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1.1 Introduction

A positive mental attitude refers to the philosophy of keeping positive thinking in different aspects of life. This includes an optimistic disposition related to the attraction of positive changes and the development of positive changes and achievements in life. The development of certain positive attitudes in socially backward classes is necessary for the overall promotion of development and improved achievements. One of the major socially backward communities in India includes the Dalits. This study aims to discuss the overall scenario for the Dalits and their suffering in Indian culture and promotion of positive mental attitude and related challenge analysis. While discussing the challenges faced by Dalits in their daily life, a proper description of Indian culture and its impact on the daily lifestyle of people is necessary to understand. The cultural development and class system in India has mainly developed from Rig Vedas, which includes descriptions of Hindu traditions, especially the Varna system. It is mainly based on the inborn traits and the types of work people carry out for the work. 

Based on the above-described system, the Dalits or untouchables has not welcomed in society. The treatment they get from the upper classes is de-humanized, and they are forced to work as servants or similar kinds of work. There are several incidents in India dictate the torture of Dalits, such as rape, torture, burning or hanging. Cultural beliefs have considered a major challenge to developing a positive mindset among certain people, and that on the other hand restricts their development and achievements. The overall population of Dalits in India includes nearly 19%, and certain mentality and barriers to growth impact the overall mental health of people from India, which is also reflected in the total growth of this country (Nagrajan, 2021). Hence, the development of positive attitudes in Dalits is important for overall positive mental attitude improvement in this country.

1.2 Background of the study

The Indian culture system has derived into different groups whereas Dalits and some backward gropes serve an important portion. According to the view of Thummapudi (2018), Dalits are identified as the untouchable groups who are known as Harijan and a wide range of lower-caste Hindus. “Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes” are identified as commonly known Dalit groups, and they are identified as heterogeneous groups.The highest class in the Indian society is “Brahmins”, which is followed by the warrior class “Kshatriyas” (Arya, 2020). The farmer or the merchant groups known as Vaishyas place the third position, which is followed by the Laborer classes “Shudras”. The fifth group, which is not officially placed in the Indian class system, is the Dalits groups of people who have been suffering many issues in society such as severe discrimination. In the rural areas, the Dalits are excluded from social communities, temples, and gatherings (Sharma and Geetha, 2021). Hence, this study focuses on several issues that are faced by these backward groups in society and the development of mental positive attitudes towards the various aspect of life among the backward groups and the underdeveloped communities (Sarveshet al. 2021). These positive mental attitudes and approacheshopefully can help to develop a good cultural society where all classes of people can get equal respect and the facility from society.

1.3 Aims and objectives

This research aims to understand the real-life situation of the culturally underdeveloped and backward people who are considered untouchable in the Indian society. This research also discusses the approaches taken byGovernments and NGOs against these discriminations in society. These steps can help to improve the standard of the cultural aspect of the society by enhancing the education system. Thus, the primary objectives of this study are listed below:

  • to evaluate the actual scenario and the literature on the Dalits or other backward classes where cultural believes creates various issues in the society;
  • to determine the steps that may uplift the Dalits classes by enhancing their lifestyle and belief system and also understand the issues where the upper class are responsible forcreating cultural discrimination against the lower caste and keeping them away from cultural associations including the education system.
  • to understand various steps and the ways taken by various organizations and the approaches of the government to uplift the condition of the Dalits;
  • toanalyze the gathered information and identify the effective outcomes of the study in different fields such as education and the issues of employment.

1.4 Research questions

RQ1: What is the actual scenario that is faced by the Dalit groups?

RQ 2: How does social discriminationimpact on the Dalit groups? 

RQ3: What are the steps that are taken by the Government and NGOs to enhance positive attitudes towards the backward group?

RQ 4: How do these steps help to reduce social discrimination?

RQ5: What are the challenges that are faced by the government to establish their steps in society?

1.5 Problem statement

During the development of the study, many issues affect the scope of the study. There is very limited reporting in existing research journals and articleson the situations of the identified backward class. It is therefore important to develop direct contact with these underdeveloped classes to reveal the actual problems in society (Yengde, 2018). The issues of discrimination are continually faced by the Dalits, which is one of the major problems in society. In the population of India, cases of mental health are rising in the backward group and underdeveloped group. 19% of the adult population of the country is suffering from mental health issues, which have an impact on community health(Nepali et al. 2018).

In the population therefore the need for positive mental development is needed, which can help those populations to get better health. Besides this, poverty is another issueidentified in low cast people, whichdirectlyrelates with their daily sufferings and develops lifestyle issues. As per research, It has been found that people living below poverty level suffers from mental health by 40% higher rates than others(Cherry, 2022). The rate of hate crimes is also high against dalits, that describes their sufferings and low mental health status. Therefore, that is found in the present situation poverty and mental health issues are directly linked to those identified as issues in the present study. 

1.6 Rationale

The issue of this research paper is to reduce the adverse effect of society on the Dalits groups by developing positive mental attitudes towards underdeveloped and backward communities in India. The daily suffering of backward communities in India, such as Dalits is mainly associated with the belief system. The social beliefs are responsible for inhuman behaviour and the lack of opportunities provided to certain people in India. It also works as a major barrier to improved mental attitudes and positive changes in their life. On the other hand, as Dalits constitute a larger population of this country; its lack of improvement impacts the overall growth and development of this country. Hence, the development of a positive mental attitude is possible through proper analysis of the caste system of India.Now there are some effective steps are taken by the Governments and NGOs to reduce the issues of description action among the backward and underdeveloped groups.

1.7 Scope of the study

Development of a positive mental health attitude for the socially backward class of India includes analysis of its positive impacts and barriers in the current culture system. Hence, the overall improvement scopes through developing PMA among these classes can be discussed. In addition, the major barriers to developing PMA based on the current caste system are possible. This leads to an analysis of proper overcoming strategies for the situations developed.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

This chapter analyses the various aspect of society that provide a great impact on the underdeveloped and the Dalits groups. In the literature view, the concept and the important factors of the development of positive mental attitudes toward backward communities are analyzed. The specific theoretical frameworks discussed in this chapter help to mitigate these cultural barriers from society. The effective governmental rules and regulations and the strategies of NGOs are also discussed in this chapter to help to reduce the issues of discrimination the cultural barriers toward the backward groups.

2.2 Concept of the development of positive mental attitude towards backward communities

Dalits and the other backward groups have suffered many cultural barriers from the ancient time in Indian Society. According to Waters et al. (2022), there is mainly a four-caste system in the Indian culture where Dalits have not placed any rank. From the historical analyses of the Varna System, which is developed from the "Rig Veda" the backward groups are not allowed in the cultural association in the society. The high discrimination in society among the backward and the underdeveloped groups in the society have changed the mentality so that they feel neglected by society. The Dalits are excluded from social communities, temples, and any gatherings. Even in some rural areas, Dalits are not allowed to walk in the daylight because there is a superstition that the shadow of Dalits is considered the population in the society. In the education system, they are also deprived of all the facilities (Jaisankar, 2019). These cruel and humiliating behaviors from society have provided a great impact on the Dalits group. The cases of rape and murder threats are also addressed by the upper caste to the Dalits groups. The unjust and cruel treatment from society changes the mental situation of these groups of people which increases a great cultural barrier in the society.

Hence, it is important to develop positive mental attitudes (PMA) toward backward communities so that they can change their mentality and come out from all these social barriers. PMA hasgreat significance to improve the condition of the Dalitsgroups. PMA is a philosophy that develops optimistic aspects toward society to reduce the adverse effect of discrimination among the underdeveloped and the backward groups. The Government and various NGOs are also triedto improve the situation by implementing effective’s steps. These steps help enhance the positive mental attitudes toward the Dalits groups so that they are not feel deprived by society (Mohamed et al.2020). The protection from exploitation and the different issues of social injustice has been taken by the implementation of rules in the society that not only help to reduce the issues of discrimination but also reduce the mental depression of these groups of people. As per the view of Kumari and Kapoor (2021), the effectiveness of the improvement of the lifestyle of Dalits and the development of positive mental attitudes toward Indian culture and economic culture are identified.Dalit women are also suffered from verbal abuse, “physical assault,” “sexual harassment,” “domestic violence” and “rape” (Kuš?er and Mihali? 2019). The positive thinking toward the Dalits woman increases their motivation power so that they can join the social association and the educational institute. With the implementation of positive thinking, they can fight against these social cruelties. It is reported that in India 16% of the country's population is represented by Dalits groups (BBC.com, 2022). It is observed that many of the Dalits peoplechange their caste system from Hinduism to another caste to avoid this discrimination. The PMA has played a great role in changing a bit of progress in the equal position of Dalits in Indian society.

2.3 Important factors that help develop “positive mental attitudes” (PMA) towards backward community

This research aims to access the implementation of several factors that helps to develop PMA for the backward people. These factors are essential to enhance the positivity in the mind of Dalits groups that increase the power of self-motivation (Atkinson et al.2020). The development of PMA can be introduced by the approach of “like yourself”. The PMA refers to the mindset that includes optimism, hope, courage and cheerful attitude. Certain attitudes toward accomplishment and goals help to reveal the full potential of a person to achieve their goals in life. Also, this helps to overcome negative situations and promotes the activity of not giving up.It is important to address the potentiality that is innate in the people of Dalits groups of people so that they can feel pride in their activities. It is important to be realistic according to the present situation. It is reported that “13.07% in Dalits community are neglected by the social behaviors for a long time (BBC.com, 2022). Hence, it is important to be realistic and understand the current situation so that they can fight against this social discrimination. In addition, the identified Dalits community are not a homogenous group therefore some sub-castes are identified in the Dalits community. According to the view of Singh (2019), “leather workers, cobblers, street sweepers, agricultural workers, and manual scavengers” are some sub-castes of the Dalits groups of India. Therefore those are identified as heterogeneous groups as those divisions are developed based on the caste systems of India. The implementation of effective steps by the Government and the NGOs has played a significant role to enhance the development of positive mental attitudes" (PMA) towards the backward community.

The government’s steps are very effective in helping to improve the mentality of the backward classes by implementing essential steps. The positive mental attitudes not only change the mental behaviors but also improve the health condition of the backwards groups. On the other hand, with the enhancement of the PMA, the backward groups develop their self-motivation, which has a great significance in this society. As per the views of Sinha (2020), the implementation of PMA helps the backward classes improve their hope, optimism, courage, and kindness. Hence the Dalits and the underdeveloped people are able to take opportunitiesin the education system. It is important to build self-confidence that helps to improve their condition in this society. In society, the rate of discrimination is reduced which is important for maintaining the Indian Constitution. The Dalits in the society become hopeless due to the issues of discrimination (Vyshali, 2021). The PMA help to regulate and reduce the discrimination in society so that Dalits can be included in the mainstream of society.

2.4 Concept of establishing a positive mental attitude towards backward classes

A healthy and positive mental attitude is essential towards the backwards community and socially underdeveloped classes. A positive mentality can surely be achieved with the help of certain effective procedures and techniques in terms of “positive imagery” and “positive self-talk”. According to Pandey et al. (2021), the best way of establishing a positive mentality toward Dalits is to concentrate on good or positive things in order to face challenging obstacles and critical situations. Proper motivation and inspiration are essential for socially underdeveloped classes by producing scope and opportunities to become more independent both socially and economically. Practising appreciation and gratitude is one of the most effective processes of building a positive mentality for the backward classes for reducing stress, fostering resilience and improving self-esteem. Similarly, Li and Bates (2019) state that the negative dimensions and areas need to be identified properly by practising “positive talk” for influencing the abilities of regulating thoughts, behaviour and feelings. Their behavioural patterns, passions and interests need to be shared with each other to avoid any type of misconceptions related to backward communities.

The concerns of the socially backward classes are addressed properly with great concern by encouraging and ensuring them based on their sensitive values (Maurya, 2018). Individual well-being is addressed in a sensitive way by assessing the major risk factors in order to maintain good and sustainable communication amongst each other. As opined by Vyas and Panda (2019), effective obligations and policies are clearly set out for achieving the requirement of backward classes for reducing any kind of misunderstanding. A significant “Code of Conduct” is being established for creating a positive association with the backward community based on their missions, principles and values.

The concept of establishing a positive mental attitude towards the underdeveloped and the Dalits groups has focused on some specific factors, such as providing scopes for education and opportunities for employment, increased availability of social opportunities and improved conditions. Promotion and awareness regarding equal behavior can be effective for this case. The overall improvement of social attitudes against these procedures is mandatory in this case.According to Raj (2022), the establishment of the PMA is one of the most essential aspects that can be implemented by focusing on the good things. A specific objective has to be found and that is specified for the backward communities so that they can focus on the positive objectives of the society.

The “Practice gratitude” is another objective that also helps the Dalits group to improve the PMA in the city. Hence, it is important to educate the backward communities so that they can understand their level of gratitude which is essential for the improvement of the Dalits groups. As stated by Data (2021), spending time with positive people is one of the most essential factors that help the backward people to bring them out from the inner corner of the society. Positive vibes are generated from a positive person who always helps to improve self-confidence and increase self-motivation. The mental changes also reduce the depression level of the Dalits people so that they can become more able to improve their position.

2.5 The caste system and itsimpact on Dalits

The caste system is essential for the backwards classes and socially underdeveloped communities as it demonstrates a specific hierarchy on social roles by inheriting the main characteristics for remaining stable throughout life. As per the views of Selvin (2018), the caste system has a great impact on Dalits as they have to face certain challenging situations in their daily life by creating social discrimination. The caste system of India is divided into several social classes, including “Brahmins,“Kshatriyas”, “Vaisyas” and “Sudras”. Dalits faced “systematic social exclusion” for many years, and the entire system influenced the “constitutional protection” for stopping caste discrimination among each other in society. As opined by Joseph (2018), people belonging to the socially underdeveloped community in India faced a threatening situation in their life along with violent activities influencing the negative aspects of the community. Dalits are regarded as the major victims of “isolation”, “untouchability”, “deprivation”, “atrocities”, “discrimination”, “social stigmas” and trap related to poverty.

Dalits are not allowed to drink water from the same well as well as they are not permitted to enter the temples where upper-class people visit. “National Crime Records Bureau” investigated that nearly 214 million cases have increased over the last five years against Dalits and this has been rising day by day (Ncrb.gov.in, 2022). It has been noticed that Dalits face around 140 types of discrimination based on their changing patterns and dominant type of caste system in the community. The determination of specific social status is very much beneficial for Dalits in order to acquire a fixed status in society. As stated by Chrispal et al. (2021), the caste system becomes an essential factor for backwards classes and socially underdeveloped communities in delivering social security to every individual. Caste plays a principal role in socialism by teaching and encouraging every individual about the concept of culture, values, tradition and norms of the community.

The individual behavioural attitude can surely be guided based on their patterns by providing a significant “cultural security” for promoting positive interactions among them. According to Sharma (2021), knowledge, behaviour, beliefs, faiths, and customs are surely being socially transmitted in order to share their interests and passions with other people in the community. The caste system is able to sustain the racial purity in order to forbid indiscrimination related to inter-marriages. Similarly, Fatima (2021) states castes often act as an integrator in the community by avoiding any factions and class frictions for promoting “functional democracy”. Therefore, the caste system can positively bring a great social change for Dalits to influence society by avoiding discrimination.

The six basic principles are identified with the implementation of a code of conduct in the caste system. The hierarchy of groups, the division of society, “restriction of feeding and social intercourse”, “religious disabilities, and the lack of unrestricted in the choice of occupation, “restriction on marriage” is described in the “code of conduct practice” (Shaikh et al. 2018). These features are implemented towards every person in the society. In the case of Dalits association, all these restrictions are also established into their caste system so that they can develop a cultural association in their society. It is observed that Dalits are very religious and they are “God-fearing people.” On the other hand, they possess a combination of social and cultural identities. The important factors of the PMA help to improve their cultural association that enhances their mental condition as well (Agawam and Levien, 2020). Hence, overall improvement of thinking ability and capacity can be developed through PMA, that on other hand impact their achievements and decreases lifestyle sufferings.

Hence, due to the unequal distribution of the social restriction huge discrimination is observed creating a huge gap in society. It is also addressed that the higher caste in the Indian society suppressed and repressed the lowers groups so that the lower groups feelill-treated in the society. The Indian caste system creates a huge gap in the social association and the cultural beliefs that disturbs the mental stability of the Dalits people (Sony, 2018). It is necessary for the caste system to enhancequality in every aspect in society to reduce the challenges and issues of discrimination faced by backward groups in society. It is also important to improve the education system so that the higher groups of people can learn positive attitudes and helps the Dalits groups of people to come out into the mainstream of society (Mangum and Block, 2018). The Indian constitution believes in equal right. Hence, it is important to maintain the principles of the Indian constitution so that a positive society can be developed.

2.6 Collaboration between education and backward classes

The education system of Dalits is mainly divided into three mainareas:“Mediaeval education”, “British era” and the present education system. As opined by Serneels and Dercon (2021), the education system nourishes by expanding learning and culture in improving the human condition in terms of living better life, knowledge and social equity. Collaboration and education are very much interconnected with each other for establishing a high level of thinking, “self-management”, “oral communication” and “leadership skills”. As opined by Pyakurel (2021), during the medieval education period, Dalits were treated like animals, as they were not allowed to become educated and independent due to their caste system. During the British Era,the inhuman practices against Dalits. In the post-independence era, the overall improvement of dalits in this country has been initiated by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar that initialised access the educational facility for Dalits, and the same opportunity for other aspects of life.

Education is vital for the backwards classes, including Dalits, for maintaining power, economic domination” and influence. The government in current situation takes major steps for uplifting Dalit students along with the target of growing “government schooling” and “free education” positively directs to “good governance”. Nambissan (2020) states that nearly 30% of Dalit students are educated, possessing basic elementary writing and reading skills and get in adequate primary education in society. The caste disability removal act abolished all types of Indian laws, which became a challenging condition for Dalits by permitting them to enter educational school. According to Khanal and Prasad (2022), it has been noticed that Government implemented the “District Primary Education Program (DPEP)” for increasing the primary enrolment to perform better for the backwards classes.

2.7 Activities taken by NGOs and Government

The Government of India takes several important initiatives and active steps for the backwards communities in the society in order to live a better and healthy life without any complications. As opined by Ambedkar and Gandhi (2019), Dr B.R. Ambedkar, who was a chairman of the Drafting Committee, generated “separate electoral” and reservation categories for the backward class in the year 1920. He really designed a special room for Dalit education and created labour laws based on untouchability and “equal law of wages”. A “social movement” is being implemented for restoring “caste-less Indian society” and annihilating the caste system. As stated by Malik (2021), “Article 14: Equality before the law” is very much applicable for providing equal protection of laws within the Indian Territory. Similarly, “Article 15: No discrimination” is being implemented by the government in order to prohibit discrimination based on “caste”, “race”, “religion” and “place of birth”.

“Article17: Abolition of Untouchability” is being adopted by the government which became a changing determination for backward communities where untouchability is totally abolished along with its practices. On the other hand, Ambedkar and Gandhi (2019) state “Article 25 Profess any religion” provides freedom of “free profession”, “conscience”, practices and “propagating religion” allowing Dalits to select other religions other than “manuscript dharma” and Hinduism. It has been observed that “Article 46b promotion” is being implicated to promote the economical interest and education of the weaker population group, especially for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) (Malik, 2021). Several schemes are also being developed and established by the government for enhancing the livelihood of socially underdeveloped communities by delivering security to lead a standard quality of life.

“Integrated Rural Development Programme” in 1978 is beneficial for providing employment scope and opportunities to the poor by establishing their skill sets properly. According to Fatima (2020), “Jawaharlal RozgarYojana” was launched by the government to eradicate poverty to uplift poor individuals by delivering economic and social justice. “National Rural Employment Programme” is being implicated in providing 100 days of guaranteed type of “unemployment wage” to each rural household for the betterment of society (Indumathi et al. 2022). Similarly, the “Dr Ambedkar Foundation” is being adopted for providing a certain amount of incentives for executing 500 inter caste marriages in one year by producing 50% of the amount to the couples.

2.8 Theoretical framework

The research questions and objectives in a study is based on overall analysis and understanding of issues related to a study. In this case, the life aspects for backward and underdeveloped community areconsidered as major barrier for developing a appositive mental attitude. Hence along with discussion of several literature regarding this process,

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