Discuss social division and its influence on politics in India.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that social division plays no different role in Indian politics than it does in any democratic order.  The greater social division there is, the greater the likelihood that politicians will use those differences to consolidate their own power.  As long as there are significant rifts in the social tapestry whereby individuals can embrace their own social order to come together in a cohesive weaving, politicians will be able to maximize these divisions.  In Indian politics, political parties make their reputation off of "representing" different interests, but in reality what is happening is that these leadership groups are furthering the wedge between their represented group and the social unit as a whole.  Social cohesion asserts the pure right of the people, and in this process may destabilize political parties who are based off of division.  Until social orders recognize that while there is legitimate difference of opinion does not necessarily have to translate into social division and fragmentation, politicians will be able to maximize these tears at social fabric and gain power in the process.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Social division in India that affects politics most are based on three different considerations. These considerations are regional background, religion and caste.

Regional Background

Historically, people in different parts of India have developed separate regional culture including language. There are many similarities between people from different regions but there are enough differences also. Thus Indians were divided in scores of regional groups. The states within India have been organized broadly on the basis of such different regional languages. To that extent the regional differences are officially recognized and incorporated in the national framework. However even within many states some finer social divisions exist. Over the years there has been substantial interchange of people across regional boundaries. But people who migrate generally continue to adhere to their culture and identify with their original native land even after several generations.

The regional conflict in politics is of four types. One is the disputes between neighboring states over issues such as demarcation of boundaries and sharing of water resources. Second is the dispute within a state about differential treatment by the state government to different regions within the state. This in many cases develops into demand for dividing a state in more than one smaller state. In the past may such division of states have taken under the pressure created by people of different regions.

Third major conflict is based on opposition to people who migrate to a state from other places. Finally elected members of the government frequently try to favour their own region or state in preference over others. This creates many political pulls and pushes in central politics based on regional considerations.

Religion Based

India has been a home to people of may different religion. And may a times there is politics based on religious consideration. In particularly the division between Hindus and Muslims plays an important role. In general, some religions like Sikh and Jain have traditionally been coexisting harmoniously with Hindu religion, more or less like different versions of a broader common religion. However their have been some conflicts based on these religions also.

Caste Based

In India there is a fairly well defined social division based on ancestry or birth. Each such group is called a cast. People from a cast generally end to have their own typical social customs and behavior pattern. Traditionally a person is required to marry within his or her caste. The biggest problem of caste politics is created by the fact that the castes are organised in a hierarchy of being higher or lower caste. In the paste from the lowest of the castes which form the majority of the population were the most economically weak. After independence of the country in 1947 specific legal provision were created to improve the lot of these weaker caste. However, because of the large number of these weaker sections of the society, they have become very important in deciding fate of candidates in election. Because of this the political focus has shifted from eliminating the caste divisions to emphasizing the caste differences and appeasing the large number of people with short term benefits.

athiraraj | Student

Definitely it affects the politics in a Democratic republic
1 It corrupts the politicians.
2. It leads to the development of particular section of society to which the politician belongsBottom of Form