Social Structure of Indian Society
Social structure denotes the network of social relationship. The social relationship is created among the individuals when they interact with each other according to their statuses in accordance with the patterns of society. In a social structure, individuals having common object organize themselves into associations.
Social structure is an abstract phenomenon. It denotes external aspects of society. Each society has a pattern of organization, which has structures that result from association of individuals with one another. It may be a group, institution, an association, community, or an organization all of which are parts of social structure through which it functions.
Features of Social Structure of Indian Society
The following are the Important features of social structure of Indian society:
1. Complex Society: Indian society is characterized as a pluralistic society because it possesses complex social order. It suffers from multitude of ethnic, linguistic, religious and caste divisions.
2. Rural Society: About 70% of the Indian people live in villages. Indian villages continue to be underdeveloped. Even rural areas suffer from lack of infrastructural facilities. The gains of industrialization and technological breakthrough which once enjoyed by urban areas not yet reached the rural areas. Only now our Government has started giving due importance to the objective of rural development.
3. Economically Backward Country: India has made considerable progress in the fields of agriculture and industrialization. But still it continues to be an economically backward country. Even now it remains 15th poorest nation in the world. Major part of our population continues to live below the poverty line.
4. Illiteracy: Illiteracy and ignorance among the people of India is another important feature of the social system in India. About 60% of the population continues to be illiterate in India. Illiteracy creates many social problems. Concerted Governmental action and strong social support are needed in removing the rate of illiteracy.
5. Diversified Languages: Diversity in languages is another feature of the social environment in India. The Constitution of India recognizes 22 languages as the major languages, which are spoken by 87% of the population. Of them Hindi is spoken by 31% of the population. Linguistic diversity and love and affection of people towards their regional languages have made the Government to reorganize Indian states on the basis of languages. Hence, language has emerged as a key factor of social and political climate in India.
6. Racial Diversity: As already stated, people belong to different races such as Aryan, Dravidian, and Mongolian. inhabit India. People in the Eastern States, have affinity with Mongolian race. Hence the racial Inter-mixing has taken place to a limited extent in India. Even though the principle of unity in diversity is accepted diversities are many times allowed to dominate the objective of unity. The Constitution provides for secularism. But racial factor plays major role in real operation of socio-political processes in India.
7. Caste: Caste has been the predominant feature of Indian social system. The Constitution, has taken a great step towards the dilution of caste and casteism. Caste and Casteism have been playing important factor in Social, Economic, Cultural and Political life in India. As caste system has deep historical roots, it cannot be abolished.
8. Existence of Communalism: The existence of communalism in the society is another feature of Indian social system. It constitutes a big danger to the unity and integrity of the nation.
9. Regionalism: People belonging to a particular region consider those who belong to other regions as outsiders. Diversities in Caste, religion, language and culture have contributed to forces of regionalism. Channelizing “Regionalism” and make it to contribute to nationalism is one of the difficult tasks before the Indian socio-political system.
10. Tradition: In India, both tradition and modernity exist side by side. Tradition is clearly affected by modern trends and pressures.
11. Lack of Free Movement: There is increased gap between the elites and the masses. There is no free movement among different linguistic groups, castes etc. This problem is clearly reflected between high and low castes, literates and illiterates, urbanites and ruralites etc.
Thus the social structure of Indian society is characterized by religious, regional, linguistic, communal and caste diversities. All these factors determine the environment of Indian social structure, social system and political system. All institutions are in a position to continuously adjusting themselves to a changing society, though there still exists many conflicts between them. The Socio-political system is maintained stable despite these constraints.