Caste still plays a significant role in Hindu society. However, post Indian independence, caste is losing favor in India and caste-based discrimination has been illegitimated. There is provision for reverse discrimination and measures such as backward caste quotas in collegiate admissions and jobs have been taken by the government. Some defend caste on the grounds that when working properly it ensures that everyone has a job and an income. Some groups, however, such as sweepers and leather-workers, were outside the caste system. Called untouchables, Gandhi called themharijan(God's people). Many prefer the term Dalit. Ancientshastasdealing with the duties ofrajahs(princes) stipulate that the good of the people is the main responsibility of a ruler, who can be removed for neglecting affairs of state or the needs of his subjects. In many respects, therajahsrepresented the gods and Vishnu'savatars,Krishna and Ram give examples of princely rule during their periods on earth that can be emulated.Caste-based quotas have been controversial with various political parties exploiting these divisions for electoral gain.
Hindutva In the twentieth century, emerging Indian nationalism began to emphasize Hinduism, in opposition to the British Raj, but also in contrast toIslam, and after independence in connection with the territorial disputes withPakistan. Such nationalistic Hinduism is generally termedHindutva("Hinduness," paradoxically not a well-formed Sanskrit word, since "Hindu" is a Persian word), but the boundaries are fluid and the Indian Supreme Court ruled that "no precise meaning can be ascribed to the terms 'Hindu', 'Hindutva' and 'Hinduism'; and no meaning in the abstract can confine it to the narrow limits of religion alone, excluding the content of Indian culture and heritage" (Decision re. Appeal No. appeal no. 2836/1989 by Justices J.S. Verma, N.P. Singh and K. Venkataswami, on December 11, 1995). Hindutva ideology was enunciated first by Savarkar in his seminal work “Hindutva” (1922). Hindutva ideology rose to importance in Indian politics in the 1980s and is chiefly associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh movement. It has come to symbolize the rising bi-polarization of Indian polity in the late 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century, evident in the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the same period (in power 1988 – 2004). Also influential was Dayananda Sarasvati (1823 – 1883) who founded the Arya Samaj, which stressed the importance of the Vedas as completely true and error-free and as anticipating the total sum of human knowledge, including science. Later scriptures, except theLaws of Manu(legal material) are rejected. The Arya Samaj (like the Brahmo Samaj) conducts communal acts of worship. The Arya Samaj's own schools, orgurukulas,teach the Vedas and Aryan culture, and one
aim of the movement is to re-convert Indian Christians, Sikhs, and Muslims. It teaches that only Hindus are true Indians. The conflict that sometimes stems from this exclusive understanding of Hindu