India is a country that is marked by humongous variety in virtually every aspect of social life. India witnesses diversities in terms of ethnic, linguistic, regional, economic, religious, class, and caste groups. This diversity is also permeated with immense urban-rural differences and gender distinctions. India is perhaps one country in the world where changes are found in terms of caste, language and culture. Multifaceted nature of Indian society makes it distinguishable from other great and old civilization of world. Despite the widespread diversity and complex nature of Indian life prevalent cultural practices bind them into one thread of social harmony and order.
Apart from Indian History, World History, and Physical Geography, Indian society and social justice has also been given a significant place in GS Paper -1 of UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam. Indian society and social justice could appear an easy section for those aspirants who have taken Sociology subject as their optional but for others this portion might appear a bit cumbersome and hence could pose difficulties in fetching marks. Before jumping to the strategy for Indian society and social justice it is important to understand the UPSC syllabus of Indian Society.
Indian Society has been put in GS mains paper 1 along with History, World History, and Geography. However as per the UPSC syllabus one has to focus on certain key areas only that have been mentioned below:
Indian Society has been included in the syllabus of UPSC mains exam along with Social Justice. Before moving to standard books it is advisable to go through NCERT books to get some basic idea about society and problems plaguing the society. The following NCERT books must be referred to strengthen the basics:
Note: Keep a close vigil on social happenings, new bills related to the society etc. Only an outline of the areas to be covered under the section and strategy to cover them is discussed in this article.
Indian Society is perhaps one of the easiest section in GS Paper 1 as it aims to check your perception and analytical approach to Indian Society and its problems. Unlike other sections it does not demand very precise knowledge and mugged up facts. UPSC has included this section in the exam just to see how you will respond to a section of society and the problems faced by the people belonging to specific section of the Indian Society.
An easy way to identify the features of Indian Society is to take a broader look from outside. One need to have a bird eye view to understand the intricacies. As a beginner, assume the perspective of a foreigner visiting India and try to see Indian Society through his eyes.
Diversity in Indian Society is multifaceted but UPSC has emphasized on only few areas that need to be prepared. UPSC has included the following diversities exclusively in its syllabus:
Diversity in terms of:
The next important area is the problems in Indian Society. Is Indian Society well and fine? Are we all civilized and developed? Do all sections of people think in a rational and scientific way? Are we a society of peace and freedom? Are there people who live in poverty, illiteracy, exploitation etc?
Society without problems and issues is beyond imagination. The society is an amalgamation of many things such as caste, culture, races, languages etc. Indian Society too has been plagued with many issues and problems due to prevailing diversity. Casteism is one of the problems that has further sprouted many other issues and problems. A deep rooted Caste System is unique to India, and it still has its impact in the 21st-century society and even in modern vote bank politics.
Religious orthodoxy and discrimination is another problem that stems from existence of multi religious Indian Society. India has witnessed a progressive nature by embracing other religions yet the multiplicity of religions in India is exploited by many anti-Indian elements to spread communalism.
Inequality has also given birth to many other problems such as Poverty, hunger, corruption and unemployment. There is an existence of social, economic and political inequality. The result of these inequalities is that Dalits and Tribals are still backward. Even after 65 years of Independence, not all of them attained an equal status with the rest of the Indian Society. Gender inequality is also a rampant issue in India. Even after so much years after independence women in general are facing discrimination and lagging behind in many areas. Educational development has made them empowered and independent yet the issues like domestic violence, dowry and rape still prevalent in the Indian Society. Children are also facing problems like malnutrition and hunger. As per a report malnutrition is as high as 40% among the children of India.
Indian Society, in general, can be said to be a peace loving society. We are neither too conservative nor too liberal. As a developing nation, we have our own limitations, but only a rational and scientific thinking Indian Society can bring positive changes. Literacy in India stands at 75% but superstitions and orthodox traditions are still embedded in the Indian Society.
Social Justice can be seen as panacea to many problems. It is a tool aiming to eradicate inequalities in society, ensuring economic upliftment of vulnerable and backward section of Indian society, establishment of a democratic system, mitigate sufferings and provide legal justice to those who have been oppressed at the hand of influential and powerful section of Indian society. Social justice can be seen as a dynamic tool to improve the conditions of the marginalized sections of the Indian society.
The suggestions and strategy discussed above can be fruitful only if the proper revision and answer writing practice is done without any glitches. Try to integrate current affairs with the static portion so that the contemporary changes can be incorporated effectively. Also try to develop an analytical and critical approach for your answers thus making your answer unique and different from others.