Caste, Secularism and Democracy in India K. RAGHAVENDRA RAO Karnatak University, Dharwar, India THE purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between caste, secularism and democracy in India as it has evolved in the years following its independence in 1947. The paper begins with a summary historical background to the problem, and proceeds to establish the proposition that caste, as it now functions, is not necessarily incompatible with democracy, and thus, by impli- cation, with secularism; that it may be seen to have entered a process of secularisation which fits well into the democratic pattern; and that, in view of such developments Indian democracy must be regarded as a unique pheno- menon, though related to the basic model of democracy. The paper does not claim to have taken note of all the relevant published material, and regretfully omits any first-hand reference to a recent important study of Indian secularism by Luthera,l for the simple reason that it was unavailable at the time of writing the paper. I It is not possible to go into detail over the massive, and yet curiously inade- quate, and confusing historical material on the institution of caste. By the time of
International Journal of Comparative Sociology (in 2002 continued as Comparative Sociology) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1966
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