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“Democracy and Diversity” chapter of Class 10th Political Science begins by providing instances of a public expression of social divisions. Then it goes on to describe how social difference can take several structures. Also, there is an explanation of the effect of democratic politics and how it is affected by these social diversities.
Discuss three factors that determine the outcomes of politics of social division
Explain the three factors that are crucial in deciding the outcome of politics of social divisions.
- Point of view of people: In a democracy, people’s point of view is very important in looking at the social differences. If they look at these differences in context of each other, or they see their identities in terms of belonging exclusively to one social group, this point of view is very difficult to adjust in society. But if people see their identity as multiple duty and they perceive it as complementary to national identity, then this type of division is not destructive but is rather constructive for the society. With this, all the weaker sections of the society will get representation in our political system.
- Role of leaders: Second important factor or the outcome of politics of social division is the way in which our leaders raise their demands for different social groups. If the demands are raised in a peaceful manner and by giving even preference to demands of other groups, then it will be constructive for the society. But if leaders raise their demands at the cost of demands of the other groups, then the society will move towards conflict.
- Government’s reaction: Third important factor in this is the reaction of the government towards these demands. If the government shares powers with all the groups, even with minorities, then social division will be of no threat to the country. But if they try to suppress those demands, then it will only lead to forced integration; giving rise to tendencies of disintegration or separatism
So the outcomes of politics of social division in a diversified country should not be seen as a danger. If these factors are cared properly, then it can be healthy for the nation as well.
When does a social difference become a social division?
Every social difference cannot lead to social division. The meaning of social difference is the difference in a group due to certain bases like race, religion, caste, colour, culture, language, etc. When some social differences join hands with another set of social differences, then it becomes a social division. Here, we can take the example of blacks and whites of USA. The main social difference between them is that they belong to different races. But when another set of differences joins that set, such as one section is poor and homeless, another section is rich and affluent, then it becomes a case of social division and produces a feeling that they both are of different communities.
How do social divisions affect politics? Give two examples.
‘‘Some people conclude that politics and Social divisions should not be allowed to mix.’’ Support this idea with two arguments.
How do social divisions affect politics? Explain it.
In almost all the democracies, bi-party system or multiparty system is present in which different political parties contest the elections against each other and try to win over the maximum number of votes so that they can win majority in assemblies. For this, they hold out a number of promises to voters so that they can join their party. They even promise to favour any particular group to win over its loyalty and that group gives its full support to that party. In this way, they try to create differences among different social groups. These differences usually lead to disharmony and distrust among various social groups.
But it is not necessary that these social differences may become social division and create conflict in the society. In this type of society, every section is able to raise its voice for its upliftment both socially and economically. We can give many examples of different countries where the government has given favours to a particular group and yet no conflict or violence occurred in that country.
Examples: First, we can take the example of Northern Ireland, which is a region of UK that has suffered violence due to the bitter ethno-political conflict. Two major groups of people live in it. 44% of the people are Roman Catholics and 53% of the people are Protestants. Nationalist parties were representing Catholics and they raised their voice regarding the unification of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland, which is a Catholic country. But, Protestants favoured to remain with UK, who was represented by Unionists. There was a fierce struggle and violence between Nationalists and Unionists and between Nationalists and the forces of UK. But in 1998, they reached an agreement after which their armed struggle was suspended.
On the contrary, we have the example of Yugoslavia where a number of diverse people such as Catholics, Muslims and eastern orthodox, live. Religious and political competition led to tension and conflict among these groups. Due to this conflict, Yugoslavia was divided into six independent states. So, political, religious and ethnic competition led to the disintegration of the country into six independent countries. Thus, it is clear that social divisions should not be mixed with politics.
________ social differences create possibilities of deep social divisions and tensions ________ social differences do not usually lead to conflicts.
In dealing with social divisions, which one of the following statements is NOT correct about democracy?
- Due to political competition in a democracy, social divisions get reflected in politics.
- In a democracy, it is possible for communities to voice their grievances in a peaceful manner.
- Democracy is the best way to accommodate social diversity.
- Democracy always leads to disintegration of society on the basis of social divisions.
(d) Democracy always leads to disintegration of society on the basis of social divisions.
Consider the following three statements.
- Social divisions take place when social differences overlap.
- It is possible that a person can have multiple identities.
- Social divisions exist in only big countries like India.
Which of the statements is/are correct?
- A, B and C
- A and B
- B and C
- Only C
(ii) A and B
Arrange the following statements in a logical sequence and select the right answer by using the code given below.
- But all political expression of social divisions need not be always dangerous.
- Social divisions of one kind or the other exist in most countries.
- Parties try to win political support by appealing to social divisions.
- Some social differences may result in social divisions.
- D, B, C, A
- D, B, A, C
- D, A, C, B
- A, B, C, D
(i) D, B, C, A
Among the following, which country suffered disintegration due to political fights on the basis of religious and ethnic identities?
Read the following passage from a famous speech by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. Which social division is he talking about? What are his aspirations and anxieties? Do you see relationship between this speech and the incident in Mexico Olympics mentioned in this chapter?
‘‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last’! I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed : ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’.’’
Martin Luther King Jr. was a great human activist who fought for the equal rights of all citizens in the USA. He started a movement called the American Civil Rights Movement, which was started to end the discrimination of race, demand of right to vote and the other labour and basic civil rights. So, due to his efforts, racial inequality ended with the passing of some significant laws in the US.
discrimination with them in the USA. Black people were treated inhumanly and were tortured by whites in a number of ways. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to see a world where there was no racial discrimination. He wanted to see that everyone should be treated as equal even if he belongs to one religion, caste, race or another. He wanted a world where all the people should be given equal opportunities to develop and the economic and social interests of everyone should be respected.
Due to racial discrimination in the world, two athletes of the USA, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who won gold and bronze medals in Mexico Olympics in 1968, raised their voice. During the medal ceremony of the 200 m race, they stood with clenched fists upraised and heads bowed at the time of singing the US National anthem. They wore black socks and no shoes, to represent black poverty, while receiving their medals. The black gloves and raised clenched fists were showing black power.
Both these incidents are closely related with each other because they both tried to draw people’s attention towards racial discrimination. They tried to draw the attention of people towards poor economic condition of blacks in the US. So, there is a definite relation between the speech of Luther King and the incident of Mexico Olympics, in 1968.
Some Dalit groups decided to participate in the UN Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001, demanding the inclusion of caste in the agenda of this conference. Here are three reactions to this move: Amandeep Kaur (a government official):
Our Constitution declares caste discrimination to be illegal. If some caste discrimination continues, it is an internal matter. I am opposed to this being raised in an international forum.
Oinam (a sociologist): I am opposed to this because caste and race are not similar divisions. Caste is a social division, while race is a biological one. Raising caste in this conference on racism would mean equating the two.
Ashok (a Dalit activist): The argument about internal matter is a way of preventing open discussion of oppression and discrimination. Race is not purely biological. It is as much a legal and sociological category as caste. Caste discrimination must be raised in this conference. Which of the three opinions do you agree with most and why?
- I agree with the opinion of Ashok (a Dalit activist).
- I agree with him, because according to him race is not biological. It is a legal and sociological category, as caste. In the UN conference, issues based on caste discrimination must be raised.
My Salute to Carlos and Smith! Will I ever have the courage to do what they did?
Try it yourself. (Every individual may have different opinion about it. How you feel or react, write your own argument.)
I met this group of girls from Pakistan and felt that I had more in common with them than many girls from the other parts of my own country. Is it anti-national to feel so?
No, it is not anti-national to feel so.
Imrana is a student of class X, section B. She and her classmates are planning to help students of class XI in giving a farewell party to the students of class XII. Last month, she played for her section team in a game of Kho-Kho against the team of Class X, section A. She goes back home in a bus and joins all the students from various classes. They all come from trans-Yamuna area in Delhi. Back home, she often joins her elder sister, Naima, in complaining against her brother who does not work at home, while the sisters are asked to help their mother. Her father is looking for a good match for her elder sister, from a Muslim family with a similar economic status from their own ‘biradari’.
(b) In terms of religion, she is a Muslim. (c) In the school, she is a student of class XB
(d) In sports, she is a Kho-Kho player (e) In school bus, she is one of the students.
So, you are saying that too many small divisions are better than a single big division? Are you also saying that politics is a force of unity?
In a democratic country, political expression of social division is normal and can be
healthy. It allows different social groups to express their feeling and get the government
to pay attention towards it.
Different kinds of expression in politics result in cancelling one or the other out. In that way, they reduce their identity which leads to the strengthening of democracy.