NCERT Textbook - Equality Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

NCERT Textbooks (Class 6 to Class 12)

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Equality Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Chapter 3
Equality
This chapter is about the concept of equality, a  value that is also enshrined in our
Constitution. In reflecting on this concept it  examines the following questions:
o What is equality? Why should we be concerned about this moral and political
ideal?
o Does the pursuit of equality involve treating everyone the same way in every
condition?
o How may we pursue equality and minimise inequality  in different spheres of life?
o How do we distinguish between different dimensions of equality — political, economic
and social?
In the course of understanding and answering these questions, you would encounter
some important  ideologies of our time — socialism, marxism, liberalism and feminism.
In this chapter you will see facts and figures about the conditions of inequality.
These are only for you to appreciate the nature of inequality; the facts and figures
need not be memorised.
Overview
2020-21
Page 2


Chapter 3
Equality
This chapter is about the concept of equality, a  value that is also enshrined in our
Constitution. In reflecting on this concept it  examines the following questions:
o What is equality? Why should we be concerned about this moral and political
ideal?
o Does the pursuit of equality involve treating everyone the same way in every
condition?
o How may we pursue equality and minimise inequality  in different spheres of life?
o How do we distinguish between different dimensions of equality — political, economic
and social?
In the course of understanding and answering these questions, you would encounter
some important  ideologies of our time — socialism, marxism, liberalism and feminism.
In this chapter you will see facts and figures about the conditions of inequality.
These are only for you to appreciate the nature of inequality; the facts and figures
need not be memorised.
Overview
2020-21
Equality
Equality
32
Political Theory
3.1 WHY DOES EQUALITY MATTER?
Equality is a powerful moral and political ideal
that has inspired and guided human society
for many centuries. It is implicit in all faiths
and religions which proclaim all human beings
to be the creation of God. As a political ideal
the concept of equality invokes the idea that all
human beings have an equal worth regardless
of their colour, gender, race, or nationality. It
maintains that human beings deserve equal
consideration and respect because of their
common humanity. It is this notion of a shared
humanity that lies behind, for instance, the
notions of universal human rights or ‘crimes
against humanity’.
In the modern period the equality of all
human beings has been used as a rallying
slogan in the struggles against states and social
institutions which uphold inequalities of rank,
wealth status or privilege, among people. In
the eighteenth century, the French
revolutionaries used the slogan ‘Liberty,
Equality and Fraternity’ to revolt against the
landed feudal aristocracy and the monarchy.
The demand for equality was also raised during
anti-colonial liberation struggles in Asia and
Africa during the twentieth century. It continues
to be raised by struggling groups such as
Everyone I know believes in a religion.
Every religion I know preaches equality.
Then why is there inequality in the
world?
Search for quotations
from different religious
scriptures that affirm
the ideal of equality.
Read these in the
classroom.
LET’S DO IT
Do
2020-21
Page 3


Chapter 3
Equality
This chapter is about the concept of equality, a  value that is also enshrined in our
Constitution. In reflecting on this concept it  examines the following questions:
o What is equality? Why should we be concerned about this moral and political
ideal?
o Does the pursuit of equality involve treating everyone the same way in every
condition?
o How may we pursue equality and minimise inequality  in different spheres of life?
o How do we distinguish between different dimensions of equality — political, economic
and social?
In the course of understanding and answering these questions, you would encounter
some important  ideologies of our time — socialism, marxism, liberalism and feminism.
In this chapter you will see facts and figures about the conditions of inequality.
These are only for you to appreciate the nature of inequality; the facts and figures
need not be memorised.
Overview
2020-21
Equality
Equality
32
Political Theory
3.1 WHY DOES EQUALITY MATTER?
Equality is a powerful moral and political ideal
that has inspired and guided human society
for many centuries. It is implicit in all faiths
and religions which proclaim all human beings
to be the creation of God. As a political ideal
the concept of equality invokes the idea that all
human beings have an equal worth regardless
of their colour, gender, race, or nationality. It
maintains that human beings deserve equal
consideration and respect because of their
common humanity. It is this notion of a shared
humanity that lies behind, for instance, the
notions of universal human rights or ‘crimes
against humanity’.
In the modern period the equality of all
human beings has been used as a rallying
slogan in the struggles against states and social
institutions which uphold inequalities of rank,
wealth status or privilege, among people. In
the eighteenth century, the French
revolutionaries used the slogan ‘Liberty,
Equality and Fraternity’ to revolt against the
landed feudal aristocracy and the monarchy.
The demand for equality was also raised during
anti-colonial liberation struggles in Asia and
Africa during the twentieth century. It continues
to be raised by struggling groups such as
Everyone I know believes in a religion.
Every religion I know preaches equality.
Then why is there inequality in the
world?
Search for quotations
from different religious
scriptures that affirm
the ideal of equality.
Read these in the
classroom.
LET’S DO IT
Do
2020-21
Equality
Equality
Political Theory
33
women or dalits who feel marginalised in our society. Today, equality
is a widely accepted ideal which is embodied in the constitutions
and laws of many countries.
Yet, it is inequality rather than equality which is most visible
around us in the world as well as within our own society. In our
country we can see slums existing side by side with luxury housing,
schools with world class facilities and airconditioned classrooms
along with schools which may lack even drinking water facilities or
toilets, waste of food as well as starvation. There are glaring differences
between what the law promises and what we see around us.
Read the accompanying fact sheet on global inequalities and
the table on inequalities within our country.
   FACT SHEET ON GLOBAL INEQUALITIES
1. The richest 50 individuals in the world have a combined income greater
than that of the poorest 40 crore people.
2. The poorest 40 per cent of the world’s population receive only 5 per cent of
global income, while the richest 10 per cent of the world’s population controls
54 per cent of global income.
3. The first world of the advanced industrial countries, mainly North America
and Western Europe, with 25 per cent of the world’s population, owns 86
per cent of the world’s industry, and consumes 80 per cent of the world’s
energy.
4. On a per capita basis, a resident of the advanced industrial countries
consumes at least three times as much water, ten times as much energy,
thirteen times as much iron and steel and fourteen times as much paper
as someone living in a developing country like India or China.
5. The risk of dying from pregnancy related causes is 1 to 18 in Nigeria but
1 to 8700 in Canada.
6. The industrial countries of the first world account for nearly two-thirds of
the global emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels.
They also account for three-quarters of emissions of sulphur and nitrogen
oxide that cause acid rain. Many industries known for their high rate of
pollution are being shifted from the developed countries to the less developed
countries.
Source: Human Development Report, 2005, UNDP.
33
2020-21
Page 4


Chapter 3
Equality
This chapter is about the concept of equality, a  value that is also enshrined in our
Constitution. In reflecting on this concept it  examines the following questions:
o What is equality? Why should we be concerned about this moral and political
ideal?
o Does the pursuit of equality involve treating everyone the same way in every
condition?
o How may we pursue equality and minimise inequality  in different spheres of life?
o How do we distinguish between different dimensions of equality — political, economic
and social?
In the course of understanding and answering these questions, you would encounter
some important  ideologies of our time — socialism, marxism, liberalism and feminism.
In this chapter you will see facts and figures about the conditions of inequality.
These are only for you to appreciate the nature of inequality; the facts and figures
need not be memorised.
Overview
2020-21
Equality
Equality
32
Political Theory
3.1 WHY DOES EQUALITY MATTER?
Equality is a powerful moral and political ideal
that has inspired and guided human society
for many centuries. It is implicit in all faiths
and religions which proclaim all human beings
to be the creation of God. As a political ideal
the concept of equality invokes the idea that all
human beings have an equal worth regardless
of their colour, gender, race, or nationality. It
maintains that human beings deserve equal
consideration and respect because of their
common humanity. It is this notion of a shared
humanity that lies behind, for instance, the
notions of universal human rights or ‘crimes
against humanity’.
In the modern period the equality of all
human beings has been used as a rallying
slogan in the struggles against states and social
institutions which uphold inequalities of rank,
wealth status or privilege, among people. In
the eighteenth century, the French
revolutionaries used the slogan ‘Liberty,
Equality and Fraternity’ to revolt against the
landed feudal aristocracy and the monarchy.
The demand for equality was also raised during
anti-colonial liberation struggles in Asia and
Africa during the twentieth century. It continues
to be raised by struggling groups such as
Everyone I know believes in a religion.
Every religion I know preaches equality.
Then why is there inequality in the
world?
Search for quotations
from different religious
scriptures that affirm
the ideal of equality.
Read these in the
classroom.
LET’S DO IT
Do
2020-21
Equality
Equality
Political Theory
33
women or dalits who feel marginalised in our society. Today, equality
is a widely accepted ideal which is embodied in the constitutions
and laws of many countries.
Yet, it is inequality rather than equality which is most visible
around us in the world as well as within our own society. In our
country we can see slums existing side by side with luxury housing,
schools with world class facilities and airconditioned classrooms
along with schools which may lack even drinking water facilities or
toilets, waste of food as well as starvation. There are glaring differences
between what the law promises and what we see around us.
Read the accompanying fact sheet on global inequalities and
the table on inequalities within our country.
   FACT SHEET ON GLOBAL INEQUALITIES
1. The richest 50 individuals in the world have a combined income greater
than that of the poorest 40 crore people.
2. The poorest 40 per cent of the world’s population receive only 5 per cent of
global income, while the richest 10 per cent of the world’s population controls
54 per cent of global income.
3. The first world of the advanced industrial countries, mainly North America
and Western Europe, with 25 per cent of the world’s population, owns 86
per cent of the world’s industry, and consumes 80 per cent of the world’s
energy.
4. On a per capita basis, a resident of the advanced industrial countries
consumes at least three times as much water, ten times as much energy,
thirteen times as much iron and steel and fourteen times as much paper
as someone living in a developing country like India or China.
5. The risk of dying from pregnancy related causes is 1 to 18 in Nigeria but
1 to 8700 in Canada.
6. The industrial countries of the first world account for nearly two-thirds of
the global emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels.
They also account for three-quarters of emissions of sulphur and nitrogen
oxide that cause acid rain. Many industries known for their high rate of
pollution are being shifted from the developed countries to the less developed
countries.
Source: Human Development Report, 2005, UNDP.
33
2020-21
Equality
Equality
34
Political Theory
   ECONOMIC INEQUALITIES IN INDIA
Here are some findings from the Census of India held in 2011 about household
amenities and assets. You don’t need to memorise any of these figures. Just read
these to understand the extent of urban-rural disparities in the country. Where
would your own family fit?
Families that have… Rural Urban Put û û û û û or ü ü ü ü ü  for
families families your family
Electricity connection 55% 93%
Tap water in the house 35% 71%
Bathroom in the house 45% 87%
Television 33% 77%
Scooter/Moped/ Motorcycle 14% 35%
Car/Jeep/ Van  2% 10%
Thus we face a paradox : almost everyone accepts
the ideal of equality, yet almost everywhere we
encounter inequality. We live in a complex world of
unequal wealth, opportunities, work situations, and
power. Should we be concerned about these kinds of
inequalities? Are they a permanent and inevitable
feature of social life which reflects the differences of
talent and ability of human beings as well as their
different contributions towards social progress and
prosperity? Or are these inequalities a consequence of
our social position and rules? These are questions that
have troubled people all over the world for many years.
It is a question of this kind that makes equality
one of the central  themes of social and political theory.
A student of political theory has to address a range
of questions, such as, what does equality imply?
Since we are different in many obvious ways, what does it mean to
say that we are equal? What are we trying to achieve through the
ideal of equality? Are we trying to eliminate all differences of income
and status? In other words, what kind of equality are we pursuing,
and for whom? Some other questions that have been raised regarding
Why talk about
global or national
inequalities when all
around us there are
inequalities to which
nobody seems to
object? Just look at
the way my parents
favour my brother
over me.
2020-21
Page 5


Chapter 3
Equality
This chapter is about the concept of equality, a  value that is also enshrined in our
Constitution. In reflecting on this concept it  examines the following questions:
o What is equality? Why should we be concerned about this moral and political
ideal?
o Does the pursuit of equality involve treating everyone the same way in every
condition?
o How may we pursue equality and minimise inequality  in different spheres of life?
o How do we distinguish between different dimensions of equality — political, economic
and social?
In the course of understanding and answering these questions, you would encounter
some important  ideologies of our time — socialism, marxism, liberalism and feminism.
In this chapter you will see facts and figures about the conditions of inequality.
These are only for you to appreciate the nature of inequality; the facts and figures
need not be memorised.
Overview
2020-21
Equality
Equality
32
Political Theory
3.1 WHY DOES EQUALITY MATTER?
Equality is a powerful moral and political ideal
that has inspired and guided human society
for many centuries. It is implicit in all faiths
and religions which proclaim all human beings
to be the creation of God. As a political ideal
the concept of equality invokes the idea that all
human beings have an equal worth regardless
of their colour, gender, race, or nationality. It
maintains that human beings deserve equal
consideration and respect because of their
common humanity. It is this notion of a shared
humanity that lies behind, for instance, the
notions of universal human rights or ‘crimes
against humanity’.
In the modern period the equality of all
human beings has been used as a rallying
slogan in the struggles against states and social
institutions which uphold inequalities of rank,
wealth status or privilege, among people. In
the eighteenth century, the French
revolutionaries used the slogan ‘Liberty,
Equality and Fraternity’ to revolt against the
landed feudal aristocracy and the monarchy.
The demand for equality was also raised during
anti-colonial liberation struggles in Asia and
Africa during the twentieth century. It continues
to be raised by struggling groups such as
Everyone I know believes in a religion.
Every religion I know preaches equality.
Then why is there inequality in the
world?
Search for quotations
from different religious
scriptures that affirm
the ideal of equality.
Read these in the
classroom.
LET’S DO IT
Do
2020-21
Equality
Equality
Political Theory
33
women or dalits who feel marginalised in our society. Today, equality
is a widely accepted ideal which is embodied in the constitutions
and laws of many countries.
Yet, it is inequality rather than equality which is most visible
around us in the world as well as within our own society. In our
country we can see slums existing side by side with luxury housing,
schools with world class facilities and airconditioned classrooms
along with schools which may lack even drinking water facilities or
toilets, waste of food as well as starvation. There are glaring differences
between what the law promises and what we see around us.
Read the accompanying fact sheet on global inequalities and
the table on inequalities within our country.
   FACT SHEET ON GLOBAL INEQUALITIES
1. The richest 50 individuals in the world have a combined income greater
than that of the poorest 40 crore people.
2. The poorest 40 per cent of the world’s population receive only 5 per cent of
global income, while the richest 10 per cent of the world’s population controls
54 per cent of global income.
3. The first world of the advanced industrial countries, mainly North America
and Western Europe, with 25 per cent of the world’s population, owns 86
per cent of the world’s industry, and consumes 80 per cent of the world’s
energy.
4. On a per capita basis, a resident of the advanced industrial countries
consumes at least three times as much water, ten times as much energy,
thirteen times as much iron and steel and fourteen times as much paper
as someone living in a developing country like India or China.
5. The risk of dying from pregnancy related causes is 1 to 18 in Nigeria but
1 to 8700 in Canada.
6. The industrial countries of the first world account for nearly two-thirds of
the global emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels.
They also account for three-quarters of emissions of sulphur and nitrogen
oxide that cause acid rain. Many industries known for their high rate of
pollution are being shifted from the developed countries to the less developed
countries.
Source: Human Development Report, 2005, UNDP.
33
2020-21
Equality
Equality
34
Political Theory
   ECONOMIC INEQUALITIES IN INDIA
Here are some findings from the Census of India held in 2011 about household
amenities and assets. You don’t need to memorise any of these figures. Just read
these to understand the extent of urban-rural disparities in the country. Where
would your own family fit?
Families that have… Rural Urban Put û û û û û or ü ü ü ü ü  for
families families your family
Electricity connection 55% 93%
Tap water in the house 35% 71%
Bathroom in the house 45% 87%
Television 33% 77%
Scooter/Moped/ Motorcycle 14% 35%
Car/Jeep/ Van  2% 10%
Thus we face a paradox : almost everyone accepts
the ideal of equality, yet almost everywhere we
encounter inequality. We live in a complex world of
unequal wealth, opportunities, work situations, and
power. Should we be concerned about these kinds of
inequalities? Are they a permanent and inevitable
feature of social life which reflects the differences of
talent and ability of human beings as well as their
different contributions towards social progress and
prosperity? Or are these inequalities a consequence of
our social position and rules? These are questions that
have troubled people all over the world for many years.
It is a question of this kind that makes equality
one of the central  themes of social and political theory.
A student of political theory has to address a range
of questions, such as, what does equality imply?
Since we are different in many obvious ways, what does it mean to
say that we are equal? What are we trying to achieve through the
ideal of equality? Are we trying to eliminate all differences of income
and status? In other words, what kind of equality are we pursuing,
and for whom? Some other questions that have been raised regarding
Why talk about
global or national
inequalities when all
around us there are
inequalities to which
nobody seems to
object? Just look at
the way my parents
favour my brother
over me.
2020-21
Equality
Equality
Political Theory
35
the concept of equality which we will consider here are : to promote
equality should we always treat all persons in exactly the same
way? How should a society decide which differences of treatment or
reward are acceptable and which are not?  Also, what kind of policies
should we pursue to try and make the society more egalitarian?
3.2 WHAT IS EQUALITY?
Take a look at these images.
All of them make distinctions between human beings on grounds of
race and colour and these appear to most of us as unacceptable. In
fact, such distinctions violate our intuitive understanding of equality
which tells us that all human beings should be entitled to the same
respect and consideration because of their common humanity.
However, treating people with equal respect need not mean always
treating them in an identical way. No society treats all its members
in exactly the same way under all conditions. The smooth functioning
of society requires division of work and functions and people often
enjoy different status and rewards on account of it. At times these
differences of treatment may appear acceptable or even necessary.
For instance, we usually do not feel that giving prime ministers, or
army generals, a special official rank and status goes against the
notion of equality, provided their privileges are not misused. But
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