NCERT Class 10 Civics Chapter 4 - Gender, Religion and Caste

Chapter 4 Gender, Religion and Caste

Question and Answer
Question 1: Define sexual division of labour.
A system in which all work inside the home is either done by women of the family, or organized by them through the domestic helpers.

Question 2: How did the sexual division of labour affect the women’s role in politics?

• Due to sexual division of labour, though women constitute half of the humanity, their role in politics is minimal.
• Earlier only men were allowed to participate in public affairs, vote and contest for public offices.
• Later, women in different parts of the world agitated for equal rights and got them gradually.

Question 3: What are feminist movements?
Movements led by women and or men demanding enhancement of political and legal status of women and improving their educational and career opportunities, equality in personal and family life as well are called feminist movements.

Question 4: How have these movements / political expression of gender helped to improve women’s role in public life?

• Due to political expression of gender, now we find women working as scientists, doctors, engineers, lawyers etc., which were not considered suitable for women.
• Improvement in literacy rate.
• Increase in women’s representation in the legislative bodies (though 10% only).
• Improvement in quality of life (through various Acts).
• Abolition of certain social evils that targeted women.

Question 5: In our country, women still lag much behind men despite some improvement since independence. Give reasons.

• The literacy among women is only 65.46% compared with 82.14% among men.
• School drop-out rate is high among girls because parents prefer to spend their resources for their boys’ education rather than spending equally on their sons and daughters.
• The proportion of women among the highly paid and valued jobs is very small (due to lack of adequate education and skills).
• In almost all areas of work, women are paid less than men, even when both do exactly the same work.
• In many parts of India parents prefer to have sons and find ways to have the girl child aborted leading to a decline in sex ratio (943:1000).
• Women are subjected to various kinds of harassment, exploitation and violence (at home as well as outside).

Question 6: The proportion of women in the legislature is very low in India. Explain. / What is the status of women’s representation in India’s legislative bodies?

• The percentage of elected women members in the Lok Sabha is only 10% of its total strength.
• The percentage of elected women members in the State Legislative Assemblies is less than 5%.
• India is behind the averages of several developing countries of Africa and Latin America.
• In the government, cabinets are largely all-male even when a woman becomes the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister.

Question 7: Mention the steps that can be taken to improve the women’s representation in politics.

• To reserve seats in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies for women, as has been done at the Panchayat Raj level.
• Political parties should give due representation to women candidates.
• Increase literacy rate.
• Encouragement from family members.

Question 8: Unlike gender differences, the religious differences are often expressed in the field of politics. Explain.

• Gandhiji used to say that religion can never be separated from politics. What he meant by this is that politics must be guided by ethics drawn from religion.
• Human rights groups argue that most of the victims of communal clashes are people from religious minorities. They have demanded that the government should take special steps to protect religious minorities.
• Women’s movement has argued that family laws of all religions discriminate against women. They demanded that the government should change these laws to make them more equitable.

Question 9: How can religion influence politics?

• People of different religious communities should be able to express their needs, interests and demands, in politics.
• Those who hold political power should be able to regulate the practices of a religion to prevent discrimination and oppression.
• Those who hold power should treat all religions equally.

Question 10: What is communal politics?

• When religion is seen as the basis of a nation.
• When beliefs of one religion are presented as superior to those of other religions.
• When the demands of one religious group are formed in opposition to another.
• When state power is used to establish domination of one religious group over the rest.
• This manner of using religion in politics is communal politics.

Question 11: What is communalism?
Communalism involves thinking along the following lines:
• The followers of a particular religion must belong to one community.
• Their fundamental interests are the same.
• Any difference that they may have is irrelevant or trivial for community life.
• That people who follow different religions cannot belong to the same social community.
• In its extreme form, communalism leads to the belief that people belonging to different religions cannot live as equal citizens within one nation.
• This attitude might lead to the domination of one religious community over the other / disintegration of the country.
Example: India - Pakistan partition.

Question 12: “Communalism can take various forms in politics.” Explain.

• Communalism involves religious prejudices, stereotypes of religious communities and belief in the superiority of one’s religion over the other religions.
• It often leads to a quest for political domination of one religious community (usually the majority religious community) which may lead to the demand for a separate state by the minority religious community.
• It involves use of sacred symbols, religious leaders, emotional appeal or plain fear, at the time of elections, in order to bring the followers of one religion together.
• It may lead to communal violence, riots and massacre.

Question 13: “Communalism was and continues to be one of the major challenges to democracy in our country”. What is the remedy to it? / mention the constitutional provisions that made India a secular state.

• The constitutional makers chose the model of a secular state.
• There is no official religion for the Indian state.
• Right to Freedom of Religion is given to all individuals.
• The constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion.
• The constitution allows the state to intervene in the matters of religion to ensure equality within religious communities. For example, the government of India banned untouchability.

Question 14: What is casteism / caste system? Give a brief account on the caste system in India.

• In caste system, hereditary occupational division was sanctioned by rituals.
• Members of the same caste group were supposed to form a social community that practiced the same or similar occupation, married within the caste group and did not eat with members from other caste groups.
• Caste system was based on exclusion of and discrimination against the ‘outcaste’ groups.

Question 15: “Caste system in India has undergone great changes”. Give reasons.

• Political leaders and social reformers like Jotiba Phule, Gandhiji, B.R.Ambedkar etc. advocated and worked to establish a society in which caste inequalities are absent.
• Large scale urbanization, growth of literacy and education, occupational mobility and the weakening of the position of landlords in the villages.
• The constitutional provisions prohibiting any caste based discrimination.
• All these reasons were responsible for the changes in the caste system in India.

Question 16: “Caste has not disappeared from contemporary India.” Give reasons.

• Even now most people marry within their own caste or tribe.
• Untouchability has not ended completely, despite constitutional prohibition.
• The groups that did not have access to education, lagged behind economically.

Question 17: What are the various forms caste can take in politics?

• When parties choose candidates in elections, they keep in mind the caste composition of the electorate and nominate candidates from different castes so that they can win elections.
• When governments are formed, political parties usually take care that representatives of different castes and tribes find a place in it.
• Political parties and candidates in elections make appeals to caste sentiment to muster support.
• Political parties try to mobilize and secure political support as all the votes carry the same value (one person, one vote, one value).

Question 18: “Elections are all about caste and nothing else.” Do you agree with the statement? Give reasons to support your answer. / State reasons to say that caste alone cannot determine elections results in India.
I do not agree that elections are all about caste and nothing else.
→ Reasons:
• No parliamentary constituency in the country has a clear majority of one single caste. So, every candidate and party needs to win the confidence of more than one caste and community to win elections.
• No party wins the votes of all the voters of a caste or community.
• Many political parties may put up candidates from the same caste. Some voters have more than one candidate from their caste while many voters have no candidate from their caste.
• The ruling party and the sitting M.P or M.L.A frequently lose elections in our country. This could not have happened if all castes and communities were frozen in their political preferences.

Question 19: How does politics influence the caste system?

• Each caste group tries to become bigger by incorporating within it neighbouring castes or sub-castes which were earlier excluded from it.
• Various caste groups are required to enter into a coalition with other castes or communities and thus enter into a dialogue and negotiation.
• New kinds of caste groups have come up in the political arena like ‘backward’ and ‘forward’ caste groups.


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