Chapter 4 Gender Religion and Caste


Question 1.
Mention different aspects of life in which women are discriminated or disadvantaged in India.
Sexual difference is biological but gender difference is sociological. Women on the basis of gender have always been discriminated in almost all the societies of the world including India. Ours is a male-dominated patriarchal society. Women face disadvantage, discrimination, and oppression in various ways as mentioned below :

(1) Different aspects of life in which women are discriminated or disadvantaged in India are as given below :

  1. Education :
    • Women are deprived of equal access to education. Thus, the literacy rate among women is only 54 percent as compared to 76 percent among men.
    • A smaller proportion of girl students go for higher education because in spite of their better performance than boys, they drop out as parents prefer to spend their resources for their son’s education,
    • They do not want to spend equally on their sons and.daughters.
  2. Discrimination in job opportunities and remuneration or salary :
    • The number of women on highly paid jobs is less than men.
    • Women are discriminated in job opportunities as well as in appointment among highly paid and valued jobs,
    • Under Equal Wages Act, equal wages should be paid for equal work. In practice almost in every sphere, women are paid less than men, even when both do exactly the same work,
    • On 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.
  3. Preference for sons: Even now in many parts of India, parents prefer to have sons, There are cases where a girl child is aborted before she is born. Due to sex-selective abortion, the sex-ratio has declined from 927 in 2001 to 850 or 800 in some places.
  4. Cases of harassment, exploitation, and violence: Women are exploited by their employers. They are sexually assaulted at homes. They are not safe during their journey at night. They are subjected to various forms of domestic violence such as beating and harassment.

Question 2.
State different forms of communal politics with one example each.
The most common expression of communalism is in everyday beliefs. These routinely involve religious prejudices, stereotypes of religious communities and belief in the superiority of one’s religion over other religions. This is so common that we often fail to notice it, even when we believe in it.

A communal mind often leads to a quest for political dominance of one’s own religious community. For those belonging to the majority community, this takes the form of majoritarian dominance. For those belonging to the minority community, it can take the form of a desire to form a separate political unit.

Question 3.
State how caste inequalities are still continuing in India.
Caste has not disappeared from contemporary India. Some of the older aspects of caste have persisted. Even now most people marry within their own caste or tribe. Untouchability has not ended completely, despite constitutional prohibition. The effects of centuries of advantages and disadvantages continue to be felt today. The caste groups that had access to education under the old system have done very well in acquiring modern education as well. Those groups that did not have access to education or were prohibited from acquiring it have naturally lagged behind. That is why there is a disproportionately large presence of ‘upper caste’ among the urban middle classes in our country. Caste continues to be closely linked to economic status.

Question 4.
State reasons to say that caste alone cannot determine election results in India.
The caste alone cannot determine election results in India due to the reasons as mentioned
below :

  1. No majority of one caste in a constituency: No parliamentary constituency in the country 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.
  2. No votes of one cast/community: No party wins the votes of all the voters of a 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.
  3. Candidates from the same caste :
    • Many political parties may put up candidates from the same caste if that caste is believed to dominate the electorate in a particular constituency.
    • In addition to this some voters have more than one candidate from their caste while many voters have no candidate from their caste. All these factors divide the voters between two or more candidates.
  4. The ruling party and the sitting members frequently lose elections in our country. This could not have happened if all castes and communities were frozen in their political preferences.
  5. Sometimes the voters have strong attachment to political parties which is often stronger than their attachment to their caste or community.
  6. People within the same caste or community may have different interests depending on their economic condition. Rich and poor or men and women from the same caste often vote very differently.
  7. Lastly people make their own assessment about the performance of their leaders and this differs with one another.
    Thus it can be concluded that caste alone cannot determine election results in India.

Question 5.
What is the status of women’s representation in India’s legislative bodies?
In India, the proportion of women in the legislature has been very low. For example, the percentage of elected women members in Lok Sabha has never reached even 10 percent of its total strength. Their share in the state assemblies is less than 5 percent. In this respect, India is among the bottom group of nations in the world. India is behind the averages for several developing countries of Africa and Latin America. In the government, cabinets are largely all-male even when a woman becomes the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister.

Question 6.
Mention any two constitutional provisions that make India a secular state.
Two constitutional provisions that make India a secular state are given below :

  1. There is no official religion in India. Our Constitution does not give a special status to any religion like Islam in Pakistan, Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Christianity in England. State observes an attitude of neutrality and impartiality towards all religions.
  2. The Constitution provides to all persons and communities freedom to profess, practice and propagate any religion or not to follow any.

Question 7.
When we speak of gender divisions, we usually refer to :
(a) Biological difference between men and women.
(b) Unequal roles assigned by society to men and women.
(c) Unequal child sex ratio. .
(d) Absence of voting rights for women in democracies.
(b) Unequal roles assigned by society to men and women.

Question 8.
In India, seats are reserved for women in
(a) Lok sabha
(b) State legislative assemblies
(c) Cabinets
(d) Panchayati Raj bodies
 Panchayati Raj bodies

Question 9.
Consider the following statements on the meaning of communal politics: Communal politics is based on the belief that :

A. One religion is superior to that of others.
B. People belonging to different religions can live together happily as equal citizens.
C. Followers of a particular religion constitute one community.
D. State power cannot be used to establish the domination of one religious group over others.
Which of the statements is/are correct?
(a) A, B, C and D
(b) A, B and D
(c) A and C
(d) B and D
(c) A and C

Question 10.
Which among the following statements about India’s Constitution is wrong?

(a) prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion.
(b) gives official status to one religion.
(c) provides to all individuals the freedom to profess any religion.
(d) ensures the equality of citizens within religious communities.
(b) gives official status to one religion.
(b) gives official status to one religion.

Question 11.
Social divisions based on ……………… are peculiar to India.

Question 12.
Match List I with List-II and select the correct answer using the codes given below the Lists:

List I

List II


A person who believes in equal rights and opportunities for women and men

      A. Communalist


A person who says that religion is the principal basis of community

B. Feminist


A person who thinks that caste is the principal basis of community

C. Secularist


A person who does not discriminate others on the basis of religious beliefs

D. Castiest

























(b) B, A, D, C is the correct answer.