Answer :

The present form of cast as a social institution has been shaped very strongly by both colonial period as well as post colonial period.

The role of colonialism is being listed below -

a) Initially the British administrators tried to understand the complexities of caste system so that they can govern the country efficiently.

b) The most important official effort to collect information on caste was through the census which first started in 1860 and then it was annually done by British Indian government from 1881 onwards.

c) The Census under the direction of Herbert Risley in 1901 was very important as it collected information on social hierarchy of caste.

d) Other interventions by colonial state like land revenue settlements and other related arrangements and law served to give legal recognition to the caste based right of the upper castes.

e) Towards the end of the colonial period the administration also took interest in the welfare of downtrodden castes referred as depressed class at that time.

f) The Government of India Act 1935 was passed and it gave legal recognition to the list or schedules of castes and tribes.

g) Castes at the bottom of the hierarchy that suffered severe discrimination including all the so-called untouchable Casts were included in the scheduled castes.

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