Indian social structure is far more complex as compared to the western world. It has race, religion, caste, and class playing together. Apart from this ethnicity also play a major role in maintaining the social order. There is a constant state of conflict where a group of people thinks that a certain set of people are oppressing the remaining. They keep bringing it in front of the others but others are not always in the situation to understand and accept the same. Religious gurus and Politicians are major followed without giving much thought about the hidden agenda. It leads to oppression. People take their time to understand then react to this.


Italian Marxist Theorist Antonio Gramsci explained this phenomenon with the help of the term Hegemony. It talks about the situation when where people completely believe the ruling the class and things that everything is done for their betterment. In Marxists' terms, the ruling class manages to control the working class without any coercion and oppose. Indirectly, it strengthens the oppressive system and supports its hidden agenda. People put up the blinders and keep walking as directed by the ruling class. The same concept can be observed in the Indian society.

How hegemony spreads

There are various ways to achieve Hegemony. People higher in power structures seem to use social structures for the same. Hindu Higher castes managed to drive the hegemonic state for centuries. Similarly, landlords (Zamindars) also benefited through this for a long duration. It is observed that people are using political power for oppression nowadays. Cultural, Ideological Hegemony are another few forms in the Indian context. Ruling class normalize those thoughts to such an extent that people don't find anything wrong in it. For example, Sati was a widely accepted concept which was widely accepted in India at a certain point in time.

Education is considered one of the ways to break the hegemony. Unfortunately, Education itself is used to spread the hegemony by people in power. Enforced economic conditions are also used for creating the hegemonic state. Social institutions are also used to maintain hegemony. Values, norms, ideas, social expectations drive the people. For example, marriage is the institute which has sustained the oppression of women in India. Domestic violence is prevalent even today and women don't see anything wrong in it.

How hegemony breaks

When hegemony sustain, there is always an alternative line of thoughts in the society. It obviously starts with individuals and reaches to a very small portion of the society. These people start believing, practicing the alternatives and face criticisms or vandalism. There is evidence in the past which says that such people lost their lives as well. Slowly, these alternative thoughts spread to people which develops alternative social consciousness. It breaks the hegemony. But one should be aware that it doesn't mean that people will be out of hegemony forever. It will lead to the next wave of hegemony and which will again need the efforts to break.


In conclusion, it is difficult to imagine a society free of the hegemony. Therefore, it becomes essential to create a mechanism which will allow people to come out of the hegemony without much of the oppression. I think for the same reason, alternative thoughts should be encouraged, respected and thought about. Indian constitution has given importance to opposition for the same reason. Citizens of India should realize that a monopoly in politics is not advisable. It will certainly lead to an oppressive hegemonic state.