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In the previous chapter you have discussed the 
meanings of diversity. Sometimes people who are 
‘different’ from others are teased, laughed at or 
not included in a certain activity or group. We feel 
hurt, angry, helpless or sad when friends or others  
treat us in such ways. Have you ever wondered  
why this happens?
In this chapter we will try and explore how such 
experiences are related to the society we live in. We 
will look at how they are connected to the inequalities 
that exist around us.
Chapter 2
Diversity and
Discrimination
Difference and Prejudice
T
here are many things that make 
us what we are – how we live, the 
languages we speak, what we eat, wear,  
the games we play and the things we 
celebrate. All of these are influenced 
both by the geography and history of 
the place where we live.
You will get an idea of how diverse 
India is if you look even briefly at the 
following statement: 
There are eight major religions in 
the world. Every single one of them 
is practised in India. We have more 
than 1600 languages that are people’s 
mother tongues, and there are more 
than a hundred dance forms.
Yet this diversity is not always 
celebrated. This is because we feel safe 
and secure with people who look, talk, 
dress and think like us.
Sometimes when we meet people 
who are very different from us we may 
find them strange and unfamiliar. At 
times we may not understand or know 
the reasons why they are different from 
us. People also form certain attitudes 
and opinions about others who are not 
like them.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   13 14-11-2022   03:54:19 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 2


In the previous chapter you have discussed the 
meanings of diversity. Sometimes people who are 
‘different’ from others are teased, laughed at or 
not included in a certain activity or group. We feel 
hurt, angry, helpless or sad when friends or others  
treat us in such ways. Have you ever wondered  
why this happens?
In this chapter we will try and explore how such 
experiences are related to the society we live in. We 
will look at how they are connected to the inequalities 
that exist around us.
Chapter 2
Diversity and
Discrimination
Difference and Prejudice
T
here are many things that make 
us what we are – how we live, the 
languages we speak, what we eat, wear,  
the games we play and the things we 
celebrate. All of these are influenced 
both by the geography and history of 
the place where we live.
You will get an idea of how diverse 
India is if you look even briefly at the 
following statement: 
There are eight major religions in 
the world. Every single one of them 
is practised in India. We have more 
than 1600 languages that are people’s 
mother tongues, and there are more 
than a hundred dance forms.
Yet this diversity is not always 
celebrated. This is because we feel safe 
and secure with people who look, talk, 
dress and think like us.
Sometimes when we meet people 
who are very different from us we may 
find them strange and unfamiliar. At 
times we may not understand or know 
the reasons why they are different from 
us. People also form certain attitudes 
and opinions about others who are not 
like them.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   13 14-11-2022   03:54:19 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
14 / Social and Political Life
Prejudice
Look at the statements below that you 
believed to be true about rural and 
urban life in India. Tick mark those 
that you agree with.
Do you have a prejudice against rural  
or urban people?  Find out if this 
is shared by others and discuss 
the reasons why people have these 
prejudices.
Can you list some of the prejudices 
that you have noticed around you.  
How do they affect the ways in which 
people treat each other?
On Rural People
 More than 50% of all Indians live in 
villages.
 People in villages do not like to use 
modern technology.
 In peak harvesting and plantation 
season, families spend 12 to 14 
hours working in the fields.
 Villagers are forced to migrate to 
cities in search of work.
On Urban People
 Life in the city is easy. People here 
are spoilt and lazy.
 In cities families spend very little 
time with each other.
 People in cities only care about 
money, not about people.
 Living in a city is expensive. A large 
part of people’s earnings is spent on 
rent and transport.
Some of these statements see 
villagers as ignorant and see people 
in cities as money-minded and lazy. 
When our opinions about certain 
people are always negative – seeing 
them as lazy, stingy – as some of 
these statements, then these become 
prejudices that we carry about them.
Prejudice means to judge other 
people negatively or see them as 
inferior. When we think that only one 
particular way is the best and right 
way to do things we often end up not 
respecting others, who may prefer to 
do things differently. For example, 
if we think English is the best 
language and other languages are not 
important, we are judging these other 
languages negatively. As a result, we 
might not respect people who speak 
languages other than English.
We can be prejudiced about many 
things: people’s religious beliefs, the 
colour of their skin, the region they 
come from, the accent they speak in, 
the clothes they wear etc. Often, our 
prejudices about others are so strong 
that we don’t want to form friendships 
with them. At times, we may even act 
in ways that hurt them.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   14 14-11-2022   03:54:20 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 3


In the previous chapter you have discussed the 
meanings of diversity. Sometimes people who are 
‘different’ from others are teased, laughed at or 
not included in a certain activity or group. We feel 
hurt, angry, helpless or sad when friends or others  
treat us in such ways. Have you ever wondered  
why this happens?
In this chapter we will try and explore how such 
experiences are related to the society we live in. We 
will look at how they are connected to the inequalities 
that exist around us.
Chapter 2
Diversity and
Discrimination
Difference and Prejudice
T
here are many things that make 
us what we are – how we live, the 
languages we speak, what we eat, wear,  
the games we play and the things we 
celebrate. All of these are influenced 
both by the geography and history of 
the place where we live.
You will get an idea of how diverse 
India is if you look even briefly at the 
following statement: 
There are eight major religions in 
the world. Every single one of them 
is practised in India. We have more 
than 1600 languages that are people’s 
mother tongues, and there are more 
than a hundred dance forms.
Yet this diversity is not always 
celebrated. This is because we feel safe 
and secure with people who look, talk, 
dress and think like us.
Sometimes when we meet people 
who are very different from us we may 
find them strange and unfamiliar. At 
times we may not understand or know 
the reasons why they are different from 
us. People also form certain attitudes 
and opinions about others who are not 
like them.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   13 14-11-2022   03:54:19 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
14 / Social and Political Life
Prejudice
Look at the statements below that you 
believed to be true about rural and 
urban life in India. Tick mark those 
that you agree with.
Do you have a prejudice against rural  
or urban people?  Find out if this 
is shared by others and discuss 
the reasons why people have these 
prejudices.
Can you list some of the prejudices 
that you have noticed around you.  
How do they affect the ways in which 
people treat each other?
On Rural People
 More than 50% of all Indians live in 
villages.
 People in villages do not like to use 
modern technology.
 In peak harvesting and plantation 
season, families spend 12 to 14 
hours working in the fields.
 Villagers are forced to migrate to 
cities in search of work.
On Urban People
 Life in the city is easy. People here 
are spoilt and lazy.
 In cities families spend very little 
time with each other.
 People in cities only care about 
money, not about people.
 Living in a city is expensive. A large 
part of people’s earnings is spent on 
rent and transport.
Some of these statements see 
villagers as ignorant and see people 
in cities as money-minded and lazy. 
When our opinions about certain 
people are always negative – seeing 
them as lazy, stingy – as some of 
these statements, then these become 
prejudices that we carry about them.
Prejudice means to judge other 
people negatively or see them as 
inferior. When we think that only one 
particular way is the best and right 
way to do things we often end up not 
respecting others, who may prefer to 
do things differently. For example, 
if we think English is the best 
language and other languages are not 
important, we are judging these other 
languages negatively. As a result, we 
might not respect people who speak 
languages other than English.
We can be prejudiced about many 
things: people’s religious beliefs, the 
colour of their skin, the region they 
come from, the accent they speak in, 
the clothes they wear etc. Often, our 
prejudices about others are so strong 
that we don’t want to form friendships 
with them. At times, we may even act 
in ways that hurt them.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   14 14-11-2022   03:54:20 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
Diversity and Discrimination / 15 
Creating Stereotypes
All of us are familiar with gender 
differences. What does it mean to be a 
boy or a girl? Many of you would say, 
“We are born as boys and girls. It is a 
given. What is there to think about?” 
Let’s see if this is the case.
If we take the statement ‘’ They don’t 
cry”, you’ll see that this is a quality 
that is generally associated with boys 
and men. As babies or children when 
boys fall and hurt themselves, their 
parents and other family members 
often console them by saying “Don’t 
cry. You are a boy. Boys are brave, 
Arrange the statements given below in 
these two sections, according to what 
you think is appropriate for the section.
They are well behaved.
They are soft spoken and gentle. 
They are physically strong .
They are naughty.
They are good at dance and painting.
They don’t cry.
They are rowdy.
They are good at sport. 
They are good at cooking. 
They are emotional. 
they don’t cry.” As children grow up 
they start believing that boys do not 
cry so that even if a boy feels like 
crying he stops himself from doing so. 
He also believes that crying is a sign 
of weakness. So, even though both 
boys and girls sometimes want to cry, 
especially if they are angry or in pain, 
Girls      Boys
1      1
2      2
3      3
4      4
5      5
Now check, with your teacher’s help, who has put which statement 
where. Find out and discuss people’s reasons for doing this. Are the 
qualities you put in for boys something that boys are born with?
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   15 14-11-2022   03:54:20 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 4


In the previous chapter you have discussed the 
meanings of diversity. Sometimes people who are 
‘different’ from others are teased, laughed at or 
not included in a certain activity or group. We feel 
hurt, angry, helpless or sad when friends or others  
treat us in such ways. Have you ever wondered  
why this happens?
In this chapter we will try and explore how such 
experiences are related to the society we live in. We 
will look at how they are connected to the inequalities 
that exist around us.
Chapter 2
Diversity and
Discrimination
Difference and Prejudice
T
here are many things that make 
us what we are – how we live, the 
languages we speak, what we eat, wear,  
the games we play and the things we 
celebrate. All of these are influenced 
both by the geography and history of 
the place where we live.
You will get an idea of how diverse 
India is if you look even briefly at the 
following statement: 
There are eight major religions in 
the world. Every single one of them 
is practised in India. We have more 
than 1600 languages that are people’s 
mother tongues, and there are more 
than a hundred dance forms.
Yet this diversity is not always 
celebrated. This is because we feel safe 
and secure with people who look, talk, 
dress and think like us.
Sometimes when we meet people 
who are very different from us we may 
find them strange and unfamiliar. At 
times we may not understand or know 
the reasons why they are different from 
us. People also form certain attitudes 
and opinions about others who are not 
like them.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   13 14-11-2022   03:54:19 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
14 / Social and Political Life
Prejudice
Look at the statements below that you 
believed to be true about rural and 
urban life in India. Tick mark those 
that you agree with.
Do you have a prejudice against rural  
or urban people?  Find out if this 
is shared by others and discuss 
the reasons why people have these 
prejudices.
Can you list some of the prejudices 
that you have noticed around you.  
How do they affect the ways in which 
people treat each other?
On Rural People
 More than 50% of all Indians live in 
villages.
 People in villages do not like to use 
modern technology.
 In peak harvesting and plantation 
season, families spend 12 to 14 
hours working in the fields.
 Villagers are forced to migrate to 
cities in search of work.
On Urban People
 Life in the city is easy. People here 
are spoilt and lazy.
 In cities families spend very little 
time with each other.
 People in cities only care about 
money, not about people.
 Living in a city is expensive. A large 
part of people’s earnings is spent on 
rent and transport.
Some of these statements see 
villagers as ignorant and see people 
in cities as money-minded and lazy. 
When our opinions about certain 
people are always negative – seeing 
them as lazy, stingy – as some of 
these statements, then these become 
prejudices that we carry about them.
Prejudice means to judge other 
people negatively or see them as 
inferior. When we think that only one 
particular way is the best and right 
way to do things we often end up not 
respecting others, who may prefer to 
do things differently. For example, 
if we think English is the best 
language and other languages are not 
important, we are judging these other 
languages negatively. As a result, we 
might not respect people who speak 
languages other than English.
We can be prejudiced about many 
things: people’s religious beliefs, the 
colour of their skin, the region they 
come from, the accent they speak in, 
the clothes they wear etc. Often, our 
prejudices about others are so strong 
that we don’t want to form friendships 
with them. At times, we may even act 
in ways that hurt them.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   14 14-11-2022   03:54:20 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
Diversity and Discrimination / 15 
Creating Stereotypes
All of us are familiar with gender 
differences. What does it mean to be a 
boy or a girl? Many of you would say, 
“We are born as boys and girls. It is a 
given. What is there to think about?” 
Let’s see if this is the case.
If we take the statement ‘’ They don’t 
cry”, you’ll see that this is a quality 
that is generally associated with boys 
and men. As babies or children when 
boys fall and hurt themselves, their 
parents and other family members 
often console them by saying “Don’t 
cry. You are a boy. Boys are brave, 
Arrange the statements given below in 
these two sections, according to what 
you think is appropriate for the section.
They are well behaved.
They are soft spoken and gentle. 
They are physically strong .
They are naughty.
They are good at dance and painting.
They don’t cry.
They are rowdy.
They are good at sport. 
They are good at cooking. 
They are emotional. 
they don’t cry.” As children grow up 
they start believing that boys do not 
cry so that even if a boy feels like 
crying he stops himself from doing so. 
He also believes that crying is a sign 
of weakness. So, even though both 
boys and girls sometimes want to cry, 
especially if they are angry or in pain, 
Girls      Boys
1      1
2      2
3      3
4      4
5      5
Now check, with your teacher’s help, who has put which statement 
where. Find out and discuss people’s reasons for doing this. Are the 
qualities you put in for boys something that boys are born with?
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   15 14-11-2022   03:54:20 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
16 / Social and Political Life
Source: Why are you afraid to hold 
my hand, by Sheila Dhir
The children you see in the 
illustrations  here  were  seen 
as ‘disabled’. This term has 
been changed and now the 
term used is ‘children with 
special needs’. Common 
stereotypes about them are 
given in large letters. Their 
own feelings and thoughts too 
are given.
Discuss what these children 
are saying about stereotypes 
regarding them and why.
Do you think children with 
special needs should be a 
part of regular schools or 
study in a separate school? 
Give reasons for your answer.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   16 14-11-2022   03:54:24 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 5


In the previous chapter you have discussed the 
meanings of diversity. Sometimes people who are 
‘different’ from others are teased, laughed at or 
not included in a certain activity or group. We feel 
hurt, angry, helpless or sad when friends or others  
treat us in such ways. Have you ever wondered  
why this happens?
In this chapter we will try and explore how such 
experiences are related to the society we live in. We 
will look at how they are connected to the inequalities 
that exist around us.
Chapter 2
Diversity and
Discrimination
Difference and Prejudice
T
here are many things that make 
us what we are – how we live, the 
languages we speak, what we eat, wear,  
the games we play and the things we 
celebrate. All of these are influenced 
both by the geography and history of 
the place where we live.
You will get an idea of how diverse 
India is if you look even briefly at the 
following statement: 
There are eight major religions in 
the world. Every single one of them 
is practised in India. We have more 
than 1600 languages that are people’s 
mother tongues, and there are more 
than a hundred dance forms.
Yet this diversity is not always 
celebrated. This is because we feel safe 
and secure with people who look, talk, 
dress and think like us.
Sometimes when we meet people 
who are very different from us we may 
find them strange and unfamiliar. At 
times we may not understand or know 
the reasons why they are different from 
us. People also form certain attitudes 
and opinions about others who are not 
like them.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   13 14-11-2022   03:54:19 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
14 / Social and Political Life
Prejudice
Look at the statements below that you 
believed to be true about rural and 
urban life in India. Tick mark those 
that you agree with.
Do you have a prejudice against rural  
or urban people?  Find out if this 
is shared by others and discuss 
the reasons why people have these 
prejudices.
Can you list some of the prejudices 
that you have noticed around you.  
How do they affect the ways in which 
people treat each other?
On Rural People
 More than 50% of all Indians live in 
villages.
 People in villages do not like to use 
modern technology.
 In peak harvesting and plantation 
season, families spend 12 to 14 
hours working in the fields.
 Villagers are forced to migrate to 
cities in search of work.
On Urban People
 Life in the city is easy. People here 
are spoilt and lazy.
 In cities families spend very little 
time with each other.
 People in cities only care about 
money, not about people.
 Living in a city is expensive. A large 
part of people’s earnings is spent on 
rent and transport.
Some of these statements see 
villagers as ignorant and see people 
in cities as money-minded and lazy. 
When our opinions about certain 
people are always negative – seeing 
them as lazy, stingy – as some of 
these statements, then these become 
prejudices that we carry about them.
Prejudice means to judge other 
people negatively or see them as 
inferior. When we think that only one 
particular way is the best and right 
way to do things we often end up not 
respecting others, who may prefer to 
do things differently. For example, 
if we think English is the best 
language and other languages are not 
important, we are judging these other 
languages negatively. As a result, we 
might not respect people who speak 
languages other than English.
We can be prejudiced about many 
things: people’s religious beliefs, the 
colour of their skin, the region they 
come from, the accent they speak in, 
the clothes they wear etc. Often, our 
prejudices about others are so strong 
that we don’t want to form friendships 
with them. At times, we may even act 
in ways that hurt them.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   14 14-11-2022   03:54:20 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
Diversity and Discrimination / 15 
Creating Stereotypes
All of us are familiar with gender 
differences. What does it mean to be a 
boy or a girl? Many of you would say, 
“We are born as boys and girls. It is a 
given. What is there to think about?” 
Let’s see if this is the case.
If we take the statement ‘’ They don’t 
cry”, you’ll see that this is a quality 
that is generally associated with boys 
and men. As babies or children when 
boys fall and hurt themselves, their 
parents and other family members 
often console them by saying “Don’t 
cry. You are a boy. Boys are brave, 
Arrange the statements given below in 
these two sections, according to what 
you think is appropriate for the section.
They are well behaved.
They are soft spoken and gentle. 
They are physically strong .
They are naughty.
They are good at dance and painting.
They don’t cry.
They are rowdy.
They are good at sport. 
They are good at cooking. 
They are emotional. 
they don’t cry.” As children grow up 
they start believing that boys do not 
cry so that even if a boy feels like 
crying he stops himself from doing so. 
He also believes that crying is a sign 
of weakness. So, even though both 
boys and girls sometimes want to cry, 
especially if they are angry or in pain, 
Girls      Boys
1      1
2      2
3      3
4      4
5      5
Now check, with your teacher’s help, who has put which statement 
where. Find out and discuss people’s reasons for doing this. Are the 
qualities you put in for boys something that boys are born with?
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   15 14-11-2022   03:54:20 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
16 / Social and Political Life
Source: Why are you afraid to hold 
my hand, by Sheila Dhir
The children you see in the 
illustrations  here  were  seen 
as ‘disabled’. This term has 
been changed and now the 
term used is ‘children with 
special needs’. Common 
stereotypes about them are 
given in large letters. Their 
own feelings and thoughts too 
are given.
Discuss what these children 
are saying about stereotypes 
regarding them and why.
Do you think children with 
special needs should be a 
part of regular schools or 
study in a separate school? 
Give reasons for your answer.
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   16 14-11-2022   03:54:24 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
Diversity and Discrimination / 17 
as they grow older boys learn or teach 
themselves not to cry. If a grown boy 
cries, then he feels that others will 
either tease him or laugh at him, and 
so he stops himself from doing so in 
front of others.
This is the way boys are and this is 
how girls are: these are statements we 
hear constantly and accept without 
even thinking, and we start believing 
that each one of us must behave 
accordingly. We fit all boys and all girls 
into an image that society creates 
around us.
When we fix people into one 
image we create a stereotype. When 
people say that those who belong to a 
particular country, religion, sex, race 
or economic background are “stingy,” 
“lazy,” “criminal” or “dumb,” they are 
using stereotypes. There are stingy and 
generous people everywhere, in every 
country, in every religion, in every  
group whether rich or poor, male or 
female. And just because some people 
are like that it is not fair to think that 
everyone will be the same.
Stereotypes stop us from looking at 
each person as a unique individual with 
his or her own special qualities and  
You can take other statements such 
as They are soft and gentle or  
They are well behaved and discuss 
how these are applied to girls. Do 
girls possess these qualities at birth 
or do they learn such behaviour 
from others? What do you think 
about girls who are not soft and 
gentle and those who are naughty?
skills that are different from others. 
They fit large numbers of people into 
only one pattern or type. Stereotypes 
affect all of us as they prevent us from 
doing certain things, that we might 
otherwise be good at.
Inequality and Discrimination
Discrimination happens when people 
act on their prejudices or stereotypes. 
If you do something to put other people 
down, if you stop them from taking 
part in certain activities and taking up 
jobs, or stop them from living in certain 
neighbourhoods, prevent them from 
taking water from the same well or hand 
pump, or not allow them to drink tea 
in the same cups or glasses as others, 
you are discriminating against them.
Discrimination can take place 
because of several reasons. You 
probably recall from the previous 
chapter that Samir Ek and Samir Do 
were different from each other in many 
ways. For example, they belonged to 
different religions. This is an aspect 
of diversity. However, this diversity 
can also be a source of discrimination. 
Groups of people who may speak a 
certain language, follow a particular 
religion, live in specific regions etc., 
may be discriminated against as their 
customs or practices may be seen as 
inferior.
Another difference between the 
two Samirs was in their economic 
backgrounds. Samir Do was poor. This 
difference, as you have read earlier, is 
not a form of diversity but of inequality. 
People who are poor do not have the 
Unit_I Ch 2.indd   17 14-11-2022   03:54:24 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: Diversity & Discrimination - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What is diversity?
Ans. Diversity refers to the presence of a wide range of human differences in a group, organization, or community. These differences could be based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and other aspects that make individuals unique.
2. What is discrimination?
Ans. Discrimination refers to the unfair or unjust treatment of an individual or group based on their personal characteristics or background. Discrimination can take many forms, including exclusion, harassment, or denial of rights or opportunities.
3. How does discrimination affect society?
Ans. Discrimination can have a negative impact on society in many ways. It can lead to social unrest, inequality, and a lack of trust among individuals and groups. Discrimination can also limit opportunities for individuals, leading to lower income and reduced access to resources and services.
4. What are some ways to promote diversity and reduce discrimination?
Ans. One way to promote diversity is to encourage open communication and respect among individuals and groups. Education and awareness-raising campaigns can also help to reduce discrimination by promoting greater understanding and empathy. Organizations and communities can also adopt policies and practices that promote diversity and discourage discrimination.
5. Why is it important to address issues of diversity and discrimination?
Ans. Addressing issues of diversity and discrimination is important for several reasons. It can promote social cohesion, reduce conflict and tension, and create a more inclusive and just society. Additionally, promoting diversity and reducing discrimination can lead to greater creativity, innovation, and productivity in organizations and communities.
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