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Ethnic diversities in India UPSC | Caste vs Race Vs Ethnicity| Cultural Setting | Geography of India

Caste vs Race Vs Ethnicity

The following are differences between caste, race, and ethnicity. 

  • Caste is a social division based on social hierarchy and inherited by birth
  • Race is a biological division based on physical characteristics.
  • Ethnicity is a social and cultural concept having similar cultural practices.

Some social differences such as caste and race we inherit from birth and we can not change or we do not have a choice.

Some social differences such as ethnicity or religion we can change or we do have the choice to change them.

There is three major Ethnic group family in India:

  • Indo-Aryan Ethnic Group
  • Dravidian Ethnic Group
  • Mongoloid Ethnic Group

Indo-Aryan Ethnic Group:

The following are characteristics:

  • Spread in Northern and central India
  • Language: Indo-Aryan family
  • Important sub-ethnic groups are:
    • Punjabi, Jats, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Gorkha, etc

Dravidian Ethnic Group:

It is in southern India

  • Major ethnic groups in Dravidian ethnicity are:
  • Tamilian, Malayalami, Telugu, Kannad

Mongoloid Ethnic group:

  • These are found in the northeastern states.
  • Very rich ethnic diversity
  • Each tribe is different from others ethnically.

Some examples, 

  • Arunachal Pradesh:
    • Ahoms,
    • Apatani
    • Karbi
    • Bori
    • Mishmi
  •  Bodo in Assam,
  • Naga in Nagaland
  • Meitei in Manipur
  • Mizo in Mizoram
The implication of Ethnic diversities:
  • On the positive side, if Ethnic diversities are good for the country but not managed well then it will create problems for national integrity and development.
  • Communities may be increased. Communalism means religious or community-based politics.
  • Cultural and social inequality and injustices of the past of particular ethnicity may be provoked by the opposition parties or other communities.
  • In India, many divisive forces are creating problems that are creating problems of national integrity. Some examples are,
  • Communal riots
  • The demand for regional autonomy
  • Caste or religious-based politics
  • The inclination to particular communities by political party

Try to solve the following questions:

  •  Examine the genesis of Racial diversity in India(UPSC)
  •  Critically assess the vanishing ethnic linguistic plurality of India. (UPSC 2018, 200 words, 15 marks)
  • Point out the ethnic disparities in the N.E. India. (UPSC, 2016)
  • Linguistic diversity in Northeastern states. ( UPSC 2012)
  • Describe the impact of linguistic diversity on the development of various regions of India. (UPSC 2013)

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