Social Evils

By – Supriya

The social evils and superstitions that dominated the society over the centuries made social reforms imperative for the development of the society and the masses.In the 19th century, the newly educated increasingly revolted against the rigid social conventions and outdated customs.They could no longer tolerate irrational and de – humanizing social practices. Moreover, the backward features of Indian society, such as the caste system or inequality of the sexes had religious sanctions in the past . Therefore, it was necessary to reform religious practices as well. The condition of women was pathetic . The various religions practised in India as well as the personal laws based on them consigned women to a status inferior to that of men. Polygamy , Purdah system , Sati, ban on widow remarriage , no education for female child , female infanticide and child marriage were some of the evils that had a strong grip over the society. It thus became necessary to take women out of this degraded position and help her to realise her true potential. The problems of female foeticide , sexual harassment at work place and their lack of education are still prevalent , which are responsible for marginalized status of women in the society. Futile glorification of Sati practice and role of women confined to the four walls of the house , should be checked combat evils like dowry system, female foeticide, decline in sex ratio, harrassment of women etc. This can be achieved by educating women and making them financially independent. Rajasthan has been in the news recently and for all the wrong reasons. Firstly, due to disappearing tigers , then for a guidebook that referred to sati – sites as tourist destinations , and finally for promoting child marriages for political reasons. The legal age for marriage in India is 18 years for women and 21 years for men. Marriage of a person younger than this is banned in India under the Child Marriage Prevention Act of 1929. But child marriages still take place in India, particularly around the Hindu holy day of Akshay Tritiya (also knows as Akha Teej) . It is a religious tradition in many places in India and therefore, difficult to change. People feel that traditions are valuable and should not be changed, especially religious traditions, since changing these would put forth a challenge to their existing beliefs.
Dowry in India, the practice of endowing gifts to the groom by the bride’s family, is a tradition which changed its meaning from willingly offering gifts to demanding astronomical amounts. It not only puts immense pressure on parents but also brings them under the burden of huge debt. The inhumane circumstances created by groom’s family push many girls to suicide or murder. The moral and ethical code of conduct of eminent personalities concerns our society as their behaviour is keenly watched by the people. The present cause of concern is the decline of values in public figures. In such a situation , the representative of the people have to set high standards of behaviour in public life. Members of Parliament not only represent the society but also lead it. Therefore, they have to function as a role models and this naturally casts on them a heavy responsibility . Our freedom fighters and national leaders had set high ethical and moral standards in public life and they scrupulously followed those principles . This tendency , it is painfully observed , is now on decline. There has been a wide and critical collapse of moral values in all walks of life which is adversely affecting our global , political and trade relations and national economy. Increasing development has also increased discontent , corruption , unemployment, violence , communal and racial discord and has added to human distress, destruction and disillusionment. Barring this, the caste system , is another curse  in society . Though not so rigid in urban areas, it is still practised in rural areas with the same degree of rigidness. Caste decides man’s marriage , social circle and profession. The untouchables suffer from numerous disabilities and restrictions . Their dress , food , place of residence , all are in degraded state. Not only is it humiliating and inhuman and against the democratic principle of equality by birth , it is also a cause of social disintegration. Thus, it has to be fought against. Another problem that our society faces is the rapid criminalization of the polity, this could be the result of the fact that criminals have understood  the mechanics of the electoral process and have themselves become contenders for power. Earlier , politicians patronized criminals and provided them protection from the law – enforcement agencies in exchange for the use of their muscle power during elections. And now it is the opposite , with the criminals themselves taking over the reigns of power to meet their selfish ends and patronizing the politicians and their parties. Of late, there has been an increasing exposure of the criminals in the governing system of the country, to the extent that it alienates the common people from power.
The criminalization of politics is a reflection of , and a factor that aggregates the crisis of the political system. Only a qualitative change that transforms the system from its very roots can resolve this problem for the betterment of people. In the rural economy, both unemployment and under employment exist side by side and the distinction between them is by no means sharp. In rural areas, increasing population implies an increasing pressure on land . This pressure on land has resulted in an increase in the number of agriculturists , and this has largely contributed to the problem of unutilized labour or disguised unemployment in the agricultural sector. A large labour force accumulates around primary occupations . A general inelasticity of occupational structure prevents any large movement to other occupations in periods of slack demand. This also leads to seasonal unemployment . In short, the major feature of rural unemployment is the existence of unemployment in the form of disguised unemployment and seasonal unemployment rather than open unemployment that exists in the urban areas

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