Editorial Notes

Editorial Notes 30th December 2016

SARI (Social Attitudes Research for India); Prevalence of Untouchability; Why inter caste marriages are less prevalent? Issue of Identity certificates; West Pakistan refugees in India; Rohingyas
By IT's Editorial Notes Team
December 30, 2016


GS (M) Paper-2: “Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.”
GS (M) Paper-2: “Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.”


Refugee Vs Refugee – A New Flashpoint In J&K



  • Ever since the 2014 Assembly elections forced the PDP and BJP into a coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, tensions have erupted repeatedly over a lot of issues.
  • The latest issues that are deepening the fault lines between Jammu and the Valley are the issuance of identity cards to Hindu refugees from West Pakistan, and the settlement of Muslim refugees from Myanmar in the state.

Identity certificates:

  • They have a picture of the holder along with his name and parentage, and certify that he became a refugee from an area now in Pakistan after Partition.
  • The certificate issued, says that the holder was a resident of an area in undivided India (that is now a part of Pakistan), and that he is now living at a particular place in J&K as a refugee from (erstwhile) West Pakistan.

West Pakistan refugees in India:

  • No recent figures are available. The 1951 Census counted 72,95,870 people who had moved to India from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan during Partition.
  • Those who settled elsewhere became Indian citizens domiciled in the respective states, the 5,764 families who had arrived in Jammu from the adjoining areas of Pakistan were treated only as Indian citizens, and not as permanent residents of J&K.
  • The refugees coming to J&K were treated differently from those who settled down elsewhere in accordance with Section 6 of the Constitution of the state.

Implications of the issue?

  • Demands for permanent resident status to West Pakistan refugees probably started during and after the 1965 and 1971 wars.
  • Many permanent residents were displaced from areas now controlled by Pakistan. And the state govt, in order to settle them elsewhere, took back agricultural land from West Pakistan refugees.
  • The literate among those who lost their lands eyed jobs in the central government, especially in the Army and paramilitary forces.
  • There was no major problem until around 2000, but thereafter, in the context of militancy, all central government recruiting agencies started asking for domicile certificates in order to ascertain their place of residence.
  • Because the refugees were not permanent residents of the state, they faced difficulty in establishing that they lived in areas of the Jammu region.
  • Though the identity certificates being issued to them do not confer upon them the status of permanent residents of J&K, they do give them an official address for the first time since they migrated to the state nearly 7 decades ago.

Political response:

  • Politicians in the Muslim-majority Valley seeing the issuance of identity certificates to West Pakistan refugees, who are overwhelmingly Hindu, as the first step to granting them domicile status as part of a bigger plot to change the state’s demographic contours.

How do Rohingyas fit into these tensions?


  • Rohingyas are a roughly 1-million strong ethnic Muslim community in Myanmar, most of whom are denied citizenship rights as their government considers them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
  • A sizeable number have fled to India to escape persecution and violence, including nearly 7,000-8,000 in the Jammu region. Many of them carry certificates issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Delhi.
  • The belief that Kashmiri Muslims are taking away a major chunk of the state’s resources, leads many in predominantly Hindu Jammu to look at the settlement of new Muslim families with resentment and suspicion.
  • As with the West Pakistan refugees and the Muslim population in Kashmir, settlements of Rohingya Muslims in Jammu city — appear to many Hindus as a conspiracy to change the demography of the region.
[Ref: Indian Express]


GS (M) Paper-1: “Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.”


Not just about a quota



A new survey called SARI (Social Attitudes Research for India) investigated what people think about inter-caste and inter-religious marriage.

Key findings of the survey:

  • People from all backgrounds said that they would raise objections to people marrying from other social groups.
  • Nearly 50% of the non-Scheduled Caste respondents in Delhi and 70% in Uttar Pradesh said that they would oppose a child or close relative marrying a Dalit.
  • There was even greater opposition to inter-religious marriages.
  • In Delhi, about 60% of Hindus said they would oppose a child or relative marrying a Muslim; a similar fraction of Muslims would oppose a child or relative marrying a Hindu.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, the opposition was even greater: about 75% of Hindus opposed marriages with Muslims, and only a slightly lower fraction of Muslims, about 70%, opposed marriages with Hindus
  • The survey asked respondents whether they thought there should be laws to stop marriages between upper castes and lower castes. About 40% respondents in Delhi and more than 60% in rural Uttar Pradesh said that such laws should exist.
  • Laws against intermarriage have been sought among the lower castes as well as the upper castes.
  • A higher fraction of women than men in each of Delhi, urban Uttar Pradesh, and rural Uttar Pradesh said they would support laws against inter-caste marriage.
  • The idea that laws should prohibit inter-caste marriages was not confined to older generations. The only demographic factor that is strongly associated with support for laws against inter-caste marriage is education.

Prevalence of Untouchability:

  • Among non-Dalit Hindus in Delhi, a third said that someone in their household practises untouchability. In Uttar Pradesh, half of adults said that someone practises it.
  • In Delhi, half the adults in non-SC Hindu households, where someone practises untouchability, said they themselves practise it. In Uttar Pradesh 70% did.
  • These numbers are, we don’t think that they capture the full extent of the problem. That is because some people know that it is not politically correct to admit practising untouchability to a stranger.
  • Even though women and men live in similar households, women are more likely to report untouchability in the household. This suggests that either men are uninformed or they are giving a socially desirable, but incorrect, answer.
  • Women may be more likely to report untouchability where it exists because they are less aware that it is not a politically correct thing to say.
  • Another reason why women may be more likely to report untouchability is it is often practised in the context of food, utensils, and domestic help.
  • Women are more likely to work with food and utensils than men, and so they are probably more likely than men to enforce untouchability.

Why inter caste marriages are less prevalent?

  • Inter-caste or inter-religious marriages can make a person an outcast among his family and neighbours. He may even be barred from family inheritance. Even when families are not adamantly opposed to an inter-caste marriage, there is a strong belief that it is more convenient to settle down with a socially and culturally familiar person.
  • The finding that even many educated people think there should be laws against inter-caste marriage raises serious questions about our education system and whether it is doing enough to reduce caste and religious prejudice.
  • It is telling that many of the youth passing out of the premier technical and medical institutions still depend on their parents to choose their spouses.


  • Each year, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment makes available 500 monetary awards to inter-caste couples. The small size of this programme makes it more of a symbolic gesture than an actual incentive, but it is nevertheless a good idea.
  • The government should be doing much more to promote inter-group marriage and to protect those who seek them. In practice, officials in the courts and the police often enforce divisive social norms rather than enforcing the laws. They may discourage or intimidate couples who try to marry across caste or religious lines.
  • Lack of government support in the face of family disapproval may be one reason why the India Human Development Survey found that only 5% of marriages are inter-caste.
  • To end untouchability will mean that everyone, from government official, to teacher, to young mother has to make an effort. Everyone needs to admit that untouchability is still a widespread problem, not only in rural India but also in urban India.
  • A study of primary school students in the United States found that white students who read about both the accomplishments of and the discrimination faced by black Americans later displayed less biased attitudes towards blacks than white children who had merely read about accomplishments.
  • So, rather than simply denying the existence of untouchability it is time for parents, teachers, and even the government to start talking to children about ending these practices today.
[Ref: The Hindu]


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