Here is an essay on ‘Social Problems in India’ for class 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Social Problems in India’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Social Problems
- Essay on the Introduction to Social Problems
- Essay on the Concept of Social Problems
- Essay on the Types of Social Problems
- Essay on the Characteristics of Social Problems
- Essay on the Causes of Social Problems
- Essay on the Factors that Result in Social Problems
- Essay on the Reactions to Social Problems
- Essay on Solving Social Problems
Essay # 1. Introduction to Social Problems:
India emerged as an independent nation-state on 15th August 1947, after a long struggle against the British colonial yoke. The country is a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic with a parliamentary system of government. Though India has shown tremendous growth in all spheres of national life in the years after independence, yet many problems plague the everyday social life; the problems, many a time, are interrelated.
Poverty, Population, Pollution, Illiteracy, Corruption, Inequality, Gender discrimination, Terrorism, Communalism, Lack of Infrastructure, Unemployment, Regionalism, Casteism, Alcoholism, Drugs Abuse, Violence against Women are the major ones.
Contemporary Indian society is flecked with numerous issues that are labelled as social problems. Some of them are age-old, and some are of recent origin that have erupted owing to the change in global socio-political order.
A social problem, in general, is the condition which is not ideal and disrupts the balance of a society. A dictionary of sociology defines social problems as, “any undesirable condition or situation that is judged by an influential number of persons within a community to be intolerable and to require group action toward constructive reform”.
Another widely used definition specifies that “no condition, no matter how dramatic or shocking to someone else, is a social problem unless and until the values of a considerable number of people define it as a problem”.
Some of the other definitions of social problems given by sociologists are:
1. Horton and Leslie:
It is often defined as the condition which many people consider undesirable and wish to correct.
It is any deviant behaviour in a disapproved direction of such a degree that it exceeds the tolerance limit of the community.
3. L.K. Frank:
It is defined as any difficulty of misbehaviour of a fairly large number of persons which we wish to remove or correct.
4. Fuller and Mayer:
A social problem starts with the awakening of people in a given locality, with the realisation of certain cherished values that are threatened by the conditions which have become acute.
Sociology has emerged as a discipline which systematically studies social behaviour or society, including its origins, development, organisation, networks, and institutions and problems. The American Sociological Association defines Sociology as “the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behaviour”. To a sociologist, a social problem is an issue that negatively affects a person’s state of being in a society.
To understand social problems, sociologists look “from outside” at individuals rather than looking them “from inside”, to examine the thoughts, cause, and action. This is due to the fact that for the sociologist, many problems that appear as personal are actually social problems, because personal experience in one way or another is influenced by social forces. Prominent American sociologist C. Wright Mills uses the term “sociological imagination” to refer to this ability to see the impact of social forces on individuals, especially on their private lives.
He argues that people must understand how extraneous factors contribute to individual situations. To understand this, we must apply sociological imagination— the ability to look beyond the individual as the only cause of action and see how society influences a person’s outcome. Mills noted that this macro (large-scale) point of view helps us understand how history and societal organisations influence people.
We often see social issues from our personal viewpoints, interpreting actions at face value, i.e. a micro (small- scale) view. Using only a micro point of view is detrimental to a holistic and genuine understanding of the world. It can negatively influence our understanding of events while applying sociological imagination, and considering that an individual might act and respond because of a number of reasons.
As Mills argued, the goal of sociology is to move beyond our own perceptions and toward a sociological imagination. Without connecting what we know about society to the individual, we run the risk of wrongly placing blame and misconstruing the way we interpret events.
The shift then is to look at social problems in relation to other aspects of society like economy, culture, or religion. The sociological imagination is stimulated by a willingness to view the social world from the perspective of others. It involves moving from thinking about the individual and his problems, and focusing on social, economic, and historical circumstances that produce the problem. Sociological study is not the same as our everyday “common sense.”
Social problems are of diverse nature.
However, these diverse social problems can be broadly grouped under four categories:
These problems arise due to imbalance in economic distribution such as poverty, unemployment, etc.
Problems that arise from established beliefs, values, traditions, laws, and languages of a nation or society fall under this category such as dowry, child marriage, juvenile delinquency, etc.
The problems that arise due to natural calamities, infectious diseases, famine, etc.
Problems that arise from ill mental and neurological health fall under this category.
(i) Problems that are rooted in some aspect of the physical environment.
(ii) Problems that are inherent in the nature or distribution of the population involved.
(iii) Problems that result from poor social organisation.
(iv) Problems that evolve from a conflict of cultural values within the society.
(i) Physical Problems:
Though these are problems for the society, but their causes are not based on value conflicts, for example, floods and famines;
(ii) Ameliorative Problems:
There is consensus about the effects of these problems but there are differences pertaining to their solutions, for example, crime, poverty, and AIDS; and
(iii) Moral Problems:
There is no consensus pertaining to the nature or causes of these problems, for example, gambling, alcoholism, drug abuse, and divorce.
Social problems are serious to the extent that they undesirably alter the existing order of the society.
On the basis of the aforesaid discussion, we can identify the following characteristics of social problems:
1. All social problems are situations which have injurious consequences for society.
2. All social problems are deviations from the “ideal” situation.
3. All social problems have some common basis of origin.
4. All social problems are social and political in origin.
5. All social problems are caused by pathological social conditions.
6. All social problems are interconnected.
7. All social problems are social in their results—they affect all sections of society.
8. The responsibility for social problems is social—they require a collective approach for their solution.
9. Social problems occur in all societies.
A social problem does not exist for a society unless it is recognised by that society to exist. In not being aware of a social problem, a society does not perceive it, address it, discuss it, or do anything for eradicating it. So the crucial point is, identification of a particular issue by the society as a problem. History changes the definition of social problems. The issues that society considered major in the past are often not that important in the present.
For example, at one point in time a major concern in the United States was horse theft—obviously, this is no longer an issue. For example sati, child labour, illiteracy, child marriage, slavery, and religious conversion were not considered a malady in Indian history. But today, all of these are undesirable in contemporary India.
The causes of social problems may be three-fold but cannot be treated in isolation:
The social evils that are plaguing our society today could hardly be catalogued. They are very uncountable in the true sense of the assertion.
Prominent among them are- juvenile delinquency; child abuse; escalating crime waves such as armed robbery; arson; fraud; drug peddling; currency trafficking; bribery and corruption; embezzlement of public funds; student and youth unrest; cultural violence; religious intolerance; boundary disputes; stark dishonesty; election rigging; coups and counter coups; lack of commitment to duty; examination malpractices; filthy and gross indiscipline; result racketeering; disrespect for other species; gross economic inequality; poverty; disease and hunger; widespread illiteracy; lack of gainful employment opportunities; open injustice; ostentatious spending; abuse of authority; hoarding of essential commodities; cheating and exploitation of the masses; discrimination and ethnic jingoism; inordinate ambition; cultism; lack of realisation of human potential; narrow education resulting in ill-informed citizens; civil wars; famine; drought and unchecked desertification; and human trafficking and child labour.
James H. Reinhardt (1952) has recounted three factors in the development of social problems:
The principle that the greater the number of parts in a machine or an organism, the greater the probability of maladjustment among the parts holds good for human societies too, where there is increased opportunity for the collision of interests of various individuals, groups, institutions, and systems. Untouchability, communal riots, and political crimes are the social problems which is the result of the clash of interests of different castes and classes.
This has been made possible due to the multiplication of scientific and mechanical innovations. For example, the invention of machines has destroyed many old forms of employment resulting in the migration of millions of people, and has given rise to class conflicts. It is thus the structural and functional maladjustments arising from revolutionary inventions which create many social problems.
Ever since man has developed his social insight of looking into the working of nature, issues which were formerly regarded as simple are now perceived as the result of various kinds of natural conditions which influence man and society. .
Different people react differently to social problems.
The differences may be explained in terms of the following four factors:
Many people and the State at times, remain indifferent to a problem, thinking that it does not affect them. At times, their own individual problems like family tensions and job pressures keep them so engaged that they do not find time to be interested in what affects others. It is only when their own interests are involved that they become agitated and start taking interest in the problem. The indifference and passivity of the State only add to the problem further.
Some people are so fatalistic that they attribute everything to destiny. Issues like poverty and unemployment are also explained in terms of misfortune and past karma. They, therefore, suffer the misfortune quietly and wait for some miracle to happen.
Some people take no interest in the existing problems because they stand to gain so long as the problem exists. Motivated by self-interest, they describe the problem as insoluble and talk about its eradication as a waste of time.
Some people, though deeply concerned about the problem, do not take much interest in it believing that its solution is impossible unless people change their attitudes and values. As the changes must be initiated by a change in outlook, they remain unconcerned about finding alternative possibilities of treatment. Dowry is one such problem in our society.
Essay # 8. Solving Social Problems:
Although C. Wright Mills identified the relationship between a personal trouble and a public issue more than 50 years ago, less has been said about the transformation of an issue to a solution. Mills leads us in the right direction by identifying the relationship between public issues and social institutions. By continuing to use our sociological imagination and recognising the role of larger social, cultural, and structural forces, we can identify appropriate measures to address these social problems.
Let’s consider homelessness. It does not arise out of mysterious or special circumstances; it emerges out of familiar life experiences. The loss of a job, the illness of a family member, domestic violence, or divorce could make a family more susceptible to homelessness. Without informal social support, a savings account, or suitable and adequate employment—and with the increasing cost of healthcare and the lack of affordable housing—a family’s economic and emotional resources can quickly be tapped out.
What would it take to prevent homelessness in these situations? The answers are not based in each individual or each family; rather, the long-term solutions are structural solutions such as affordable healthcare, livable wages, and affordable low-income housing. In the US, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed sweeping social reforms during his New Deal in 1935, and President Johnson declared the War on Poverty in 1964. Solutions require social action—in the form of social policy, advocacy, and innovation—to address problems at their structural or individual levels.
Social innovation may take the form of a policy, a programme, or advocacy that features an untested or unique approach. Innovation usually starts at the community level, but it can grow into a national or international programme. The concept of “partnership housing” was developed by Millard and Linda Fuller in 1965, partnering those in need of adequate shelter with community volunteers to build simple interest-free houses. In India, recent initiative ‘Swachh Bharat’, ‘Digital India, ‘Make in India’ etc. are also unique social innovations that can transform Indian society in a big way.