JAC Board Class 7 Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 9 Struggles for Equality
→ The heart of democracy is equality and India is a democratic country. Unfortunately, there is inequality in the society. Only during election, on the polling day all adult citizen of India enjoys the equal rights to vote.
- We have seen in earlier chapters as well that discrimination was always present with person such as Kanta, Swapna, Ansaris, Kavita, Melani and the list is long. For them, some people take initiatives and starts struggles for equality. For this cause, many people extend their support.
- The major reason why so many people’s lives in India are highly unequal are poverty and lack of resources.
- Another significant reason why people are treated unequally in India are discrimination on the basis of person’s caste, sex and religion.
→ Struggles for Equality:
Some of the persons become more widely recognised and well known because they have the support or represent large numbers of people who have united to address a particular issue of inequality.
- In India, there are several struggles in which people have come together to fight for issues that they believe are important.
- We can allude and refer the methods used by the women’s movement to raise issues of equality. Another example of people coming together to fight for an issue is the Tawa Matsya Sangh in Madhya Pradesh.
- There are many such struggles such as those among beedi workers, fisherfolk, agricultural labourers, slum dwellers and each of them is struggling for justice in its own methods.
→ Tawa Matsya Sangh:
- When dams are built or forest areas declared sanctuaries for animals, thousands of people are displaced. Most of these people are poor and forced to go somewhere else.
- In urban areas too, bastis in which poor people live are often uprooted. Their work as well as their children’s schooling is severely hampered and disrupted.
- This displacement of people and communities is a major problem that has become quite widespread in our country. People and activists usually come together to fight for this.
- The Tawa Matsya Sangh is a federation of Fisherworker’s cooperatives which is an organisation fighting for the rights of the displaced forest dwellers of the Satpura forest in Madhya Pradesh.
- The Tawa dam began to be built in 1958 and was completed in 1978. It submerged large areas of forest and agricultural land.
- Some of the displaced people settled around the reservoir and apart from their meagre farms found a livelihood in fishing. They earned nominal amount.
- In 1994, the government gave the rights for fishing in the Tawa reservoir to private contractors. These contractors drove the local people away and got cheap labour from outside.
- The villagers stood united and decided that now it was time to set up an organisation and do something to protect the rights.
- The newly formed Tawa Matsya Sangh (TMS) organised rallies and a chakka jam (road blockade) demanding their right to continue fishing for their livelihood.
- In response to their protests and agitations, the government created a committee to assess the issue. On January 2,1997, people from 33 villages of Tawa started the new year with the first catch.
- With the TMS taking over the charges, the fishworkers were able to increase their earnings substantially because they set up the cooperative which would buy the catch from them at a fair price.
- The TMS has also begun giving the fishworkers loans for repair and the buying of new nets.
- By managing to earn a higher wage as well as preserving the fish in the reservoir, the TMS has shown that when people’s organisations get their rights to livelihood, they can be good managers.
→ The Indian Constitution as a Living Document:
The Indian Constitution recognises the equality of all persons. Movements and struggles for equality in India continuously refer to the Indian Constitution to make their point about equality and justice for all.
- By referring to the Constitution the people use it as a ‘living document’, i.e., something that has real meaning in our lives. In a democracy, there are always communities and individuals trying to expand the idea of democracy and push for a greater recognition of equality on existing as well as new issues.
- The issues substantially affect poor and marginalised communities, and hence, concern economic and social equality in the country.
- This is the basic principal of the struggle for equality in a democracy. The dignity and self-respect of each person and their community can only be realised if they have adequate resources to support and nurture their families and if they are not discriminated against.