No country, nation or for that matter society is a perfect one. It has its inherent flaws that need to be worked on. Be it social, political or the economic sphere, the need of reform is always felt when stagnation is witnessed. The human society across the world is affected by various problems such as the class system, caste system, racial discrimination etc.
When we talk about the Indian society, one of the biggest problems that has existed since ages is the ‘Caste System’. It categorizes people on the basis of their occupation and simultaneously compels people from a particular caste to adopt a certain occupation irrespective of their will and acumen. Over the period of time, this stratification has degenerated into a tool of subordination of the classes ranking in the lower parts of this strata by those on the top of it.
One of the great thinkers and a reformer, Dr. B.R Ambedkar, who himself was a victim of caste-based discrimination argued as to how social reform should take precedence in the Indian society. Karl Marx, in his works, described as to how the problem of the class divide can be solved by economic reforms with the Proletariats seizing the means of productions which in turn would bring a social change.
Babasaheb, however, argued that the same doesn’t hold well within the Indian society infested by the Caste system. He argued that unlike in other societies, ownership of economic resources doesn’t necessarily translate into social power in the Indian context. He explained this by giving the example of how Brahmin priests and Sadhus, who are supposed to live on ‘Dakshana’, indicating a lack of ownership of resources. Despite this, however, they are epicenters of social power according to our social system.
The same is the case with political reform. Any political reform without the appropriate social changes preceding them would only perpetuate the social differences. A bureaucrat or a Judge who himself/herself stigmatizes against the oppressed is going to do no good irrespective of whatever political reforms may take place.
Therefore it is imperative for Social reform to precede Political or Economic reform in order to proceed towards a better society. Unless we put an end to the oppression and integrate even the most left out and stigmatized sections, the ideal society which we want to build would remain to be a distant dream.
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