JAC Board Class 8th Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 7 Understanding Marginalisation
→ What Does it Mean to be Socially Marginalised?
- To be marginalised is to be forced to occupy the sides or fringes and thus not be at the centre of things.
- In the social environment too, groups ‘ of people or communities may have the experience of being excluded. Their marginalisation can be because they speak a different language, follow different customs or belong to a different religious group from the majority community.
- They may also feel marginalised because they are poor, considered to be of ‘low’ social status and viewed as being less human than others.
- They experience a sense of disadvantage and powerlessness vis-a-vis more powerful and dominant sections of society who own land, are wealthy, better educated and politically powerful.
- Economic, social, cultural and political factors work together to make certain groups in society feel marginalised.
→ Who are Adivasis?
Adivasis, the term literally means ‘original inhabitants’ are communities who lived and often continue to live in close association with forests.
- Around 8 per cent of India’s population is Adivasi and many of India’s most important mining and industrial centres are located in Adivasi areas – Jamshedpur, Rourkela, Bokaro and Bhilai among others.
- • There are over 500 different Adivasi groups in India.
- Adivasis are particularly numerous in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and in the north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.
- Adivasi societies are also most distinctive because there is often very little hierarchy among them.
- Adivasis practise a range of tribal religions that are different from Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.
- It often involves the worship of ancestors, village and nature spirits, the last associated with and residing in various sites in the landscape – ‘mountain-spirits’, ‘river- spirits’, ‘animal-spirits’, etc.
- Adivasis have always been influenced by different surrounding religions like Shakta, Buddhist, Vaishnav, Bhakti and Christianity.
- Adivasis have their own languages (most of them radically different from and possibly as old as Sanskrit), which have often deeply influenced the formation of ‘mainstream’ Indian languages, like Bengali.
- Santhali has the largest number of speakers and has a significant body of publications including magazines on the internet or in e-zines.
→ Adivasis and Stereotyping:
- Often Adivasis are blamed for their lack of advancement as they are believed to be resistant to change or new ideas.
- Adivasis are invariably portrayed in very stereotypical ways – in colourful costumes, headgear and through their dancing.
- This often wrongly leads to people believing that they are exotic, primitive and backward.
→ Adivasis and Development:
- Metal ores like iron and copper, and gold and silver, coal and diamonds, invaluable timber, most medicinal herbs and animal products (wax, lac, honey) and animals themselves (elephants, the mainstay of imperial armies), all came from the forests.
- Forests covered the major part of our country till the nineteenth century and the Adivasis had a deep knowledge of, access to, as well as control over most of these vast tracts at least till the middle of the nineteenth century.
- Often empires heavily depended on Adivasis for the crucial access to forest resources.
- In the north-east, their lands remain highly militarised.
- India has 104 national parks covering 40,501 sq km and 543 wildlife sanctuaries covering 1,18,918 sq km. These are areas where tribals originally lived but were evicted from.
- When they continue to stay in these forests, they are termed encroachers.
- Having gradually lost access to their traditional homelands, many Adivasis have migrated to cities in search of work where they are employed for very low wages in local industries or at building or construction sites.
- 45 per cent of tribal groups in rural areas and 35 per cent in urban areas live below the poverty line.
- Many tribal children are malnourished. Literacy rates among tribals are also very low.
- Destruction in one sphere naturally impacts the other. Often this process of dispossession and displacement can be painful and violent.
→ Minorities and Marginalisation
- The term minority is most commonly used to refer to communities that are numerically small in relation to the rest of the population.
- It encompasses issues of power, access to resources and has social and cultural dimensions.
- Safeguards are needed to protect minority communities against the possibility of being culturally dominated by the majority. They also protect them against any discrimination and disadvantage that they may face.
- The Constitution provides these safeguards because it is committed to protecting India’s
cultural diversity and promoting equality as well as justice.
→ Muslims and Marginalisation
- Recognising that Muslims in India were lagging behind in terms of various development indicators, the government set up a high-level committee in 2005.
- Chaired by Justice Rajindar Sachar, the committee examined the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in India. The report discusses in detail the marginalisation of this community.
- The social marginalisation of Muslims in some instances have led to them migrating from places where they have lived, often leading to the ghettoisation of the community. Sometimes, this prejudice leads to hatred and violence.
- The experiences of all the groups point to the fact that marginalisation is a complex phenomenon requiring a variety of strategies, measures and safeguards to redress this situation.
- Marginalisation is linked to experiencing disadvantage, prejudice and powerlessness.
- Marginalisation results in having a low social status and not having equal access to education and other resources.
- Marginalised communities want to maintain their cultural distinctiveness while having access to rights, development and other opportunities.