NCERT : Democracy and Diversity

Let Us Debate

Textbook Page No. 31

Q.1  Some Dalit groups decided to participate in the UN Conference against racism in Durban in 2001, demanding the inclusion of caste in the agenda of this conference. Here are three reactions to this move:

Amandeep Kaur (a government official): Our Constitution declares caste discrimination to be illegal. If some caste discrimination continues, it is an internal matter. I am opposed to this being raised in an international forum.

Oinam (a sociologist) : I am opposed to this because caste and race are not similar divisions. Caste is a social division, while race is a biological one. Raising caste in this conference on racism would mean equating the two.

Ashok (a Dalit activist) :  The argument about internal matter is a way of preventing open discussion of oppression and discrimination. Race is not purely biological. It is as much a legal and sociological category as caste. Caste discrimination must be raised in this conference.

Which of the three opinions do you agree with most and why?

To a great extent, I am agree with the opinion of Ashok. In the name of internal matter, people should not be prevented from an open discussion of oppression and discrimination. Merely dividing race and caste on intellectual grounds, does not check the mental agony that the deprived people are facing. If there is oppression and discrimination in the society, we can not call ourselves a democratic nation. To avoid discussion is to oppress democracy. Instead discussion can show us the way to irradicate all these practices and share happiness and sorrow with the deprived classeseually. This is what the true democracy is meant for.

Intext Question

Textbook Page No. 31

Q.2 I met this group of girls from Pakistan and felt that I had more in common with them than many girls from other parts of my own country. Is this anti- national to feel so?

No. This is not anti- national to feel so because the groups that share a common interest on one issue are likely to be in different sides on a different issue. For example the girls from Pakistan may speak Hindi , eat Punjab dishes on the other hand girls from Karnataka may speak. Telugu and like to eat south India dishes. So, north Indian muslim girl can find more in common with Pakistani girls and that will not be an anti- national feeling.

Intext Question

Textbook Page. No. 32

Q.3  A cartoon like this can be read by different people to mean different things. What does this cartoon mean to you? How do other students in your class read this?

(i) For me, this cartoon reflects that various social differences have taken a giant form and one of the giant of the society cuts its other organ i.e., it harms   itself.

(ii) Other students in my class differ in their opinions. Some of them take it as the   symbol of the use of money and muscle power in politics. Some others read it  as a giant of social difference that beheads himself, etc. 

Intex Question

Text book Page No. 33

Q.4 Read these three poems by Dalit writers. Why do you think the poster is titled ‘Hidden Apartheid’?

The inscribed statement, ‘This water tap is open to all castes and religions’ show that at one or the other stage of time, the society practiced discrimination based on caste and religion which was later abolished by someone who made the tap open to all. The second poem reveals how people slept without having a handful of meal. These examples reflect social discrimination being practiced in the society. So, these have a proper heading i.e., ‘Hidden Apartheid’.  

Let Us Revise

Textbook Page No. 34

Q.5 Imrana is a student of class X, section B. She and all her classmates are planning to help students of class XI in giving a farewell party to the students of class XII. Last month she played for section team in a game of kho- kho against the team of class X, section A. She goes back home in a bus and joins all the students from various classes all of who come from trans-Yamuna area in Delhi. Back home, she often join her elder sister, Naima, in complaining against her brother who does no work at home, while the sisters are asked to help their mother. Her father is looking for a good match for her elder sister, from a Muslim family with a similar economic status, from their own ‘biradari’.

 Can you list the various kinds of identities that Imrana has?

              At home                                she is              a girl

              In terms of religion            she is             __________

              In the school                        she is             __________

              ____________                       she is             __________

              ____________                       she is             __________

            At home                                  she is               a girl

            In terms of religion               she is               Muslim

            In the school                          she is               a class X student

            In class X                                she is               from section B

            In the game                            she is               a member of kho-kho team

            In the family                          she is               Naima’s younger sister

Intext Questions

Textbook Page No. 35

Q.6 Do you think Mahashweta is right? Do you know of some community in your area who is treated like the Romas?

(i)  Yes, Mahashweta is right when she says that it was a story of our own   country.

(ii) Nuts, Banjaras and some Dalit castes are treated in such an unjustified way like the Romas, in our country.

Q.2 Have you heard people say things similar to what Yordanka or Modruzeni say here? If yes, try to think of what the story would sound like if you heard it from other side?

Yes.It will be as if someone has shown our face in the mirror. We must improve the way we treat the deprived people. Instead of looking upon their conditions, we should think why have they reached this condition.

Q.3  Do you think the Bulgarian government should try to ensure that the Roma people dress and behave like other people from Bulgaria?

In democracy, every people has the freedom of dress and behavior of his/her choice if not harm others. No one can compel a particular community to dress other than their won identified dress. Because in democracy, every one’s identity must be protected. So the Bulgarian government should not try to ensure that the Roma people dress and behave like other people from Bulgaria. 

Intext Question

Textbook Page No. 36

Q.4       What does the graffiti here tell about the conflict in the society?

The graffiti tells about the thinking of the two societies which in London in 1960s, the society practiced racism, the people used to hate Blacks and Irish, in 2005, in Belfast, racism has been prohibited and people treat each others equally without any prejeudice. It does not mean that social differences have been abolished. It simply means that people have learnt to respect the difference so as to live together peacefully.

Intext Question

Textbook Page No. 37

Q.1 Draw or collect some image of social divisions in different aspects of life.

Students do it themselves.

Q.2 Can you think of some examples of social division or discrimination in the field of sprots?

(i) In cricket, few decades ago, the Blacks were banned from becoming captain of the Sourth- African team.

(ii) Even today games like Polo and Golf are beyond the reach of the poors.

Q.3 So, you are saying that too many small divisions are better than a single big division? Are you also saying that politics is a force of unity.

(i) Existence of social divisions reflect the multicultural facet of the society. Divisions, whether big or small, can be bad or good depends on various factors such as how do they identify themselves, how are their demands  raised and what is the reaction of the rulers.

(ii) Not exactly, but yes politics has the force to unit the country. It depends how do the political leaders from different communities think and how much flexible they are. 


Q.1  Discuss three factors that determine the outcomes of politics of social divisions.

Following are the three factors crucial in deciding the outcome of politics of social division:

1. How people perceive their identities : If people see their identities in singular and exclusive terms, it becomes very difficult to accommodate.

It is much easier if the people see that their identities are multiple and are complementary with the national identity.

2. How political leaders raise the demands of any community: It is easier to accommodate demands that are within the constitutional framework and are not at the cost of another community.

3. How the government reacts to demands of different groups: If the rulers are willing to share power and accommodate the reasonable demands of minority community, social divisions becomes less threatening for the

But if they try to supporess such a demands in the name of national unity, the   end result its often quite the opposite.

Q.2 When does a social difference become a social division?

Social division takes place when some social difference overlaps with many other social difference.

Q.3 How do social divisions affect politics? Give two examples.

(i) If social division is of such  type that people see their identities in  singular  and exclusive terms, it becomes very difficult to accommodate. For example, as long as people in Ireland saw themselves as only Catholic or  Protestant, their differences were difficult to reconcile.

(ii) If social division is of such type that the rulers are willing to share power and accommodate the reasonable demand of minority community, social division becomes less threatening. For example, in Belgium, the demands of Dutch and French speaking people could be accommodated without harming one another and the country.

Q.4 _________ social differences create possibilities of deep social divisions and tensions. ________ social differences do not usually lead to conflicts.

Overlapping, Cross- cutting.

Q.5 In dealing with social divisions which one of the following statements is NOT correct about democracy?

(a) Due to political competition in a democracy, social divisions get reflected in politics.

(b) In a democracy it is possible for communities to voice their grievances in a peaceful manner.

(c) Democracy is the best way to accommodate special diversity.

(d) Democracy always leads to disintegration of society on the bais of social divisions.

(d) Democracy always leads to disintegration of society on the bais of social divisions.

Q.6    Consider the following three statements.

1. Social divisions take place when social differences overlap.

2. It is possible that a person can have multiple identities.

3. Social divisions exist in only big countries like India.

Which of the statements is /are correct?

(a) A, B and C

(b) A and B

(c) B and C

(d) Only C

Q.7 Arrange the following statements in a logical sequence and select the right answers by using the code given below.

1. But all political expression of social divisions need not be always dangerous.

2. Social divisions of one kind or the other exist in most countries.

3. Parties try to win political support by appealing to social divisions.

4. Some social differences may result in social divisions.

(a) D, B, C, A

Q.8  Among the following, which  country suffered disintegration due to political fights on the basis of religious and ethnic identities?

(a) Belgium

(b) India

(c) Yugoslavia

(d) Netherlands

(c) Yugoslavia

Q.9 Read the following passage from a famous speech  by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. Which social division is he talking about? What are his aspirations and anxieties? Do you see a relationship between this speech and the incident in Mexico- Olympic mentioned I this chapter?

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring – when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics – will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual : Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almightly, we are free at last!’ I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed ; We hold these truths to be self- evident : that all men are created equal."

(i) He is talking about social division based on singular identity, i.e., overlapping social differences.

(ii) He aspires for a society practicing equality and free of any tupe of discrimination. He anxious about identifying people by their skin colour and not judged by the content of their character.

(iii) Yes. His speech reflects the pain of social division based on the colour of skin. As this was also reflected and protested by the Black Olympians at Mexico Olympics.

Additional Questions

Q.1   What does the civil rights movement that took place in the USA (1954-1968) refer to?

Civil Rights Movement in the USA (1954-68) refers to a set of events and reform movements aimed at abolishing legal racial discrimination against African – Americans. It was led by Martin Luther King.

Q.2 Why did Tommie Smith and John Carlos received their medals without putting shoes on but with socks?

Tommie Smith and John Carlos were African- Americans. This race is very poor and backward in the USA. They received their medals without shoes on but with socks to represent Black poverty.

Q.3 Why did Smith wore a black scaref around his neck and Carlos a string of beads during medal ceremony at Mexico City in 1968?

Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent black pride. And Carlos wore a string of beads to commemorate black people who had been killed.

Q.4   What the black – gloved and raised clenched fists were meant to? Why did they do so?

(i) These were meant to symbolize black power.

(ii) With this gesture, they tried to draw international attention to racial discrimination in the United States.

Q.5 When did the UK government and Nationalist party reached a peace treaty? What was its result?

It was in 1998, that the UV government and the Nationalist party reached a peace treaty. As a result, the nationalist party suspended their armed struggle.

Q.6  What did the two black players do during 1968 Olympics to draw international attention to racial discrimination in the United States? Why did they do so?

(i) The two black players received their medals without putting their  shoes on  but with socks to represent black poverty.

(ii) Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent black pride.

(iii)  Carlos wore a string of beads to commemorate black people who had     been killed.

(iv)  They did so to draw international attention to racial discrimination in the United States.

Q.7 How did the white players, Norman, support black players to draw international attention to racial discrimination in the United States during 1968 Olympics? How was he penalized for his support to two black players. Did they succeed in their objective?

(i) Peter Norman, a white Australian athlete, wore a human rights badge on his shirt during the ceremony to show his support for the two  black American  players.

(ii) Norman was penalized for his actions. He was not included in the Australian team for the next Olympics.

(iii) Yes. Their actions succeeded in gaining international attention for the Civit Rights Movement in the US.


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