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1. Discuss Ambedkar’s idea on citizenship.
Ans. Ambedkar’s concept of citizenship percolated down to the individual. His individual was never atomistic and isolated in nature but was embedded in the social. A man by birth was categorised under a group/caste in the society. The predestined castes gave away class privileges. The system was never based on choice. This excluded the dalits from the rest of the castes – Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. The dalits were exploited, dominated and excluded from the mainstream society. According to Partha Chatterjee, Ambedkar emphasised upon not only the relationship between individuals but also the relationship between an individual and society. For him society was a product of the associations of the individuals. Society was the horizon while the individuals had the capacity of creating a societal environment that could protect the civil, political and social rights. Thus Ambedkar was between liberalism and communitarianism. Gayatri Spivak9 opined that Ambedkar used the term endosmosis as a grounding concept to learn about the individual and group. She said that society is a relation between two groups. Chatterjee opined that Ambedkar lived in two different time zones – modernity and caste system. He had a universalistic as well as particularistic approach to mark the membership of the community. Thus Ambedkar used the idea of human institution to understand a society within and beyond. Ambedkar, as a part of the Drafting Committee of the Indian Constitution, intended to safeguard the rights of every Indian, including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, women, and members of the religious minorities. He believed that a society with deep fissures of caste inequality was not open to changes. It was vulnerable and could succumb to instability. Rabindranath Tagore too gave priority to the society over state as it aided in the human development. Tagore believed that society is an end in itself where people lived in cooperation. While state on the other hand was a product of commerce and politics that suppressed the natural human instincts of living with harmony and peace. Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah marked a difference between the social and the political. Unlike other modern Indian political thinkers, Ambedkar talked of reform from social to political to ensure the recognition of citizenship in true sense. Society was basic but the state was a necessary institution. Unlike Gandhi who held an anarchic approach to the state or Hobbes and Hegel who held an absolutist view to the state, Ambedkar found state as a means for the good of the individual. He was a liberal democrat. Unlike Tagore who dismissed the political, Ambedkar had faith in the political. He believed that state is a pragmatic idea of power. The constitution must fulfil the needs of the people. Influenced by the French Revolution, Ambedkar stressed on the reconstruction of the social and the political based on democratic socialism. He envisioned a government that was dedicated to the consolidation of social, political and economic justice within the framework of liberty, equality and fraternity. He found democracy as the best form of government that could entail rights of its citizens in the best possible way. He believed that only the political can aid in the progress of the society.
Democracy, for Ambedkar, meant an associated life. It was the process of endosmosis that linked the individuals with the groups. He opined that democracy is an arrangement in society where on the one hand there is enough space to change the society and on the other hand, there is common interest shared by the group. When the state becomes authoritative and ignores the society then the location of society becomes important. Only a democratic society can recognize the right of freedom and equal opportunity to its citizens and advance personality development of not just the citizens but also the society on the whole. Thus democracy for him was essentially a form of society rather than a form of government. Ambedkar used Dewey’s concept of associated life to form the basis of his definition of citizenship. Using the Deweyian term, “social endosmosis”, Ambedkar said that there is a blockage in the process of social endosmosis in the Indian society because the society is compartmentalised on the basis of caste system. The Indian society followed the varnashram dharma which was predetermined by birth. This resulted in isolation between various castes and the impregnation of an anti-social spirit, which affected the spirit of fraternity amongst the citizens of the state.
2. What solutions does Ambedkar offer for a casteless society in India? Discuss.
Ans. Caste is a system in which determination of position, rights and duties of an individual is done on the basis of the birth of such individual in a particular group. In other words we can say that, the status of an individual is determined by birth. Under caste system an individual is not allowed to change its status. We can say that it is a rigid form of stratification system, which restrict the mobility and distinctness of status. Due to the caste system several evil prevails in the society. Under a caste system and individual is compel to follow the caste occupation. Caste system leads to untouchability. It restricts the growth of brotherhood among people and also it hold off national unity and create obstacles to social progress. Caste system denies equal rights of individual, that why it is considered as undemocratic. For eradicating the problems of caste system many steps were taken by various leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jyotiba Phule and the most significant role was played by Dr. B R Ambedkar. According to him for eradication of caste, it is necessary to break the religious notion on which caste system is laid down. He is of the view that caste system is not merely division of labour perhaps; it is also a division of labourers. Equality should be for all and though the success shared by all. Instead of thinking about one single community there should be a deep cultural unity of all community. The relevance of this research is to indicate that what Dr. B R Ambedkar regarded as the right path of investigation, to achieve some serviceable truth. Sentiments must be outlawed from the domain of science and things should be judge from objective standpoint.
In 16th century the word caste was derived from the Spanish and Portuguese word Casta, which means race or lineage. Caste system is an example of rigid social inequality from the perspective of social organization and system of values. So far as social organization of caste is concerned, there is division of society into groups ranking in a different hierarchy and in a system of values, caste provide legitimacy to the concept of social inequality among the masses as well as give importance to the idea of purity and pollution. The roots of Hindu caste system were already in place between 1000 and 1500 B.C. When the Aryans settled near the Indus river valley. The Rig Veda a sacred text from the period describe four main Varna in traditional Hindu society : Brahmanas ; the class of priests and teachers ; Kshatriyas, the warrior class who were the rulers and soldiers ; Vaishyas, the commercial class of artisans, traders and cultivators and Shudras; the servant and peasant class.
Although, it is difficult to establish as to when the caste system originated, but there is no doubt that the institution of caste for the convenience of the ruling class leading to successful administration by them. There are different theories about the establishment of the caste system. These are Religious mystical, Biological, Socio-historical theories.
The religious theory explained how the four Varna’s were founded, but they do not explained how the Jaats in each Varna or the untouchables were founded. According to Rig Veda, the ancient Hindu book, the primal man- Purush –destroyed himself to create human society. The different Varnas were created from different part of his bodies. The Brahmans were created from his Head; the kshtriyas from his Hands; the Vaishyas from his Thighs and the Shudras from his Feet. Other religious theory claims that the Varna’s were created from the body organs of Brahma, who is the creator of the world. According to Iravati Krave : the four rank system was creation of ruling class which originally had a three rank system in which whatever the differences of rank all people had right to certain rituals and sacraments from birth to death.
The biological theories claims that all existing things, animated and in animated, inherent three qualities in different apportionment. Sattva attributes includes wisdom, intelligence, honesty, goodness, and other positive qualities. Rajas attributes includes velour, passion, pride and other passionate qualities. Tamas attributes includes dullness, stupidity. Lack of creativity and other negative qualities. According to these attributes Brahmans inherent Sattva qualities. Kshatriyas and Vaishyas inherent Rajas qualities and Shudras inherent Tamas qualities.
In ancient India the religion had a prominent place; the king was considered the image of God. The Priest King accorded different position to different functional groups. According to Senart, like human beings food also inherent different dosage of these qualities but he explained the origin of caste system on the basis of prohibition regarding sacramental food. He holds that the followers of a particular deity considered themselves the descendants of the same ancestors and offered a particular kind of food as offering to their deity. Those who believed in the same deity considered themselves as different from those who believed in some other deity.
The socio historical theory explains the creation of the Varna, Jaats and untouchables. According to this theory the caste system begins with the arrival of Aryans in India. Before the Aryans there were other communities in India of other origins among them Negrito, Mongoloid, Austroloid and Dravidian. When the Aryans arrived in India their main contact was with the Dravidians and Austroloids. The Aryans disregarded the local culture, they begin conquering and taken control over regions in north India and at the same time pushed the local people towards the south, jungles and mountains in north India.
The Aryans organized among themselves in three groups. The first was of a warrior called Rajayana later they changed their name to kshatriya. The second group was of priest called Brahmans. The third group was of farmers and craftsmen and they were called as Vaishyas. In order to secure their status the Aryans resolved some social and religious rules which allowed only them to be the priest, warrior and the businessmen of the society. For instance: Maharashtra in West India, many think that the meaning of the name Maharashtra is great land but some claim that the name Maharashtra is derived from the Jaats called Mahar who were considered to be the original people of this region. In the caste hierarchy the dark-skinned Mahar were out castes. The skin color was an important factor in the caste system.
3. Discuss Ambedkar’s contribution towards gender equality in India.
Ans. Ambedkar’s contribution towards gender equality in India. There’s no mistrustfulness in a single mind that Ambedkar has been a champion of women’s rights, their freedom and their equality. As the first law minister of India, he introduced several laws for the benefit of women, still; his topmost contribution towards gender equality was his movement against the irons of Brahmanical patriarchy that bound a woman in a society formerly manacled by estate. Through his analysis of the essential bias in the treatment of women in the laws articulated by Manu, Ambedkar lays bare how the being gender relations and the places specified to women under the Hindu social order are constructed similar as to honor men and pacify women.
In a casteist society, the anxieties regarding estate chastity are charted out on the body of the woman. The onus of maintaining the estate chastity lies with the woman by hole of her reproductive eventuality and thus she becomes a trouble that needs to be pacified and controlled for the very actuality and proper functioning of the estate system. Ambedkar’s contribution towards gender equality in IndiaIn order to achieve this feat, several ritualistic or ideological slants were essential in the Brahmanical patriarchy. Yalman (1963) in her relative study of estate of Ceylon and Malabar writes how womanish fornication is considered hanging and commodity to be defended from by colorful ritualistic practices to help the‘ pollution’of women. She goes on to say-
The main issue is the concern centering around womanish fornication when manly fornication isn’t inescapably ritualized. I hope to show that filiations through the mama, and the protection of womanish chastity is abecedarian to the estate system of Ceylon and Malabar and that these principles may have structural counteraccusations in other Hindu gentries.
Likewise, Ambedkar notes that the base of estate is endogamy and it can only be maintained if the single units of both the relations are equal. Ambedkar’s contribution towards gender equality in India. Therefore, a couple must either die together or the remaining mate must be disposed of similar that he/ she can not realize their sexual eventuality. For the woman, this can be done in two ways, one is the practice of Sati and the second is the duty of widowhood. In the first script, the woman is excluded from the reproductive frugality but in the alternate, her trouble persists. This is successfully annulled by demeaning the woman to such a condition that she’s no longer a source of allurement. Whence come the atrocities that widows face like having to give up various vesture in exchange for white sarees and to permanently part with any jewellery or cosmetics and in some cases, indeed shave their heads. To insure that they’re no longer a source of allurement, they’re‘uglified’. Ambedkar’s contribution towards gender equality in India.
For the man, Ambedkar notes, the two ways are continence, in which case he automatically withdraws himself from the reproductive frugality, or‘ retaining a bridegroom from the species of those not yet single’. It’s egregious that such a marriage is monstrous and barbaric to say the least and thus it’s demanded to paint such a practice in the colours of ideological compulsion. Child marriages were therefore justified by maintaining that a really faithful man or woman ought not to feel affection for a woman or a man other than the one with whom he or she’s united. Similar chastity is mandatory not only after marriage, but indeed before marriage, for that’s the only correct ideal of chastity. No demoiselle could be considered pure if she feels love for a man other than the one to whom she might be married. As she doesn’t know to whom she’s going to be married, she mustn’t feel affection for any man at all before marriage. However, it’s a sin, If she does so. So it’s better for a girl to know whom she has to love before any sexual knowledge has been awakened in her.
4. Anaylse Ambedkar’s understanding of untouchability.
Ans. Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar reminded the Indian population that only political clarity or administrative reforms could not shape a country that is so diverse in culture and social spectrum.
British government, Babasaheb Ambedkar was guiding the Indians towards a spiritual development.
Here’s how Babasaheb fought against untouchability:
- Born into a poor, low Mahar caste family on April 14, 1891, in Mhow, in the Central Provinces, now Madhya Pradesh, Babasaheb Ambedkar had a tough childhood. His family was treated as untouchables and was subjected to socio-economic discrimination.
- Hailing from the ‘untouchable’ caste of Mahars in Maharashtra, Ambedkar was a social outcast in his early days. Even in his school, he was treated as an ‘untouchable.’
- His schoolmates would not eat beside him, his teachers did not touch his copies as he came from a family that was considered ‘unclean’ by the orthodox Hindus.
- Later in life, Ambedkar became the spokesperson of the backward classes and castes in India.
- Much like African-American reformers such as Martin Luther King Jr and Frederick Douglas in the United States, Ambedkar expounded the importance of a social reform that would abolish caste discrimination and the concept of untouchability in India.
- He also joined hands with Gandhi in the Harijan movement, which protested against the social injustices faced by people belonging to backward castes in India.
- Babasaheb also pointed out that the principal problem of the Indian society was the perennial fight between Buddhism and Brahmanism.
- Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi were two of the most prominent personalities who protested against the untouchability in India.
- Gandhi had published three journals to support the underprivileged class, namely Harijan in English, Harijan Bandu in Gujarati and Harijan Sevak in Hindi. This led to the Harijan Movement in India.
- Gandhi primarily concentrated on the social and economic stability of people belonging to the untouchable groups and reformed the society’s outlook towards them.
- But all went in vain!Unfortunately, even after about 70 years of Independence, India is still trapped under the claws of class and caste discrimination.
The Varna or caste division propounded in the Rig Veda describes the society as a four-varna or caste system. The supreme varna is Brahman, the second is Kshatriya, the third is Vaishya and the last is Sudra.
This idea of social stratification was further developed in the Laws of Manu, written in Manu Smriti.No mention of the untouchable class can be found here as the Varna division system excluded the untouchables altogether.
They have been identified as Ati Sudra or inferior to the Sudras. Later, in the fourth century, they came to be known as Avarnas or the people with no caste.
The untouchables or chandalas are also mentioned in the Upanishads and Buddhist texts as the ‘fifth caste’ or Panchama, which spawned from the contact between Sudra men and Brahman women.
Untouchability in India
Untouchability is the Achilles’ heel of the Indian society. Many leaders have tried to eradicate the untouchable issue from this country but failed. Even today, there are separate crematoria for Brahmans and non-Brahmans at Radhanagar in Hooghly district, West Bengal, which the birthplace of the ‘Father of modern India’ Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
In India, terms such as ‘untouchable’ or ‘harijan’ were replaced by the word ‘Dalit’ since the 1970s. The new term was earlier used by Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar. At present, issues related to the Dalits have become a political leitmotif and the people are used as vote banks.
5. How gold exchange standard is different from gold standard? Discuss.
Ans. A nation on the gold-exchange standard is thus able to keep its currency at parity with gold without having to maintain as large a gold reserve as is required under the gold standard.
The gold-exchange standard came into prominence after World War I because of an inadequate supply of gold for reserve purposes. British sterling and the U.S. dollar have been the most widely recognized reserve currencies. The requirement of a fixed rate of exchange for the reserve currency has the effect of limiting the freedom of the reserve-currency country’s monetary policy to solve domestic economic problems. The use of gold reserves is now limited almost exclusively to the settlement of international transactions, on rare occasions.
gold standard, monetary system in which the standard unit of currency is a fixed quantity of gold or is kept at the value of a fixed quantity of gold. The currency is freely convertible at home or abroad into a fixed amount of gold per unit of currency.
In an international gold-standard system, gold or a currency that is convertible into gold at a fixed price is used as a medium of international payments. Under such a system, exchange rates between countries are fixed; if exchange rates rise above or fall below the fixed mint rate by more than the cost of shipping gold from one country to another, large gold inflows or outflows occur until the rates return to the official level. These “trigger” prices are known as gold points.
The gold standard was first put into operation in the United Kingdom in 1821. Prior to this time silver had been the principal world monetary metal; gold had long been used intermittently for coinage in one or another country, but never as the single reference metal, or standard, to which all other forms of money were coordinated or adjusted. For the next 50 years a bimetallic regime of gold and silver was used outside the United Kingdom, but in the 1870s a monometallic gold standard was adopted by Germany, France, and the United States, with many other countries following suit. This shift occurred because recent gold discoveries in western North America had made gold more plentiful. In the full gold standard that thus prevailed until 1914, gold could be bought or sold in unlimited quantities at a fixed price in convertible paper money per unit weight of the metal.
The reign of the full gold standard was short, lasting only from the 1870s to the outbreak of World War I. That war saw recourse to inconvertible paper money or to restrictions on gold export in nearly every country. By 1928, however, the gold standard had been virtually reestablished, although, because of the relative scarcity of gold, most nations adopted a gold-exchange standard, in which they supplemented their central-bank gold reserves with currencies (U.S. dollars and British pounds) that were convertible into gold at a stable rate of exchange. The gold-exchange standard collapsed again during the Great Depression of the 1930s, however, and by 1937 not a single country remained on the full gold standard.
The United States, however, set a new minimum dollar price for gold to be used for purchases and sales by foreign central banks. This action, known as “pegging” the price of gold, provided the basis for the restoration of an international gold standard after World War II; in this postwar system most exchange rates were pegged either to the U.S. dollar or to gold. In 1958 a type of gold standard was reestablished in which the major European countries provided for the free convertibility of their currencies into gold and dollars for international payments. But in 1971 dwindling gold reserves and a mounting deficit in its balance of payments led the United States to suspend the free convertibility of dollars into gold at fixed rates of exchange for use in international payments. The international monetary system was henceforth based on the dollar and other paper currencies, and gold’s official role in world exchange was at an end.
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