UPSC Exam  >  UPSC Notes  >  Indian Polity for UPSC CSE  >  NCERT Textbook: On Equality

NCERT Textbook: On Equality | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE PDF Download

Download, print and study this document offline
Please wait while the PDF view is loading
 Page 1


4 Social and Political Life
1
CHAPTER
On Equality
Equality in Indian democracy
The Indian Constitution recognises every person as
equal. This means that every individual in the
country, including male and female persons from
all castes, religions, tribes, educational and economic
backgrounds are recognised as equal. This is not to
say that inequality ceases to exist. It doesn’t. But
atleast, in democratic India, the principle of the
equality of all persons is recognised. While earlier
no law existed to protect people from discrimination
and ill-treatment, now there are several that work to
see that people are treated with dignity and as equals.
This recognition of equality includes some of the
following provisions in the Constitution: first that
every person is equal before the law. What this means
is that every person, from the President of the country
to Kanta, a domestic worker, has to obey the same
laws. Second, no person can be discriminated against
on the basis of their religion, race, caste, place of
birth or whether they are female or male. Third, every
person has access to all public places including
playgrounds, hotels, shops and markets. All persons
can use publicly available wells, roads and bathing
ghats. Fourth, untouchability has been abolished.
Can you think of an incident in
your life in which your dignity was
violated? How did this make you
feel?
In the 1975 film, Deewar, a boy who
works as a shoeshine refuses to pick up a
coin thrown at him. He feels that there
is dignity in the work that he does and
insists that his fee be given respectfully.
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 2


4 Social and Political Life
1
CHAPTER
On Equality
Equality in Indian democracy
The Indian Constitution recognises every person as
equal. This means that every individual in the
country, including male and female persons from
all castes, religions, tribes, educational and economic
backgrounds are recognised as equal. This is not to
say that inequality ceases to exist. It doesn’t. But
atleast, in democratic India, the principle of the
equality of all persons is recognised. While earlier
no law existed to protect people from discrimination
and ill-treatment, now there are several that work to
see that people are treated with dignity and as equals.
This recognition of equality includes some of the
following provisions in the Constitution: first that
every person is equal before the law. What this means
is that every person, from the President of the country
to Kanta, a domestic worker, has to obey the same
laws. Second, no person can be discriminated against
on the basis of their religion, race, caste, place of
birth or whether they are female or male. Third, every
person has access to all public places including
playgrounds, hotels, shops and markets. All persons
can use publicly available wells, roads and bathing
ghats. Fourth, untouchability has been abolished.
Can you think of an incident in
your life in which your dignity was
violated? How did this make you
feel?
In the 1975 film, Deewar, a boy who
works as a shoeshine refuses to pick up a
coin thrown at him. He feels that there
is dignity in the work that he does and
insists that his fee be given respectfully.
Rationalised 2023-24
5
The two ways in which the government has tried
to implement the equality that is guaranteed in the
Constitution is first through laws and second through
government programmes or schemes to help
disadvantaged communities. There are several laws
in India that protect every person’s right to be treated
equally. In addition to laws, the government has also
set up several schemes to improve the lives of
communities and individuals who have been treated
unequally for several centuries. These schemes are
to ensure greater opportunity for people who have
not had this in the past.
One of the steps taken by the government includes
the midday meal scheme. This refers to the
programme introduced in all government elementary
schools to provide children with cooked lunch. Tamil
Nadu was the first state in India to introduce this
scheme, and in 2001, the Supreme Court asked all
state governments to begin this programme in their
schools within six months. This programme has had
many positive effects. These include the fact that more
poor children have begun enrolling and regularly
attending school. Teachers reported that earlier
The Parliament is the cornerstone of our
democracy and we are represented in it
through our elected representatives.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)
www.in.undp.org
Chapter 1: On Equality
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 3


4 Social and Political Life
1
CHAPTER
On Equality
Equality in Indian democracy
The Indian Constitution recognises every person as
equal. This means that every individual in the
country, including male and female persons from
all castes, religions, tribes, educational and economic
backgrounds are recognised as equal. This is not to
say that inequality ceases to exist. It doesn’t. But
atleast, in democratic India, the principle of the
equality of all persons is recognised. While earlier
no law existed to protect people from discrimination
and ill-treatment, now there are several that work to
see that people are treated with dignity and as equals.
This recognition of equality includes some of the
following provisions in the Constitution: first that
every person is equal before the law. What this means
is that every person, from the President of the country
to Kanta, a domestic worker, has to obey the same
laws. Second, no person can be discriminated against
on the basis of their religion, race, caste, place of
birth or whether they are female or male. Third, every
person has access to all public places including
playgrounds, hotels, shops and markets. All persons
can use publicly available wells, roads and bathing
ghats. Fourth, untouchability has been abolished.
Can you think of an incident in
your life in which your dignity was
violated? How did this make you
feel?
In the 1975 film, Deewar, a boy who
works as a shoeshine refuses to pick up a
coin thrown at him. He feels that there
is dignity in the work that he does and
insists that his fee be given respectfully.
Rationalised 2023-24
5
The two ways in which the government has tried
to implement the equality that is guaranteed in the
Constitution is first through laws and second through
government programmes or schemes to help
disadvantaged communities. There are several laws
in India that protect every person’s right to be treated
equally. In addition to laws, the government has also
set up several schemes to improve the lives of
communities and individuals who have been treated
unequally for several centuries. These schemes are
to ensure greater opportunity for people who have
not had this in the past.
One of the steps taken by the government includes
the midday meal scheme. This refers to the
programme introduced in all government elementary
schools to provide children with cooked lunch. Tamil
Nadu was the first state in India to introduce this
scheme, and in 2001, the Supreme Court asked all
state governments to begin this programme in their
schools within six months. This programme has had
many positive effects. These include the fact that more
poor children have begun enrolling and regularly
attending school. Teachers reported that earlier
The Parliament is the cornerstone of our
democracy and we are represented in it
through our elected representatives.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)
www.in.undp.org
Chapter 1: On Equality
Rationalised 2023-24
6 Social and Political Life
children would often go home for lunch and then not
return to school but now with the midday meal being
provided in school, their attendance has improved.
Their mothers, who earlier had to interrupt their work
to feed their children at home during the day, now
no longer need to do so. This programme has also
helped reduce caste prejudices because  children of
all castes in the school eat this meal together, and in
quite a few places, Dalit women have been employed
to cook the meal. The midday meal programme also
helps reduce the hunger of poor students who often
come to school and cannot concentrate because their
stomachs are empty.
While government programmes play an important
role in increasing equality of opportunity, there is much
that still needs to be done. While the midday meal
programme has helped increase the enrolment and
attendance of poor children in school, there continues
to be big differences in our country between schools
that the rich attend and those that the poor attend.
Even today there are several schools in the country in
which Dalit children are discriminated against and
treated unequally. These children are forced into
unequal situations in which their dignity is not
respected. This is because people refuse to think of
them as equal even though the law requires it.
One of the main reasons for this is that attitudes
change very slowly. Even though persons are aware
that discrimination is against the law, they continue
to treat people unequally on the basis of their caste,
religion, disability, economic status and because they
are women. It is only when people begin to believe
that no one is inferior, and that every person deserves
to be treated with dignity, that present attitudes can
change. Establishing equality in a democratic society
is a continuous struggle and one in which individuals
as well as various communities in India contribute to
and you will read more about this in this book.
Issues of equality in other democracies
You are probably wondering whether India is the only
democratic country in which there is inequality and
Children being served their midday
meal at a government school in
Uttarakhand.
What is the midday meal
programme? Can you list three
benefits of the programme? How
do you think this programme
might help promote greater
equality?
Find out about one government
scheme in your area. What does
this scheme do? Whom is this
scheme set up to benefit?
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 4


4 Social and Political Life
1
CHAPTER
On Equality
Equality in Indian democracy
The Indian Constitution recognises every person as
equal. This means that every individual in the
country, including male and female persons from
all castes, religions, tribes, educational and economic
backgrounds are recognised as equal. This is not to
say that inequality ceases to exist. It doesn’t. But
atleast, in democratic India, the principle of the
equality of all persons is recognised. While earlier
no law existed to protect people from discrimination
and ill-treatment, now there are several that work to
see that people are treated with dignity and as equals.
This recognition of equality includes some of the
following provisions in the Constitution: first that
every person is equal before the law. What this means
is that every person, from the President of the country
to Kanta, a domestic worker, has to obey the same
laws. Second, no person can be discriminated against
on the basis of their religion, race, caste, place of
birth or whether they are female or male. Third, every
person has access to all public places including
playgrounds, hotels, shops and markets. All persons
can use publicly available wells, roads and bathing
ghats. Fourth, untouchability has been abolished.
Can you think of an incident in
your life in which your dignity was
violated? How did this make you
feel?
In the 1975 film, Deewar, a boy who
works as a shoeshine refuses to pick up a
coin thrown at him. He feels that there
is dignity in the work that he does and
insists that his fee be given respectfully.
Rationalised 2023-24
5
The two ways in which the government has tried
to implement the equality that is guaranteed in the
Constitution is first through laws and second through
government programmes or schemes to help
disadvantaged communities. There are several laws
in India that protect every person’s right to be treated
equally. In addition to laws, the government has also
set up several schemes to improve the lives of
communities and individuals who have been treated
unequally for several centuries. These schemes are
to ensure greater opportunity for people who have
not had this in the past.
One of the steps taken by the government includes
the midday meal scheme. This refers to the
programme introduced in all government elementary
schools to provide children with cooked lunch. Tamil
Nadu was the first state in India to introduce this
scheme, and in 2001, the Supreme Court asked all
state governments to begin this programme in their
schools within six months. This programme has had
many positive effects. These include the fact that more
poor children have begun enrolling and regularly
attending school. Teachers reported that earlier
The Parliament is the cornerstone of our
democracy and we are represented in it
through our elected representatives.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)
www.in.undp.org
Chapter 1: On Equality
Rationalised 2023-24
6 Social and Political Life
children would often go home for lunch and then not
return to school but now with the midday meal being
provided in school, their attendance has improved.
Their mothers, who earlier had to interrupt their work
to feed their children at home during the day, now
no longer need to do so. This programme has also
helped reduce caste prejudices because  children of
all castes in the school eat this meal together, and in
quite a few places, Dalit women have been employed
to cook the meal. The midday meal programme also
helps reduce the hunger of poor students who often
come to school and cannot concentrate because their
stomachs are empty.
While government programmes play an important
role in increasing equality of opportunity, there is much
that still needs to be done. While the midday meal
programme has helped increase the enrolment and
attendance of poor children in school, there continues
to be big differences in our country between schools
that the rich attend and those that the poor attend.
Even today there are several schools in the country in
which Dalit children are discriminated against and
treated unequally. These children are forced into
unequal situations in which their dignity is not
respected. This is because people refuse to think of
them as equal even though the law requires it.
One of the main reasons for this is that attitudes
change very slowly. Even though persons are aware
that discrimination is against the law, they continue
to treat people unequally on the basis of their caste,
religion, disability, economic status and because they
are women. It is only when people begin to believe
that no one is inferior, and that every person deserves
to be treated with dignity, that present attitudes can
change. Establishing equality in a democratic society
is a continuous struggle and one in which individuals
as well as various communities in India contribute to
and you will read more about this in this book.
Issues of equality in other democracies
You are probably wondering whether India is the only
democratic country in which there is inequality and
Children being served their midday
meal at a government school in
Uttarakhand.
What is the midday meal
programme? Can you list three
benefits of the programme? How
do you think this programme
might help promote greater
equality?
Find out about one government
scheme in your area. What does
this scheme do? Whom is this
scheme set up to benefit?
Rationalised 2023-24
7
where the struggle for equality continues to exist.
The truth is that in many democratic countries
around the world, the issue of equality continues to
be the key issue around which communities struggle.
So, for example, in the United States of America, the
African–Americans whose ancestors were the slaves
who were brought over from Africa, continue to
describe their lives today as largely unequal. This,
despite the fact that there was a movement in the
late 1950s to push for equal rights for African–
Americans. Prior to this, African–Americans were
treated extremely unequally in the United States and
denied equality through law. For example, when
travelling by bus, they either had to sit at the back of
the bus or get up from their seat whenever a white
person wished to sit.
Rosa Parks (1913–2005) was an African–American
woman. Tired from a long day at work she refused to give
up her seat on a bus to a white man on 1 December 1955.
Her refusal that day started a huge agitation against
the unequal ways in which African–Americans were
treated and which came to be known as the Civil
Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Act of 1964
prohibited discrimination on the basis of race,
religion or national origin. It also stated that all
schools would be open to African–American children
and that they would no longer have to attend
“It is disgraceful to live at the cost of
one's self-respect. Self-respect is the most
vital factor in life. Without it, man is a
cipher. To live worthily with self-
respect, one has to overcome difficulties.
It is out of hard and ceaseless struggle
alone that one derives strength,
confidence and recognition.
“Man is mortal. Everyone has to die
some day or the other. But one must
resolve to lay down one's life in
enriching the noble ideals of self-respect
and in bettering one's human life...
Nothing is more disgraceful for a brave
man than to live life devoid of self-
respect.”
– B.R. Ambedkar
Chapter 1: On Equality
Rosa Parks, an African–
American woman, changed
the course of American
history with one defiant act.
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 5


4 Social and Political Life
1
CHAPTER
On Equality
Equality in Indian democracy
The Indian Constitution recognises every person as
equal. This means that every individual in the
country, including male and female persons from
all castes, religions, tribes, educational and economic
backgrounds are recognised as equal. This is not to
say that inequality ceases to exist. It doesn’t. But
atleast, in democratic India, the principle of the
equality of all persons is recognised. While earlier
no law existed to protect people from discrimination
and ill-treatment, now there are several that work to
see that people are treated with dignity and as equals.
This recognition of equality includes some of the
following provisions in the Constitution: first that
every person is equal before the law. What this means
is that every person, from the President of the country
to Kanta, a domestic worker, has to obey the same
laws. Second, no person can be discriminated against
on the basis of their religion, race, caste, place of
birth or whether they are female or male. Third, every
person has access to all public places including
playgrounds, hotels, shops and markets. All persons
can use publicly available wells, roads and bathing
ghats. Fourth, untouchability has been abolished.
Can you think of an incident in
your life in which your dignity was
violated? How did this make you
feel?
In the 1975 film, Deewar, a boy who
works as a shoeshine refuses to pick up a
coin thrown at him. He feels that there
is dignity in the work that he does and
insists that his fee be given respectfully.
Rationalised 2023-24
5
The two ways in which the government has tried
to implement the equality that is guaranteed in the
Constitution is first through laws and second through
government programmes or schemes to help
disadvantaged communities. There are several laws
in India that protect every person’s right to be treated
equally. In addition to laws, the government has also
set up several schemes to improve the lives of
communities and individuals who have been treated
unequally for several centuries. These schemes are
to ensure greater opportunity for people who have
not had this in the past.
One of the steps taken by the government includes
the midday meal scheme. This refers to the
programme introduced in all government elementary
schools to provide children with cooked lunch. Tamil
Nadu was the first state in India to introduce this
scheme, and in 2001, the Supreme Court asked all
state governments to begin this programme in their
schools within six months. This programme has had
many positive effects. These include the fact that more
poor children have begun enrolling and regularly
attending school. Teachers reported that earlier
The Parliament is the cornerstone of our
democracy and we are represented in it
through our elected representatives.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)
www.in.undp.org
Chapter 1: On Equality
Rationalised 2023-24
6 Social and Political Life
children would often go home for lunch and then not
return to school but now with the midday meal being
provided in school, their attendance has improved.
Their mothers, who earlier had to interrupt their work
to feed their children at home during the day, now
no longer need to do so. This programme has also
helped reduce caste prejudices because  children of
all castes in the school eat this meal together, and in
quite a few places, Dalit women have been employed
to cook the meal. The midday meal programme also
helps reduce the hunger of poor students who often
come to school and cannot concentrate because their
stomachs are empty.
While government programmes play an important
role in increasing equality of opportunity, there is much
that still needs to be done. While the midday meal
programme has helped increase the enrolment and
attendance of poor children in school, there continues
to be big differences in our country between schools
that the rich attend and those that the poor attend.
Even today there are several schools in the country in
which Dalit children are discriminated against and
treated unequally. These children are forced into
unequal situations in which their dignity is not
respected. This is because people refuse to think of
them as equal even though the law requires it.
One of the main reasons for this is that attitudes
change very slowly. Even though persons are aware
that discrimination is against the law, they continue
to treat people unequally on the basis of their caste,
religion, disability, economic status and because they
are women. It is only when people begin to believe
that no one is inferior, and that every person deserves
to be treated with dignity, that present attitudes can
change. Establishing equality in a democratic society
is a continuous struggle and one in which individuals
as well as various communities in India contribute to
and you will read more about this in this book.
Issues of equality in other democracies
You are probably wondering whether India is the only
democratic country in which there is inequality and
Children being served their midday
meal at a government school in
Uttarakhand.
What is the midday meal
programme? Can you list three
benefits of the programme? How
do you think this programme
might help promote greater
equality?
Find out about one government
scheme in your area. What does
this scheme do? Whom is this
scheme set up to benefit?
Rationalised 2023-24
7
where the struggle for equality continues to exist.
The truth is that in many democratic countries
around the world, the issue of equality continues to
be the key issue around which communities struggle.
So, for example, in the United States of America, the
African–Americans whose ancestors were the slaves
who were brought over from Africa, continue to
describe their lives today as largely unequal. This,
despite the fact that there was a movement in the
late 1950s to push for equal rights for African–
Americans. Prior to this, African–Americans were
treated extremely unequally in the United States and
denied equality through law. For example, when
travelling by bus, they either had to sit at the back of
the bus or get up from their seat whenever a white
person wished to sit.
Rosa Parks (1913–2005) was an African–American
woman. Tired from a long day at work she refused to give
up her seat on a bus to a white man on 1 December 1955.
Her refusal that day started a huge agitation against
the unequal ways in which African–Americans were
treated and which came to be known as the Civil
Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Act of 1964
prohibited discrimination on the basis of race,
religion or national origin. It also stated that all
schools would be open to African–American children
and that they would no longer have to attend
“It is disgraceful to live at the cost of
one's self-respect. Self-respect is the most
vital factor in life. Without it, man is a
cipher. To live worthily with self-
respect, one has to overcome difficulties.
It is out of hard and ceaseless struggle
alone that one derives strength,
confidence and recognition.
“Man is mortal. Everyone has to die
some day or the other. But one must
resolve to lay down one's life in
enriching the noble ideals of self-respect
and in bettering one's human life...
Nothing is more disgraceful for a brave
man than to live life devoid of self-
respect.”
– B.R. Ambedkar
Chapter 1: On Equality
Rosa Parks, an African–
American woman, changed
the course of American
history with one defiant act.
Rationalised 2023-24
8 Social and Political Life
separate schools specially set up for them. However,
despite this, a majority of African–Americans
continue to be among the poorest in the country.
Most African-American children can only afford to
attend government schools that have fewer facilities
and poorly qualified teachers as compared to white
students who either go to private schools or live in
areas where the government schools are as highly
rated as private schools.
Challenge of democracy
No country can be described as being completely
democratic. There are always communities and
individuals trying to expand the idea of democracy
and push for a greater recognition of equality on
existing as well as new issues. Central to this is the
struggle for the recognition of all persons as equal
and for their dignity to be maintained. In this book
you will read about how this issue of equality affects
various aspects of our daily lives in democratic India.
As you read these chapters, think about whether
the equality of all persons and their being able to
maintain their dignity is upheld.
Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race,
caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of
them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to –
(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment;
or
(b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained
wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
Excerpt from Article 15 of the Indian Constitution
Rationalised 2023-24
Read More
132 videos|662 docs|304 tests

FAQs on NCERT Textbook: On Equality - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What is meant by equality in Indian democracy?
Ans. Equality in Indian democracy refers to the concept of treating all citizens equally irrespective of their caste, religion, gender, or economic status. It is one of the fundamental principles of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equal rights and opportunities to all citizens.
2. What are the constitutional provisions for ensuring equality in Indian democracy?
Ans. The Indian Constitution provides several provisions to ensure equality in Indian democracy. The most important among them are Article 14, which guarantees equality before the law and equal protection of laws; Article 15, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth; and Article 16, which guarantees equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
3. What are the challenges to achieving equality in Indian democracy?
Ans. Despite constitutional provisions for ensuring equality, there are several challenges to achieving equality in Indian democracy. These include caste-based discrimination, gender-based discrimination, economic inequality, and regional imbalances. Social and economic inequalities also pose a significant challenge to ensuring equality in Indian democracy.
4. How can citizens contribute to ensuring equality in Indian democracy?
Ans. Citizens can contribute to ensuring equality in Indian democracy by raising awareness about the importance of equality and by actively participating in democratic processes. They can also demand equal treatment and opportunities for all citizens and hold public officials accountable for ensuring equality. Citizens can also work towards reducing social and economic inequalities and promoting affirmative action measures.
5. How does ensuring equality in Indian democracy benefit society?
Ans. Ensuring equality in Indian democracy is important for promoting social and economic justice and preventing discrimination and marginalization of certain sections of society. It helps in creating a more inclusive and harmonious society where all citizens have equal opportunities and access to resources. This, in turn, leads to a more stable and prosperous society where everyone can contribute to the growth and development of the nation.
132 videos|662 docs|304 tests
Download as PDF
Explore Courses for UPSC exam

How to Prepare for UPSC

Read our guide to prepare for UPSC which is created by Toppers & the best Teachers
Signup for Free!
Signup to see your scores go up within 7 days! Learn & Practice with 1000+ FREE Notes, Videos & Tests.
10M+ students study on EduRev
Download the FREE EduRev App
Track your progress, build streaks, highlight & save important lessons and more!
Related Searches

NCERT Textbook: On Equality | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

,

MCQs

,

study material

,

mock tests for examination

,

Viva Questions

,

Extra Questions

,

pdf

,

shortcuts and tricks

,

NCERT Textbook: On Equality | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

,

NCERT Textbook: On Equality | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

,

video lectures

,

Exam

,

Previous Year Questions with Solutions

,

Sample Paper

,

practice quizzes

,

Summary

,

Important questions

,

ppt

,

Objective type Questions

,

past year papers

,

Semester Notes

,

Free

;