Overview of Indian Society
1) Discuss the characteristics and problems of urban areas
Answers : Urban areas, usually referred to as cities or metropolitan areas, are places that are highly populated, have developed infrastructure, and are active economically. These places frequently serve as centers for social, cultural, and commercial exchanges. The process of people moving from rural to urban regions, which results in the growth and extension of these urban places, is known as urbanization.
1) Density of population – The four metro cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai along with few other cities has the highest density of population. Urban regions are heavily inhabited, with a lot of people crammed into a limited amount of land. There are more social interactions, more variety, and more cross-cultural exchanges as a result of this population density.
2) Literacy – Urban areas often boast of literacy rate of more than 70% which is generally higher than the national average. Occupation- The urban population is mostly involved in secondary (industrial) or service sector like banking and insurance, education, health etc. Basic reading and writing skills are only one aspect of literacy; it also includes the capacity to comprehend, decipher, and evaluate diverse types of information, such as text, media, and digital material.
3) Unemployment – Urban unemployment is the state in which a sizable proportion of people live in cities or metropolitan areas actively seek employment but are unable to find acceptable positions. This phenomena is a key component of metropolitan centers’ greater economic environment and can have significant consequences on people, families, communities, and the economy as a whole.
4) Pollution and lack of sanitation – High density of population results in eruption of slums, lack of infrastructural facility, problem of sanitation and pollution in urbanareas. These problems may have significant effects on the general quality of life, environmental sustainability, and public health as cities expand and urbanization picks up speed.
2) Discuss the characteristics and problems of rural areas
Answers : Rural areas are geographical areas with a low population density, open spaces, natural scenery, and agricultural activity. Urban areas, which are denserly populated and frequently have more advanced infrastructure and services, are distinct from these places.
1) Caste system and joint family system – Two significant social structures in India are the caste system and the joint family system, particularly in rural areas. The rigidity of the caste system and restrictions based on purity and pollution arethe basic rules of rural social milieu. However, they also bring with them a unique set of difficulties and issues.
2) Literacy – Rural literacy rate has always been lower than 50% in most of the regions owing to the traditional mind set and stronghold of customs and blind faith. It contributes greatly to severing the cycle of poverty, enhancing socioeconomic conditions, and promoting inclusive growth. This often results in unemployment and poverty.
3) Occupation – Agriculture is backbone for rural economy. One of the main jobs in rural areas is farming. To provide for their needs, people cultivate crops, rear livestock, and engage in a variety of agricultural activities. However dependence on monsoon and primitive technology restricts the growth and per hectare yield in rural areas.
4) Unemployment – Rural unemployment is a serious issue that has an impact on the livelihoods and general wellbeing of the rural populace. Owing to the seasonal nature of agriculture and uneconomical land holdings, there is seasonal and disguised unemployment.
5) Low media exposure – Low media exposure in rural areas is a frequent problem brought on by a number of aspects that are unique to rural communities. Despite improvements in communication and technology, access to and participation in media in rural places is frequently difficult. Due to high levels of poverty and illiteracy the exposure to print and audio visual media is very low.
3) Discuss the characteristics and problems of tribal areas
1) Isolated and nomadic settlements – They are away from the civilized areas and keep moving in search occupation and livelihood. Some tribal regions around the world have unusual characteristics, such as isolated and migratory settlements. These settlements show different lifestyles influenced by the tribal populations’ cultural, historical, and geographic contexts.
2) Distinct dialects – The tribal have their own language as well as dialect for communication very different from the neighboring areas. A distinct dialect is a variety of a language that is specific to a given area, socioeconomic class, or community. The pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax, and idiomatic phrases of these dialects can be different from the standard or official form of the language.
3) Animism, totemism and magic – Tribal religion compromises of worship of nature and natural elements known as animism or a symbolic worship known as totemism. They believe that free spirits regulate their lives for which they also engage in white (non violent) and black (violent) forms of magic.
4) Geographical distribution – Tribals are spread all over India with maximum concentration in North East and Central India. The states with predominant tribal population are Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand. Tribal communities are frequently concentrated in large numbers, their cultural traditions are distinctive, and they have a strong sense of connection to their ancestral homeland.
5) Low literacy – With a distinct dialect and nomadic in nature tribal have very low levels of literacy or complete illiteracy in some areas. An urgent problem that impedes the general development and empowerment of tribal populations is low literacy in tribal areas. This issue is caused by a number of causes, so it is crucial to address them with focused and context-specific interventions.
6) Low per capita income and uneconomic land holding – With primitive ways of earning livelihood and traditional agricultural practices like zoom cultivation large number of them are below poverty line. In rural areas, particularly tribal communities, low per capita income and uneconomic land holdings are frequent problems. These problems may have a substantial effect on the way of life and economic circumstances of the local community.
4) Discuss the Multi lingual and Multi religious nature of Indian society.
Answers : A ) Multi-linguism : Language is not merely a tool of communication but a means through which cultures are transmitted and spread for generations together. In fact the major ground on which India was divided in 25 states (now there are 28 states) was language and linguistic diversity. According to the Linguistic survey of India there are nearly 179 languages and more than 1652 dialects in India. On the basis of the origin, languages in India can be broadly categorized in to three groups. They are as follows.
a) The Indo-Aryan languages – They cover almost 72 percent of India’s population. They include Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Oriya, Sindhi, Punjabi, Bihari, Rajasthani, Assamese, Kashmiri and Sanskrit. Majority of the population belonging to this group reside in northern, western, central and eastern India.
b) Dravidian languages- The population from southern India belong to this group. The major languages are Tamil, Telegu, Kannada and Malayalam. 25 percent of India’s population uses these languages.
c) Indo-European languages- Owing to its colonial history English, French and Portuguese are the languages spoken in parts of India. English has been accepted widely as one of the official languages for communication and in higher education. Small parts of Goa, Diu, Daman and Pondicherry comprise of people speaking French or Portuguese.
B) Multi-religionism : India is a cradle of world religions. Its ancestors have preached and practiced almost all major religions of the world giving rise to worldly beliefs, practices, rites, rituals, ceremonies and institutions. Indian Constitution has rightly reflected the idea of multi religionism. It states that “every citizen has a right to freely practice, preach, profess and propagate any religion or faith”.
a) Hinduism – Hinduism is one of the most ancient religions of India. Although followed by majority of population, its origin is not owed to any prophet or founder. Major Hindu scriptures include Vedas and the holy book is Bhagwad-Gita, Ramayan, Puranas etc. Hinduism. They believe in trinity of Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer) and Mahesh or Shiva (destroyer). Hindus are further divided in to two sects i.e. shaivism and vaishism and four castes i.e. Brahmin, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras which are discussed later in the section on caste system in India.
b) Islam – Islam originated in Arabia in around 7th century A.D. The term Islam in Arabic means surrender to God. Prophet Mohammad is the founder of this religion. It is a monotheistic religion meaning believes only in one god and that is Allah. Quran is the holy book of Islam.
The religion is based on five pillars, they are Allah (believe in only one god), Ramzan (fast in the auspicious month), Hajj (Pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime), Namaz (praying five times a day) and Zakkat (Charity). The two major sects of Islam are Shiyahs and Sunnis.
c) Jainism – Jainism is a religion based on ethical conduct alone. The twenty-fourth tirthankara was Vardhaman Mahavira who is said to be the founder of Jainism. It is further divided in to two sects, Shwetambara and Digambara. Jainism believes in Karma but do not believe in Caste inequalities. Ahimsa (Non- violence), non stealing, truth, non-possessiveness are some of the values preached by Jainism. Majority of the followers of this relgion are found in India.
5) Discuss the concept of gender as a demographic variable.
Answers : Gender as a demographic variable is an important component to understand the development and social progress of the nation. As rightly pointed by experts “the development which is not engendered is considered to be endangered”. It is essential to understand the parameters of sex ratio, child sex ratio (0-6 years), health, education and work participation of women as indicators of gender development of the country.
a) In this section we would only limit to the phenomenon of sex ratio and child sex ratio as an indicator of women’s empowerment in the nation. Sex ratio is defined as the number of females per thousand males in the population. The child sex ratio is defined as the number of females in the age group of 0- 6 years per thousand males in the population.
Since the first census taken in 1901 the sex ratio has shown a declining trend which has been sharper since independence (with a rare incidence of marginal increase). With 972 in 1901 to 946 in 1951 and 927 (lowest in last 100 years) in 1991.
b) The decline in the child sex ratio of 0-6 years is also alarmingly high. In 1901 the Child sex ratio (juvenile sex ratio) was 976 in1961. It has come down to 927 in 2001. The marginal improvement in overall sex ratio from 1991 to 2001 of six points (from 927 to 933) is not complemented with any kind of improvement in corresponding child sex ratio, which has dropped from 971 in 1981, to 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001.
c) Source: Census of India, 2011 Against all the popular beliefs and myth the progressive and economically developed states have the lowest sex ratio in the country. Along with historically female deficit states like Punjab (893 per thousand males) and Haryana (877 per thousand males), Maharashtra (925 per thousand males) and Gujarat (918 per thousand males) has also joined the list of states with sharply declining sex ratio in 2011. Even the child sex ratio in these states has been miserably low with almost 50 point decline as compared to its ratio in 2001.
6) What is regional variation? Discuss it with reference to urban, rural and tribal differences.
Answers : A region can be defined as a territory, the inhabitant of which are emotionally attached to it, due to a number of forces and factors such as common language, beliefs, practices and common socio- economic-political stages of development. India with its cast geographical area and socio-cultural diversity has been divided in to 28 states and 7 union territories.
The formation largely has been taken place on the basis of language, however the physical features, socio-economic conditions and cultural aspects also gives distinct identity to each region of India.
a) 70% of the population belongs to rural areas 28% to urban areas and a small but important part of the population i.e. around 2% lives in remote tribal areas. Tribal population is identified by those who are original settlers or inhabitants residing in remote areas of forests or mountains also known as adivasis or girijans.
Rural areas are predominantly the agricultural region with low density of population. Urban areas are all places with corporations, Municipalities, cantonment board with a minimum population of 5000, where at least 75% of the population is engaged in non- agricultural activities where the density of population is at least 4000 persons per sq.km.
There are several factors that indicate regional variations between urban and rural areas.
b) Characteristics and problems of tribal areas :
i) Geographical distribution – Tribals are spread all over India with maximum concentration in North East and Central India. The states with predominant tribal population are Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, etc.
ii) Animism, totemism and magic – Tribal religion compromises of worship of nature and natural elements known as animism or a
symbolic worship known as totemism. They believe that free spirits regulate their lives for which they also engage in white (non- violent) and black (violent) forms of magic.
c) Characteristics and problems of rural areas :
i) Literacy – Rural literacy rate has always been lower than 50% in most of the regions owing to the traditional mind set and stronghold of customs and blind faith. This often results in unemployment and poverty.
ii) Occupation – Agriculture is backbone for rural economy. However dependence on monsoon and primitive technology restricts the growth and per hectare yield in rural areas.
d) Characteristics and problem of urban areas :
i) Density of population – The four metro cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai along with few other cities has the highest density of population.
ii) Unemployment – In spite of plenty employment opportunities the high density of population, computerization of service sector and close down of industrial units result in educated unemployment and layoffs.
Chapters – 1 – 2
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