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1 mark

Define Right to dignity.

Dignity refers to thinking of oneself and others as worthy of respect.

Read the quote below and answer the question.

“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”.

Who has given the above quote and what was his contribution?

The above quote is by Dr. B.R Ambedkar. His major contribution is

the role he played in framing constitutional provisions on equality

and continuous struggle for the rights of socially marginalised


According to liberals, what is the most efficient way of distributing

rewards in a society?

Liberals believe that competition between people is the most fair and

efficient way of distributing resources and rewards in a society.

Read the excerpt below and answer the question given.

“As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march

ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the

devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never

be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable

horrors of police brutality. …. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we

will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and

righteousness like a mighty stream”.

Who has given the above speech and what is the title of the famous

Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister, was a driving force for

racial equality in the 1950's and the 1960's. The above speech is by

him and is famous by the title ‘I have a dream’.

What does right to privacy entail?

Right to privacy has been recently included in some modern

constitutions (e.g. South Africa). It means right against unreasonable

or unsanctioned invasion by the state or society.

Name two countries where women enjoy partial suffrage.

Lebanon and Bhutan are two countries where women enjoy partial


Think of one reform that you think Marx would have introduced to

end economic inequality in society.

According to Marx, private property is the root cause of economic

inequality in the society. Marx would have abolished private

property to eliminate the class of wealthy owners.

Education is the tool that can help break the pattern of social

discrimination. Comment.

Education is an empowering tool and trains one in life skills. A liberal

education with values of pluralism, tolerance towards diversity and

democratic beliefs can help break the pattern of social discrimination

based on caste, class, race, nationality and sex.

How is Rosa Parks associated with American political history?

Rosa Parks was an African- American woman. Her refusal to give her

seat to a white in a public bus led to the start of a huge agitation

against racial discrimination in the US.

The Constitution of South Africa is considered to be the most

progressive in the world. Comment.

South African constitution is most progressive as its provisions are

related to equality, such as distinction between "gender" and "sex",

the inclusion of "pregnancy", the inclusion of "age" and "disability".

How does women’s suffrage promote equality?

Women’s suffrage means ‘right of women to vote and contest for

political office’. It is assumed that women voters would have a

civilising effect on politics and would be able to generate more

gender sensitive laws in decision making bodies.

Where did the Civil Rights Movement take place?

Civil rights movement took place in USA in 1950s in which African-

American people demanded equal rights and an end to racial

2 marks

Write a note on the political equality.

Political Equality is an important component of just and egalitarian


In this, basic human rights like, right to vote, freedom of expression,

movement, association and speech are incorporated.

If one compares democracy with dictatorship, then one finds that

political equality is only attainable in a democracy, but it is difficult

to attain in a dictatorship.

What are the objectives of the Human Rights Commission?

The objectives of the Human Rights Commission are to eliminate

discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights and to build

good relations, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate

in the society.
What are the provisions provided in the Indian Constitution to

attain equality?

An attempt was being made by the framers of the Indian

Constitution to establish equality. Subsequently, Right to Equality

was incorporated.

Right To Equality: (Art. 14-18)

1. Art.14: Equality before law.

2. Art.15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion,

race, caste, sex, or place of birth.

3. Art.16: Equality of opportunity in matters of public


4. Art.17: Abolition of untouchability.

5. Art.18: Abolition of titles.

Why social equality is necessary for society?

Social equality plays an important role in the development of a

society. Social equality denotes that all the members of the society get

proper conditions of life, adequate health care, opportunities for

good education, adequate nourishment and minimum wages.

Growth of a nation depends upon the people. Healthy, literate and

contended members certainly would contribute more for the nation's


What does equality through different treatment imply?

Equality through different treatment implies that in order to attain

equality, extra privileges are provided to certain classes.

 Formal equality (Equality before Law) is not sufficient to realise

the principles of equality.

 Sometimes it is necessary to take care of the differences

between people, e.g. special provisions for disabled people should be

provided by the government and should be seen as an enhancement

of equality and not as infringements of equality.

What is Equality?

Equality commonly refers to the ideal of equal treatment. For many

centuries society has been guided by the moral and political ideal of

equality. Equality implies that all people, as human beings are

entitled to get the same rights and opportunities to develop their skill

and talent, regardless of their colour, gender, race, nationality, all

human beings deserve equal consideration and respect. In the words

of Honore de Balzac, ‘Equality may perhaps be a right, but no power

on earth can ever turn it into a fact.’

Why is social equality valued in any state?

Social equality refers to enjoyment of equal respect and dignity and

absence of discrimination based on caste, religion, race and sex. A

society that is divided along these lines cannot progress and develop

as people some people are marginalised and denied equal

opportunities. Such a society is marked by social chaos and conflict in

the form of communalism, racism and other forms of resentment and


What do you mean by reverse discrimination?

Reverse discrimination is discrimination against members of a

dominant/ majority group, resulting from special protection policies

made for the minority group to give the latter a level playing field.
What argument is raised by the critics of positive discrimination?

Critics of positive discrimination contend that any provision of

reservations or quotas for the deprived in admissions for higher

education or jobs is unfair as it arbitrarily denies other sections of the

society of their right to equal treatment. They maintain that

reservations are a form of reverse discrimination.

State any two key features of Socialism?

Socialism emerged as a political doctrine opposed to inequalities

arising out of capitalist society. Two key features are:

 Socialism aims at minimising existing inequality and

distributes resources justly.

 Socialists favour some kind of government regulation, planning

and control over certain key areas such as education and health care.

What is feminism?

Feminism is a political doctrine of equal rights for women and men.

Feminists are those men and women who believe that many of the

inequalities we see in society between men and women which are

neither natural nor necessary and can be altered so that both can lead

free and equal lives. They challenged the gender division of labour.

Define patriarchy.

Patriarchy refers to a social, economic and cultural system that values

men more than women and gives men power over women.

Patriarchy assumes that men and women are different by nature and

that this difference justifies their unequal positions in society. For

example, India and Saudi Arabia.

3 marks

What are the consequences of inequalities?

1. Inequalities are dangerous for any society.

2. This leads to divisions in a society.

3. Subsequently, one witnesses resentment among the masses.

E.g. women and Dalits struggle.

4. In democracies, a conscious attempt is made by the government

to remove inequalities, whereas in dictatorship, government tends to

ignore crucial issues related to the inequalities.

4 marks

Write a note on the Karl Marx's contribution to political theory.

In the words of Howe, “Karl Marx was a profound economist, a great

sociologist, an incomparable historian. He was the first thinker to

bring together the various strands of socialist thought into a coherent

world and an impassioned doctrine of struggle”. He was of the view

that private ownership of important economic resources such as land

or forest and various forms of property was the root cause of

inequality. He pointed out that such private ownership did not only

make the class of owners wealthy, it also gave them political power.

Marxists felt that economic inequalities provided support to other

forms of inequalities such as difference of rank or privilege.

Therefore, in order to tackle inequalities, we need to go beyond

providing equal opportunities and ensure public control over

essential resources and forms of property.

What is 'Affirmative action'?

Affirmative action is based on the idea that establishing formal

equality is not enough, certain positive measures needs to be taken to

attain equality.

1. It is an attempt to combat prevalent inequalities in the societies.

2. Affirmative action includes preferential facilities for

disadvantaged communities, e.g. Reservation policy in India.

3. Policy designed to compensate for past sufferings.

4. One cannot deny the fact that it is only a temporary measure to

bring equality.

Is it possible to attain economic equality?

Economic equality is an uphill task to achieve, but certainly is not an

impossible one.

1. Karl Marx was of the opinion that class struggle is the basis of

economic inequalities. Every society consists of two classes, the rich

(Haves, that owned the means of production) and the poor (Haves-

not, that sold their labour).

2. Class- struggle would end with the destruction of capitalism.

3. Economic equality would lead to a classless society.

A continuous attempt needs to be taken at all the levels to attain

economic equality.

Mention the Liberal view on equality.

Liberals upholds that distribution of resources and rewards should

be based on the principle of competition. In order to ensure

minimum standard of living and equal opportunities for all, state

intervention is justifiable. Free and fair competition would help in

establishing equality. Admission in educational institutions and

selection of candidates for jobs should be based on the just

competition. Apart from the concern with equality of rights,

liberalism has focused on the space available in which individuals

may pursue their lives, or their own conception of the good.

Briefly discuss the nature of global inequality with examples.

Global inequality has political, economic and social dimensions.

Global political inequality can be seen in the form of US hegemony

and its dominance in international economic and political

institutions. Global economic inequality is evident from the fact that

the first world of Teh advanced industrial countries with 25% of the
world population, owns 86% of the world's industry. Global social

inequality is seen in the form of racism and how certain civilizations

are branded as backward, while western civilization is considered

more progressive and liberal.

What are entrenched inequalities? Give two examples from India.

Inequalities which are deep-rooted, that is, which remain relatively

untouched over generations, are more dangerous for a society. If in a

society certain classes of people have enjoyed considerable wealth,

and the power which comes with it, over generations, the society

would become divided between those classes and others who have

remained poor over generations. Over time such differences can give

rise to resentment and violence. Two forms of entrenched inequality

seen in India are: caste discrimination and gender distinctions.

Is formal equality sufficient to realise the principle of equality?

Formal equality means equality guaranteed and protected by the

Constitution and legal system. However, formal equality may not be

sufficient to realise the principle of equality. Sometimes it is

necessary to treat people differently in order to ensure that they enjoy

equal rights. For example, disabled people may justifiably demand

special ramps in public spaces so that they get an equal chance to

enter public buildings. This should be seen as enhancement of

equality and not as infringement of equality.

“Feminism deconstructs public and private dichotomy”. Comment.

Patriarchy produces division of labour in which women are

supposed to be responsible for private and domestic matters while

men are responsible for work in the public domain. Feminists

question this distinction by pointing out that most women are active

in the public domain. That is, most women all over the world are

employed in some form of work outside their home, but women

continue to be solely responsible for house-work as well. However,

despite this double burden, women are given little or no say in

decisions taken in the public domain. Feminist argue that this

public/private distinction and all forms of gender inequalities should

be eliminated.
Equality cannot be established merely by law? Explain why? What

are the other ways to promote equality?

Equality established through legal constitutional means is called

formal equality. This refers to the constitutional provisions of

“equality before law” and “equal protection by law”. However,

despite these constitutional provisions, India’s record on

achievement of equality has been dismal. This is because equality

cannot be established by law alone, in addition to this there is also a

need to introduce special programmes or schemes to help

disadvantaged groups. These could be in the form of affirmative

action policies, mid-day meal scheme etc. Also, there is a need to

bring an attitudinal change in society, which means inculcating

democratic values of tolerance and equal recognition.

Does equality means elimination of all forms of differences of

income and status?

Equality does not mean elimination of all forms of differences of

income and status. Equality means that each one should be given

equal opportunity to education and employment without any

discrimination on grounds of caste, race, class or sex. However,

income and status are a result of one’s own talent and merit and how

much one is able to benefit from education and employment. Income

and status are the outcomes which the state cannot guarantee, but

can ensure only equal opportunities to all.

State the two forms in which affirmative actions can be


Policies of affirmative action are designed to correct the cumulative

effect of the past inequalities. Affirmative action means positive

measures to minimise and eliminate entrenched forms of social


Affirmative action can be implemented in the form of preferential

spending on facilities for disadvantaged communities, such as

scholarship and hostels as special consideration for admissions to

educational institutions and jobs. An example of this model is the

United States.
Another way of implementing affirmative action is the one followed

in India, wherein there are quotas or reserved seats in education and

jobs to provide equality of opportunity to the deprived groups.

Caution must be exercised in case of differential treatment. Why?

Differential treatment is warranted in certain cases to ensure that a

set of people can enjoy the same rights as the rest of the society.

Example, special consideration may be given to women working late

nights in call centres or people with disabilities. Caution must be

exercised to see that differential treatment does not yield new

structures of dominance and oppression or become a means for some

dominant groups to reassert special privileges and power in society.

Differential treatment is intended and justified only as a means to

promote a just and egalitarian society.

Read the following excerpt from Nehru’s speech and answer the

question given.

Nehru said on the eve of independence, ‘the spirit of the age is in

favour of equality, though practice denies it almost everywhere’,

and being an optimist, had added. ‘Yet the spirit of the age will


Why do you think Nehru was so optimistic about achieving the

ideal of equality?

Nehru was optimistic about achieving the ideal of equality because

the constitution makers crafted an elaborate set of laws guaranteeing

equal treatment and respect to all sections of society. The

fundamental rights prohibit discrimination on the basis of caste,

colour, race, sex etc. Untouchability abolished and trafficking of

women and children is a punishable offence. Rights of minorities are

protected and minorities are also given special treatment to give

them a level playing field in education and employment.

Suggest two reforms to reduce global inequalities.

Global inequalities can be seen in global political, economic and

social relations. In the political sphere, for instance, some countries

enjoy greater decision-making powers in international institutions.

Such inequalities can be reduced by:

 Reducing economic disparities between the advanced capitalist

countries and the emerging economies of Asia and Africa.

 Expanding the membership of UN Security Council to include

emerging economies like India and Brazil.

Does ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ mean the same?

‘Sex’ and ‘gender’ are often used interchangeably, but the two do not

mean the same. Feminists make a distinction between ‘sex’ and

‘gender’. They argue that sex refers to a biological difference between

men and women, while gender is a social construct. Gender

determines the different social roles assigned to men and women in

society. Gender is a product of society, based on stereotypes and

prejudices exercised by society.

6 marks

What are the different dimensions of equality with special

reference to social equality?

There are three dimensions of equality, i.e. political, economic and

social. In a democracy, a continuous attempt is being made to ensure

that the state of equality is achieved.

 Social equality guarantees minimum conditions of life to all.

E.g. adequate health care, good education, minimum wages etc.

 People from different background should have equal chance to


 Need of an hour is to bridge the widening gap between the rich

and the poor.

 Participation of the rich for the uplifment of poor is a crucial


 Good new schools should be set up in the poor areas, so that

every parent gets an opportunity for their child that is currently only

open to the rich.

Political equality prevails in all the democracies, but inspite of a

continuous initiative social and economic equalities are difficult to


Find out the difference between the social and natural Inequalities.

 Natural inequalities are the result of different capabilities and

talents. Natural inequalities cannot be altered since all men are born

with different abilities.

 Social inequalities are being created by the society. Inequality

of opportunity or the exploitation of a group in a society results in

social inequality. One finds that the discrepancy prevails between the

rewards of an intellectual and manual worker. Differences based on

race, colour, gender and caste leads to a rift in the society.

In India, although a serious attempt is being made by the Central and

the State governments to remove social inequalities, but still a long

way to go before social equality is attained. Along with the policy

formulation, it is important that each one of us should contribute for

the successful implementation of these policies, only then the results

would be visible, i.e. equality would be attained.

What are the different dimensions of equality?

There are three dimensions of equality, i.e. political, economic and

social. In a democracy, a continuous attempt is being made to ensure

that the state of equality is achieved.

 Political Equality: In a democracy political equality includes

equal citizenship to all members of state, right to vote, freedom of

expression, movement, association and freedom of belief. These

rights are necessary to enable citizens to participate in the affairs of

the state. These are legal and guaranteed by the Constitution and

laws. Political equality prevails in all the democracies, but inspite of a

continuous initiative social and economic equalities are difficult to


 Social Equality: Social equality refers to enjoyment of equal

respect and dignity and absence of discrimination on the basis of

caste, sex, race and religion. Social discrimination based on the

mentioned categories leads to lack of opportunities and further

results in economic inequality.

 Economic Equality: Economic equality means that everyone

should have access to basic conditions of life - nutrition, good health

care and education. Economic equality does mean equal distribution

of wealth, since that is a utopia. It means equal opportunity in the

belief that this would at least give those who have talent and

determination the chance to improve their condition.

Is it possible to create a competitive economy and at the same time

bring all inequality to an end?

In this age of globalisation and liberalisation, competition is

inevitable. A competitive liberal economy recognises merit and talent

rather than one’s caste, race or gender identity. But caste, gender and

religion are determining factors in India for access to opportunities

such as education and employment. Even if the competition is open

and fair, there can at least be equality before the competition but not

after it. The outcome of competition, whether in education or in

employment, may not always be the same as that would depend on

one’s talent and ability. That inequality is no doubt different from the

one that is fixed at birth by race, caste or gender, but it is inequality

all the same. It can no doubt be regulated by placing limits on the

rewards of success and the penalties of failure. Such regulation has its

limits and when pushed beyond those limits, it brings development

to a halt without leading to any significant reduction in inequality.

Thus, it is difficult to strike a perfect balance between development

and equality.

In 63 years since independence, how far does our India has

progressed on the road to equality?

Immediately after independence, a number of important measures

were adopted for securing greater equality among the people of the

country. Primary among these were: democracy based on adult

suffrage, agrarian reform and positive discrimination in favour of the

Backward Classes. All of these led to some gains for equality, but the

road to equality has revealed many pitfalls that Nehru’s generation

had not foreseen. There are massive disparities and conflicts of caste,

class, region and gender in Indian society.

While preferential treatment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled

Tribes has vastly increased their participation in public institutions

and the expanse of Indian democracy has widened, yet there

continues to be chaos in the forms of identity politics (new groups

like Gujjars seeking special privileges from the state), Naxal violence

due to lack of access to economic resources, women are still

clamouring for greater and meaningful participation in decision

making bodies.

Despite all this, India continues to work towards its deep-rooted

commitment to equality and urges to eliminate long standing social


Examine the difference between equality of opportunity and

equality of outcome.

Equality of opportunity is most commonly associated with the liberal

democratic tradition. It means, in principle, that access to important

social institutions shall be open to all on universalistic grounds

especially by achievement and talent. It means that all human beings

are entitled to the same rights and opportunities to develop their

skills and talents and to pursue their goals and ambitions. It is not the

lack of equality of status and wealth or privilege that is significant

but the inequalities in people’s access to such basic goods, as

education, healthcare, that make for an unequal society.

Equality of outcome or result is to ensure an equal result regardless

of the starting point and natural ability through social programmes of

positive discrimination in favour of the underprivileged groups. For

instance, the constitutional reservation for scheduled castes and

tribes in India and the affirmative action programme in the United

States are examples of such a policy.

Positive discrimination led to the strengthening of identity politics.


Positive discrimination refers to special consideration or preferential

treatment which will enable the socially marginalised communities to

overcome existing disadvantages and then compete with others on

equal terms. Positive discrimination has led to a somewhat better

representation of disadvantaged castes and communities in public

employment and it has contributed to the creation of a middle class

among the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. But, it also led to

strengthening of identity politics and sometimes to the view that in

public institutions representation matters more than the maintenance

of standards.
The policy of quotas and reservations in India does not promote the

right to equality as much as it enhances the power of the state to do

social good which has been expanding continuously for 60 years

because it has been felt by political parties that the state must do

certain things. That is why reservations for Scheduled Castes and

Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes is nothing but a

gesture of state benevolence in the guise of fulfilling social

commitments which have not resulted in equality but only sharpened

the politics of identity.