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Socio-economic issues related to Caste hierarchies in rural Uttar Pradesh

Important keywords:

  • Rural Area
  • Socio-economic status
  • Caste Hierarchies
  • Varna System
  • Dalit

Rural Area:

Rural areas are those areas of the country where the majority of people ( more than 75 %) are involved in primary activities ( agriculture and livestock farming).

Socio-economic status:

Socio-economic status refers to a person's status in society which is determined by the combination of economic and social factors.

Caste Hierarchies:

The caste System ( Varna System) in India divides Indian society into five major classes-

  • Brahmin ( Priests and teachers)
  • Kshatriyas ( Warriors and rulers)
  • Vaishyas ( farmers, traders, and merchants)
  • Shudras (labors)
  • Dalits ( Untouchable, street sweepers, latrine cleaners)

In Indian society, Brahmins are placed at the top and Shudras and Dalits are placed at the bottom and Kshatriyas and Vaishyas come between the Brahmin and Shudras. These arrangements of caste are known as Caste Hierarchy. 

From the political and development planning perspective, the constitution of India divided Indian Society into four major classes:

  • Scheduled Tribe ( STs)
  • Scheduled Castes ( SCs)
  • Other Backward Classes ( OBCs)
  • General Castes

Socio-economic issues related to Caste hierarchies in rural Uttar Pradesh:

Access to land and economic opportunities:

As we know land is directly promotional to wealth and power in society, especially in rural areas. Less land means less economic opportunities and power in rural areas.

Caste Hierarchy, especially in rural Uttar Pradesh has visible effects on the distribution of land resources. Lower classes of Indian Society especially Shudra and Dalits have either very little land or no land. 

That is why the Government of India has brought many land reforms in India since its independence to redistribute the land from landlords to landless laborers. However, the actual benefits of land reforms hardly benefitted Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes communities.


Lower caste, especially Dalit faces discrimination in Society. 

We often see in the News that Dalit children get mid-day meals after other caste finishes their mid-day meals. 

Dalits are not allowed to sit at the same table at wedding dinners in village communities.

Educational Opportunities:

Dalit Children face difficulties in gaining equal education opportunities in government and private schools in rural schools. 

Some report suggests that Dalit Children are not allowed to sit on the same mat or bench with other castes.

Health Opportunities:

As we know the quality and services of government hospitals are poor, especially in rural Uttar Pradesh. 

The majority of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled tribes are poor and hence they are not able to access private health facilities and they are dependent on the government's hospitals.

Accessing in Common resources:

The lower Class, especially Dalit faces discrimination in accessing community resources like village tanks and village forests. 

Political Power:

The political power in rural areas is often derived from social hierarchy and it limits the lower caste to rise above the social status based on merit or even having more population. 

Dominant castes ( Brahmins and Kshatriyas)  have more influence in villanage panchayat and control the policy decisions.

Income Inequality:

There is wide income inequality within Caste and between Castes. 

Some of the Dalits are rich and some are poor. Putting "creamy layer" reservations in Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe based on income could help bridge the income gap within the caste.

The above Socio-economic issues are not only present in rural Uttar Pradesh, they are found in all rural areas of India. Inter-caste marriage and inter-caste dining should be promoted to break the social barriers between the caste hierarchy.

Try to solve the following questions:

  • How do caste hierarchies and power structures affect access to resources and opportunities in rural Uttar Pradesh? Discuss. ( UPPSC General Studies-V(5) Mains Solutions 2023)
  • ग्रामीण उत्तर प्रदेश में जाति पदानुक्रम तथा शक्ति संरचना किस प्रकार संसाधनों तथा अवसरों तक पहुंच को प्रभावित करते हैं? विवेचना कीजिए। ( UPPSC General Studies-V(5) Mains Solutions 2023)

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