In practice, how does India's caste system work in the 21st century? -2
Answer by Tejasvita Apte:
In the 21st Century, the caste system is more nuanced.
Professionally speaking –
Professions based solely on ones caste no longer exist. That is, just because my father was a teacher, no one can force me to do the same. So, in that respect caste system is obsolete.
Caste Based discrimination –
Further, caste based discrimination is also nil. (Barring some stray incidents sometimes). There are excellent laws in place and they are well enforced.
This means that in public life, legally, nobody can discriminate against another person in terms of job opportunities etc. No one can discriminate or bar some people from entering public spaces. All Indians are one and have the Fundamental right to move freely throughout India.
Affirmative action –
50% seats in all educational institutions as well as government jobs are reserved solely based on a person's caste. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes enjoy these benefits. These are the castes included in the Schedule of the Constitution that enlists the socially and culturally backward castes.
So, this one law/provision is solely based on caste.
So, since we have all the laws, does it mean that castes no longer matter?
Castes make a difference in most people's personal lives. For instance, in arranged marriages, very few people are willing to marry outside their own castes.
But the good news is that love marriages are increasing and so are inter caste marriages.
Caste system therefore remains as a shadow of a very rigid social structure of the past.
Slowly losing its importance. Ever so slowly! Sigh~