February 21, 2024

HPAS/ N.T. Allied Mains 2022-23 Answer Writing Challenge: Model Answer

Question: Discuss the structural and functional view of caste system in Himachal Pradesh. (4 marks, 60 words)

Answer: 

Caste is a form of social stratification characterised by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a style of life which often includes an occupation, ritual status in a hierarchy, and customary social interaction and exclusion based on cultural notions of purity and pollution. In himachal caste forms the basis of society, in the state caste and clan membership is diffused as literacy rate is high hence the boundaries between them is not clear.

Structural view

Segmental Division of Society: The society is divided into various small social groups in himachal.

Endogamy: Endogamy is the chief characteristic of caste

Restriction on Food and Drink: Usually a caste would not accept cooked food from any other caste that stands lower than itself in the social scale, due to the notion of getting polluted

  • Functional view
  • It continued the traditional social organization of Himachal. Eg chharmi natta in kinnaur.
  • It has accommodated multiple communities by ensuring each of them a monopoly of a specific means of livelihood. Chhang (wine) making art in tribal areas.
  • Provided social security and social recognition to individuals. It is the individual’s caste that canalizes his choice in marriage, plays the roles of the state-club, the orphanage and the benefits society. Besides, it also provides him with health insurance benefits. It even provides for his funeral. Eg batta-satta system

Caste is unique to Indian setup and Himachal state also reflects the age old traditional setup through its caste segmentation. Though due to education and westernisation caste belief and rigidity has relaxed but still it is prevalent in customs of high importance

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