US-based political scientist Ashutosh Varshney said on Saturday that urbanisation and economic growth resulted in the increase of caste and communal differences.
Speaking at a special lecture organised on ‘Caste and religion in the era of economic growth’ held at Indian Council for Social Sciences Research complex, PU, said that caste groups were increasingly becoming political categories and interest groups rather than a social classification.
Varshney, who is a Sol Goldman professor of international studies and department of political science, Brown University, USA, said that growing urbanisation in India had eroded the connection between caste and occupation. The recent economic growth in India, which began to offer more opportunities to people, only served to accelerate this process in urban India, he said.
“Middle- class Indians living in the cities, who have benefitted from growth, took refuge in religion due to increasing insecurity and displacement that accompany growth,” he said. Referring to communal conflicts in India, Varshney argued that economic growth and urbanisation increased communal tensions.