India has undergone important social change since it gained independence from Britain in 1947. Some of these changes were in process already but the context changed significantly with the transition to democratic self-government. The colonial regime had been innately conservative and politically authoritarian. After independence the political system became much more democratic and there was an official presumption that the Indian state should encourage social reform. As a result of these reforms and gradual increases in prosperity, India in the early twentieth-first century is a very different place to live in. We focus on changes in the key areas of population growth, caste, class and gender. However, not all changes have been positive, and the changes just mentioned have empowered certain sections of the population more than others.
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