Problems Faced by the Scheduled Castes

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<ul><li><p>7/27/2019 Problems Faced by the Scheduled Castes</p><p> 1/3</p><p>Problems faced by the Scheduled Castes</p><p>The Varna system which existed during the Vedic period, in course of time degenerated into the caste</p><p>system. Since then, the Scheduled Castes who are known as Untouchables have been suffering from</p><p>various social, religious, political, legal, economic, educational and other disabilities. For centuries they</p><p>were denied political representation, legal rights, civic facilities, educational privileges and economicopportunities. During the British Rule also, nothing was done to uplift the Scheduled Castes and to</p><p>relieve them from their bondages. Even today, the Scheduled Castes are not free from problems.</p><p>(a) Social Restrictions and Disabilities- Low status in the caste hierarchy. In the caste hierarchy, the SCs are ascribed the lowest status.</p><p>They are considered to be unholy, inferior and low and are looked down upon by other</p><p>castes. They have been suffering from the stigma of untouchability. Their very touch is</p><p>considered to be polluting for the higher caste people. Hence they have been treated as</p><p>servants of the other caste people.</p><p>- Education Disabilities. The Harijans were forbidden from taking up to education during the earlydays. Sanskrit education was denied for them. Public schools and other educational institutions</p><p>were clothes for them. Even today, majority of them are illiterate and ignorant.</p><p>- Civic Disabilities. For a long time, the untouchable castes were not allowed to use public placesand avail civic facilities such as village wells, ponds, temples, hostels, hotels, schools, hospitals,</p><p>lecture halls, etc. They were forced to live on the outskirts of the towns and villages during the</p><p>early days. Even today, they are segregated from other spatially. Restrictions are imposed on</p><p>the mode of construction of their houses, types of dresses and patters of their ornamentation.Some lower caste people were not allowed to carry umbrellas, to wear shoes or golden</p><p>ornament and to milk cows.</p><p>(b) Religious DisabilitiesThe Harijans also suffer from religious disabilities even today. They are not allowed to enter</p><p>temples in many places. The Brahmins, who offer their priestly services to some lower castes,</p><p>are not prepared to officiate in the ceremonies of the untouchable castes. They do not even</p><p>bow down to the deities of these untouchable castes. The Vedic Mantras which are considered</p><p>to be more pure could not be listened to and chanted by the Harijans because of the taboos.</p></li><li><p>7/27/2019 Problems Faced by the Scheduled Castes</p><p> 2/3</p><p>(c) Economic DisabilitiesThe Harijans are economically backward and have been suffering from various economic</p><p>disabilities also.</p><p>- No right of property ownership. For centuries, the Harijans were not allowed to have land andbusiness of their own. It is only recently their ownership to the property has become recognised.</p><p>The propertied people are comparatively less in them. Majority of them depend upon</p><p>agriculture but only a few of them own land.</p><p>- Selection of Occupations limited. The caste system imposes restrictions on the occupationalchoice of the members. The occupational choice was very much limited for the Harijans. They</p><p>were not allowed to take up to occupations which were reserved for the upper caste people.</p><p>- Landless Labourers. Majority of the Harijans are today working as landless labourers. More than90% of the agricultural labourers in India belong to the depressed classes which include the SCs</p><p>and STs. The Harijans are economically exploited by the upper caste people. Even today, they</p><p>are the lowest paid workers. Some of them continue to suffer as bonded labourers at the hands</p><p>of the higher caste people.</p><p>- Political Disabilities. The untouchables hardly participated in the political matters. They were notgiven any place in the politics, administration and the general governance of India. They were</p><p>not allowed to hold any public post. Political rights and representation were denied to them.</p><p>Under the British rule, they were given the right to vote for the first time. After independence,</p><p>equal political opportunities and rights have been provided for the Harijans also.</p><p>Measures for the welfare of Scheduled Castes</p><p>The government of India has been trying to uplift the Scheduled Castes. The governmental attempts to</p><p>promote the welfare of SCs through Constitutional and legislative measures.</p><p>The Government has incorporated some special provisions in the Constitutition for the removal of</p><p>untouchability and to promote the welfare of SCs. The Constitution ensures the protection and assures</p><p>the promotion of interests of SCs in the fields such as (1) political representation, (2) representation in</p><p>services, (3) economic development, (4) socio-cultural safeguards and (5) legal support.</p><p>1. Articles 15, 16, 17, 28, and 46 guarantee that the state shall not discriminate between personson account of their religion or region and caste or class.</p><p>2. Article 15 prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, race, sex or place of birth.3. Article 17 abolishes untouchability. It is further provided that the enforcement of any disability</p><p>arising out of untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with the law.</p><p>4. Article 46 promotes the educational and economic interests of SCs.</p></li><li><p>7/27/2019 Problems Faced by the Scheduled Castes</p><p> 3/3</p></li></ul>


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