Short Answer Questions
Q.1. “We all have more than one identity and can belong to more than one social group.” Discuss the statement with suitable examples. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. It is fairly common for people belonging to the same religion to feel that they do not belongto the same community, because their caste or sect is very different. It is also possible for people from different religions to have the same caste and feel close to each other. Rich and poor persons from the same family often do not keep close relations with each other for they feel they are different. Example – Carlos and Smith were similar in one way that they both were Afro-American and thus different from Norman who was white. But they were all athletes who stood against racial discrimination. Thus we all have more than one social group.
Q.2. Discuss two reasons why differences occur in society. Give an example to show that social differences do not lead to social division. [2010, 2011 (T-I)]
Ans. The social differences are mostly based on accident of birth. Normally we do not choose to belong to our community. We belong to it simply because we were born into it. People around us are male or female, they are tall or short, having different complexion or have different
physical abilities or disabilities. But all kind of social differences are not based on accident of birth. Some of the differences are based on our choices. Example – some people are atheists. They don’t believe in god or any religion. All these lead to formation of social groups that are based on our choices.
Every social difference does not lead to social division. Social differences divide similar people from one another, but they also unite very different people.
Q.3. What are the features of a homogeneous society? Mention the name of any one country\ having such society? [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Homogenous society is a kind of society that has similar kinds of people, especially where there are no significant ethnic differences. But these kinds of society are rare, even those countries such as Germany and Sweden that were once highly homogenous are undergoing rapid change with influx of people from other parts of the world. Migrants bring with them their own culture and tend to form a different social community. In this sense, most countries of the world are multicultural.
Q.4. What was the Black Power movement? Explain. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. The Black power movement emerged in 1966 and lasted till 1975, which was a more militant anti-racist movement, advocating even violence, if necessary, to end racism in U.S. This movement became speedy after Olympics of Mexico city in 1968. In it US athletes Tommie Smiths and John Carlos are Afro-American won the gold and bronze medal respectively. They received their medals while wearing black socks and no shoes to represent Black poveery. With this gesture they tried to draw international attention to racial discrimination in the U.S. Their action succeeded in gaining international attention for the civil right movement in the U.S. Recently the San Jose State University of which they were former students, honoured them and installed their statue in the university campus.
Q.5. Explain any three elements that show the diversity in India. [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. The elements that show the diversity in India –
(i) India is a land which gave birth to four religions – Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Muslims also lived in India having a good population.
(ii) Caste system of India is unique like Indian population is divided into Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shudra.
(iii) Different kinds of dances are there in India like Kathak, Bharat Natyam, Odyssi, Kathakali and Bhangra.
Q.6. How were Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power movement different from each other?’’ Give three features of each. [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. Civil rights movement in the US (1954 – 1968) refers to a set of events and reform movements aimed at abolishing legal racial discrimination against Afro-Americans. Led by Martin Luther King Jr, this movement practised non-violent methods of civil disobedience against racially discriminatory laws and practices.
Afro-American, Black American or Black are the terms used to refer mainly to the descendants of Africans, who were brought into America as slaves between the 17th century and early 19th century.
The Black power movement emerged in 1966 and lasted till 1975, which was a more militant, anti-racist movement, advocating even violence, if necessary, to end racism in the U.S.
Q.7. How far is it correct to say that social divisions exist in only big countries like India? Explain. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. It is not correct to say that social divisions exist in only big countries like India. Here we can take the example of Belgium. The ethnic composition of this small country is very complex. Of the country’s total population, 59% live in the Flemish region and speaks Dutch language. Another 40% live in the Wallonia region and speak French. Remaining 1% of the Belgians speak German. In the capital like Brussels, 80% people speak French while 20% are Dutchspeaking.
Q.8. “We have different identities in different contexts.” Support the statement with three facts. [2011 (T-1)]
(i) It is common for people belonging to the same religion to feel that they do not belong to the same community, because their caste or sect is different.
(ii) It is also possible for people from different religions to have the same caste and feel close to each other.
(iii) Rich and poor people from the same family often do not keep close relations with each other because they feel they are very different. Thus, we have different identities in different contexts.
Q.9. How is political expression of social divisions in democracy beneficial? [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. In a democracy political expression of social division is very normal and healthy. This allows various disadvantaged and marginal groups to express their grievances and get the government to attend to these. Expression of various kinds of social divisions in politics often results in their cancelling one another out and thus reducing their intensity. This leads to strengthening of a democracy.
Q.10. What did the African-American athletes in Mexico Olympics do in order to draw international attention to social discrimination in the United States? [2011 (T-1)]
Ans. In the 1968 Olympics held at Maxico City two US African-American athletes named Tommie Smith and John Carlos won gold and bronze medals respectively. During the medal ceremony, they stood with clenched fists upraised and heads bowed when the national anthem was being\ played. They also wore black shocks and no shoes to show the stark poverty among the black community. With this gesture, they tried to draw international attention to racial discrimination in the United States. The black gloved and raised clenched fists were meant to symbolise Black power.
Long Answer Questions
Q.1. “Some people conclude that politics and social divisions should not be allowed to mix.” Support this idea with two arguments. 
Ans. It is true that politics and social divisions should not be allowed to mix. It leads to negative results. We can see this when caste starts influencing politics –
(i) Each caste group tries to become bigger by incorporating within it new kinds of\ neighbouring castes or subcastes which it had excluded earlier. New kinds of caste groups like backward and forward emerge. This is not healthy for democracy and can lead to\ tensions, conflicts and even violence. It diverts attention from other pressing issues like poverty, development and corruption.
(ii) Political parties and candidates in elections make appeals to caste sentiment to minister support. Some political parties are known to favour some castes and are seen as their representatives. This is bad, because it gives the impression that elections are about castes and nothing else. This is far from true.
Q.2. How do social divisions affect politics? Explain with examples. (2009)
Ans. At first, it appears that the combination of politics and social divisions is very dangerous. Democracy involves competition among various political parties. Their competition tends to divide any society. If they start competing in terms of some existing social divisions, it can make social divisions into political divisions and lead to conflict, violence or even disintegration of a country.
In Northern Ireland there was a violent ethno-political conflict between Catholics and Protestants and the government. Similarly, in Yugoslavia, political competition along religious and ethnic lines led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia into six independent countries. But every expression of social divisions in politics does not lead to disasters. In a democracy, it is only natural that political parties would talk about these divisions, make different promises to different communities and make policies to redress the grievances of the disadvantaged communities. Yet all this does not lead to the disintegration of the country.