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Multiculturalism in india

Inquiry in the Social Sciences

Jennifer Seto

on 12 November 2014

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Transcript of Multiculturalism in india

Is India Truly a Multicultural Nation?
Thesis: Although the country's government has implemented policies to fight acts of cultural discrimination, India, in its current state, does not have the right to claim itself a multicultural nation until the government pays more attention to settling differences between the minorities and majority within the population.
The Education System and Minorities
"To put it bluntly, the rhetoric that recognizes a multicultural population educated in public schools that fills the pages of national policy does not get translated onto the pages of school textbooks used by students enrolled in the Indian school system" (Maslak, 2008, p. 94).
The power of the caste system is in decline
Recent studies of the caste system in India is on a decline through the observance of ritual hierarchy and practices of occupational hereditary-two of three classically accepted markers of a caste system, the third being mutual separation or repulsion
Caste System
Multiculturalism in India
Jimina Almero, Nicole MacDonnell, Vance Mollison, Jennifer Seto, and Sean Wilson
Research Method: Secondary Data Analysis
Some Background
on Multiculturalism in India
The Education System and Minorities
"Children...developed a liking for the members of their own social group a disliking for those who belonged to the other group. They generally preferred to live and interact with the model representing their own group" (Bano, 2014, p. 136).
Term “
” first used in 16th century - describes the Indian social system
Categorized by class (
) and birth (
Four varna groups:
- adoption of customs in Sanskrit text appropriate for higher classes (Walsh, 2011, pp. 61-62)
- memebers of lower or no caste, whose touch was believed to defile a high-caste Hindu. They are shunned and ostracized by mainstream society (Online Etymology Dictionary, 2014).
Protection of Civil Rights Act
, 1955
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe
(Prevention of Atrocities)
, 1989 (Government of India, 2014)

India is a very diverse place, consisting of many cultures, languages and religions
The major religions in India are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism (Census of India: Religion, 2014).
Some diversity came from hundreds of years of different people from all over Asia migrating to the fertile plains of India. They brought their culture with them ( Safvi, 2014).
Mughal Empire that ruled from the mid-16th century, until the early-19th century. These Islamic Empires are largely responsible for Islam being the second largest religion in India (Walsh, 2011, p.82-83).
Other religions, cultures and languages came to India through trade. Many artisans and merchants came to India for the purpose of international trade (Safvi, 2014).
Starting in the mid 19th century, the Strong rule of the British did bring much of India together under one rule, which benefited unity, but it also caused certain reform that would upset the unity of the country (Walsh, 2011, p.133-144) .
Through these factors, Centuries of interaction, exchange and accommodation have resulted between the many different Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Christian traditions. This has set the ground work for what is today, modern India (Safvi, 2014)
Caste System
It has been agreed by scholars that the caste system has been in decline and has been so for the last century.
The declining power of the caste system is noted to be matched by the rising significance of caste identities in social and political life and where caste based marital practices are endured
In this modern era of liberal rights and constitutional guarantees, it has been hard to justify caste-based discrimination, domination, exploitation, and stigmatization in public life.
of India is tremendous; it is obvious. It lies on the surface and anybody can see it. It concerns itself with physical appearances as well as with
certain mental habits and traits. … Yet, with all these differences, there is no mistaking the impress of India (Nehru 1946, 61–2).

What is multiculturalism ?
Preserves the variety of cultural values of an existing diverse culture
The objective of multiculturalism is promoting interaction across social boundaries of class ethnicity, religion and national origin (Kuran T. and Sangholam H. William: 2008:202)

India is diverse, not multicultural.
Diversity vs.

Although several acts are set in order to fight against cultural discrimination, India should not be considered a multicultural country until the government implements strategies in place to settling differences between the minorities and majority within the population.
Difficulties and Solutions
There is persistent discrimination within India between the majority and minorities, as shown through the education system

There are still hundreds of "honor killings" by which families avenge inter-caste marriages and liaisons. Caste discrimination is still drearily evident in the wretched lives of dalits, formerly "untouchables", who remain India's poorest and least educated people.

Government of India website was unavailable for a period of time
Time and resource management

Looking for sources that were unbiased used McMaster Library database, peer-reviewed articles, other sources
New Research Question
Why are the policies being in place by the Indian government not changing the population’s opinions of cultural groups that are different from their own?
Census of India: Religion. (2014). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from

Safvi, Rana. "Understanding Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb: How Diverse Is the Indian
Multiculturalism" Dna. Diligent Media Corporation Ltd., 2014. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.

Walsh, J. E. (2011). A brief history of India (2nd ed.). New York: Facts On File.

Bano, S., & Mishra, R. C. (2014). Development of Social Identity and Prejudice in
Hindu and Muslim Children. Social Science International, 30(1), 127-142. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1542694380?accountid=12347
Maslak, M. (2008). School as a site of Tibetan ethnic identity construction in India? results from
a content analysis of textbooks and Delphi study of teachers' perceptions. Educational
Review, 60(1), 85-106. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00131910701794671

The protection of civil rights (PCR) act, 1955 (page 1) - legislations. Ministry of social justice and
empowerment, government of india. (2014). Retrieved 11/07, 2014, from http://socialjustice.nic.in/pcr-act.php

The scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (prevention of atrocities) act, 1989 (page 1) -
legislations. Ministry of social justice and empowerment, government of india. (2014). Retrieved 11/07, 2014, from http://socialjustice.nic.in/poa-act.php

Untouchable. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved November 08, 2014, from
Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/untouchable

Natrajan, B. (2011). Introduction. In The Culturalization of Caste in India Identity and Inequality in
a Multicultural Age. (pp. 9-22). Hoboken: Taylor & Francis.

"Caste in doubt; the Indian census and caste." The Economist 12 June 2010: 46(US). Academic
OneFile. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.
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