The `Wonderful’ Side of Indian Caste System

Economics in action

I am, like many other liberals in India, a critic of its caste system. In my view, it continues to play a debilitating role in the development of the country. It works against `schooling for all’ in two ways. First, the mindset of the upper caste (which has been indifferent to the needs of the majority, intentionally or unintentionally) has shaped the policies of education in the country since its independence. Secondly, those who have been marginalized historically from formal education through the caste system are yet to participate fully in schooling – by being in school regularly and learning adequately.  The urge to restrict sexual and marital relationships within the caste works against the mobility of single girls and this could be a major factor against their participation in paid employment.

Though there are these disabling features, there must be certain important benefits from this mechanism, to some powerful…

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