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Casts and politics

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  1. Caste, an important factor in Indian politics?
    1. Caste as a political Identity, through the social clivages
    2. Caste as an Ideology: can it work in a democracy?
  2. Caste, a political ''re-construction''?
    1. The ''revival'' of the caste identity through politics
    2. The use of caste in the democratic competition

India has always been a great mystery to the foreign mind. Indian society has, its own mythology, customs and traditions, such as the very peculiar division of society, which is quite different from the common segmentation into economic classes. The Hindu social organization divides society in different castes. According to Lundberg, a caste (jati) is a rigid social class in which one is born and out of which one can escape only with extreme difficulty. We can also define a caste, with H.Risley, as "a collection of families or groups of families, bearing a common name and claiming a common ancestor?. A caste is a homogeneous social group. Contrary to class, caste gives a social status and not an economic status. Mobility within the caste system is vertical. It is not possible to move from one caste to another, but one can move within the jati.

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