, therefore, they also should have a say in choosing the rulers.
(c) Not granting women the right to vote will cause disharmony in the family.
(d) Women constitute half of humanity. You cannot subjugate them for long time by denying them the right to vote.
(d) both are consistent with the idea of equality because:
- Decisions of government affects every individual either men or women equally.
- Women should not be discriminated on the basis of gender.
- Equality and freedom are the two vital principles in a society, hence women cannot be denied the right to vote.
Extra Questions Solved
Very Short Answer Type Questions
What is equality?
Equality refers to avail equal opportunities to one and all without any discrimination on any ground and everybody is equal before law.
Mention the attitude of colonial masters about black people during twentieth century.
The colonial masters followed the policy of apartheid, i.e. discrimination on the ground of colour of people. Black coloured people were considered to be of less intelligence, childlike or to be good at manual work only.
Mention the attitude towards woman in orthodox India before independence.
Women were considered the weaker sex than men, hence it has justified to deny her equality of rights.
What is ‘Feminism’?
A political doctrine of equal rights for men and women.
What is a political ideal of equality?
All human beings exercise equal worth, regardless of their nationality, colour, race or gender
What is political equality?
- Every citizen should enjoy equal political rights without any discrimination.
- It is based on one person, one vote, one value.
- Every citizen can contest elections also.
What is slave trade?
Slave trade began when Africans were enslaved by the individual traders and transported to work in American plantations of sugar, rice, coffee, cotton and tobacco-during 15-16th centuries. Gradually, slaves began to be sold and purchased and treated in an inhuman manner.
“Natural needs no longer can be seen as unalterable”. Justify the statement.
Yes, natural needs no longer can be seen as unalterable because:
- Advancement in medical science has made disabled persons to be efficient to work effectively.
- Computers even assist to blind persons.
- A person’s look can also be changed with cosmetic surgery.
How can the concept of equality be argued?
- Equality can affect on family autonomy to increase competition in society.
- It may create bureaucracy to engulf between the masses and the state.
- It may lead to lowering of incentives and affect the efficiency of production process as well.
What is equality before law?
- Article 14 of Constitution of India guarantees all citizens of India equality before law and equal protection within territories of India as well.
- No citizen can be discriminated on the ground of caste, colour, race, religion, language, sex, etc.
What is the difference between equality and uniformity?
Equality refers to a common identity of rewards and treatment as well. But uniformity refers to put each and every individual at one stage which is against the law of nature because men are unequal naturally, i.e. a mathematician cannot be placed to manual work as a mason.
Mention different kinds of equality.
- Natural equality implies that all men are born free and equal, hence the state should promote social and economic opportunities to offer equality.
- Social equality makes all persons equally eligible to enjoy various opportunities.
- Civil equality refers to discrimination among citizens of country and all persons enjoy some laws.
- Political equality refers to enjoy political rights, i.e. to form political associations, contest elections, etc.
- Economic equality refers to enjoy wealth equally in the society and abolish poverty.
Short Answer Type Questions
What are the main features of equality?
- Equality does not offer any special privileges in the society to treat every member equal.
- Equality provides adequate opportunities to each and every citizen in the society to develop one’s own potential.
- Every individual must have an access to the basic needs of life in a society.
Mention political dimensions of equality.
Political equality provides equal political rights to every individual. Its dimensions are as follows:
- For the success of democracy, all the citizens should have an equal right to enjoy universal adult suffrage.
- Every individual must have the right to be elected as a representative also to contest elections.
- The citizens must enjoy the right to hold public offices also without any discrimination except qualification.
“Social inequalities can be minimized by an affirmative action”. Analyse the statement.
- Disadvantaged communities should be provided with the facilities of scholarships and hostels, etc. in various institutions
- India has adopted the policy of reservations of seats and quotas to provide equal opportunity.
- SC’s, ST’s and OBC’s require special attention, and protection to create a just society to expand democracy.
What are positive and negative aspects of equality?
- To provide adequate opportunities to all.
- Every individual should get equal opportunities to develop one’s own potential upto their best level.
- It refers to absence of undue privileges to people.
- To remove man-made inequalities in the society.
- No one should be discriminated on the ground of caste, colour, race, religion, language, etc.
Read the passage (NCERT Textbook, page 49) given below carefully and answer the questions that follow:
While reflecting on the issue of equality, a distinction must also be made between treating everyone in an identical manner and treating everyone as equals. The latter may on occasions need differential treatment but in all such cases the primary consideration is to promote equality. Differential or special treatment may be considered to realise the goal of equality but it requires justification and careful reflection. Since differential treatment for different communities was part and parcel of the caste system and practices like apartheid, liberals are usually very wary of deviations from the norm of identical treatment.
1. What distinction should be made while reflecting on the issues of equality?
2. What would be the prime consideration to treat everyone equal?
3. What does special treatment require?
1. It must be made between treating everyone in an identical manner or everyone as equal.
2. To promote equality while treating differently.
3. It requires justification and careful reflection.
Read the passage (NCERT Textbook, page 50) given below carefully and answer the questions that follow:
Many of these issues relating to the pursuit of equality have been raised by the women’s movement. In the nineteenth century women struggled for equal rights. They demanded, for instance, the right to vote, the right to receive degrees in colleges and universities and the right to work — that is, the same rights as the men in their society. However, as they entered the job market they realized that women required special facilities in order to exercise these rights. For instance, they required some provision for maternity leave and creches in the workplace. Without special considerations of this kind they could not seriously compete for jobs or enjoy a successful professional and personal life. They needed, in other words, sometimes to be treated differently if they are to enjoy the same rights as men.
1. Why have women’s movements been raised?
2. What were the main demands of women’s movement?
3. What can be done for women to compete for jobs?
1. To demand equality.
2. The right to vote, the right to work, the right to receive degrees in colleges and universities.
3. They should be given special consideration, i.e. provision for maternity leave and creches in workplace, etc.
Long Answer Type Questions
“Political liberty cannot be imagined without economic liberty.” Analyse.
Liberty and equality are contemporary to each other. Political liberty gives a freedom to an individual to participate in the activities of state, i.e.:
- Right to vote to form government
- Right to hold public offices
- Right to form political party
- Right to contest elections.
Economic equality provides equal opportunities to earn the livelihood by an individual i.e.:
- All the individuals must have the means to meet their needs.
- Exploitation should not exist.
- Means of production and distribution should be made for public welfare. Relationship between political liberty and
- A poor man is attracted sometimes to false commitments of politicians as they lack in proper intelligence to identify right or wrong because they could not attain even good education, hence they are unable to use their right to vote properly.
- Sometimes poor voters sell out their votes to rich candidates who trap them by making commitments to fulfill their requirements either in cash or kind, hence the poor voters misuse their right to vote in place of utilizing it for the welfare of country.
- To contest elections is an expensive activity and the poor who cannot afford one day meal easily, it is not possible to contest elections. Hence, the poors are exempted naturally from contesting elections due to the lack of wherewithal.It can be concluded that political liberty requires economic equality also.
What is the relationship between liberty and equality?
Liberty and equality run parallel to each other but sometimes it is presumed that both are opposed to each other.
1. Liberty and equality are complementary:
- Liberty in absence of equality is meaningless.
- Prof. Laski, Powny Polard and Maclver support this view.
- Liberty does not mean the same work and equal wages for all the people.
2. Liberty and equality are opposed to each other:
- Liberty and equality are opposed to each other to curtail individual liberty.
- De Tocqueviflle and Lord Acton are the supporters of this view.
- If equality is established in actual sense, then no one will enjoy the liberty to sharpen one’s own potential.
- Nature has also not created each and every individual equal hence everyone differs in one’s own traits, qualities, capabilities, etc.
It can be concluded that to enjoy them, one requires the presence of others, i.e. political liberty requires equal political status and civil liberty requires equality in the eyes of law to be treated equally. Hence economic equality is of least importance.