Chapter- 7 Understanding Marginalisation
- Marginalization is when groups of people or communities are being excluded from the majority because of their language, customs or religion.
- The people who lived in close association with forests are known as Adivasi. Around 8% of India’s population is Adivasi. The religious practices and the languages of Adivasis is totally different from the majority.
- Due to deforestation activities for different purposes, Adivasis are forced to migrate to cities. The communities which are numerically small in relation to the rest of population are known as Minorities.
- The Constitution of India provides safeguards to protect minority communities.
- In India, Muslims are considered as one of the minority community. They are 13.4% (According to 2001) of total population. But according to 2011 census the Muslims constituted 14.23% of total population.
- Marginalisation is a complex phenomenon which requires a variety of strategies, measures and safeguards to redress the situation to protect the diversity.
- Marginalisation refers to a situation in which an individual or a group of individuals is deprived of certain privileges or treated as different from others.
- Marginalisation is experienced in every sphere of life. Economic, social, cultural and political factors work together to make certain groups in society feel marginalised.
- The term Adivasi means the original inhabitants. Adivasis have always been in close connection with forests. They are also known as Scheduled Tribes. About 8% of India’s population is Adivasi.
- There are over 500 different Adivasi groups in India. Adivasi dominated states are Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and the north-eastern states.
- Adivasis worship their ancestors, village and nature spirits. They have always been influenced by different surrounding religious such as Shakta, Buddhist, Vaishnav, Christianity etc.
- Adivasis have their own languages, Santhali is one of them. Adivasis are usually portrayed in colourful costumes and headgear. Their dances are also unique.
- It is the general belief of the people that Adivasis are exotic, primitive and backward. But it is not so in reality. Forests played a very significant role in the life of the Adivasis.
- Adivasis had deep knowledge of forests. History is witness that big empires heavily depended on Adivasis for the crucial access to forest resources.
- But today they are considered marginalised communities. The pre colonial Adivasis were basically hunter-gatherers and nomads. They practised shifting cultivation. Some Adivasis also cultivated in one place.
- Slowly and steadily they began to migrate because of economic changes, forest policies, • etc. Thus, they lost their access to forests.
- The forest land that once belonged to Adivasis, were cleared for different purposes such as agriculture and industry.
- According to official figures, more than 50% of persons displaced due to mines and mining projects are tribals.
- Another recent data shows that 79% of the persons displaced from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand tribals.
- With the loss of access to forests Adivasis lost their means of livelihood. As a result, they migrated to cities in search of work. In the cities, they lead a very miserable life. Their children are malnourished. They have no access to education. 45% of tribal groups in rural areas and 35% in urban areas live below the poverty line.
- The term minority refers to the communities that are numerically small in relation to the rest of the population.
- People belonging to majority group may suppress or overpower minority communities. This may lead to their marginalisation. Hence, it is necessary to protect their interest. Our Constitution provides safeguards to them.
The Muslim community is also socially Marginalised
- Muslims are 13.4 % of India’s population. They have over the years been deprived of the benefits of socio-economic development. They have little access to education. They are deprived of basic amenities like water, electricity. In public employment too they always lag behind to other communities.
- The government is very active to improve the condition of the Muslim community. It set-up a high-level committee in 2005 to examine the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim Community in India.
- The report discusses in detail the marginalisation of this community. It suggests that on a range of social, economic and educational indicators the situation of the Muslim community is comparable to total of other marginalised communities like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- Muslim customs and practices such as wearing burqa and fez make them different from others. Because of this, they tend to be identified differently and some people think that they are not like the ‘rest of us’. This often becomes an excuse to treat them unfairly.
- This social marginalisation of Muslims has led to them migrating from places where they have lived. In our country, there are several marginalised communities like Dalits.
- It is quite essential to bring these communities in the mainstream so that they may avail access to rights, development and other opportunities.
Marginalisation: The term refers to the situation in which an individual or a group of individuals is deprived of certain privileges or treated as different from others.
Adivasi: It literally means ‘original inhabitants’.
Hierarchy: A graded system or arrangement of persons or things. These who find themselves avail the least power.
Mainstream: People or communities that are considered to be at the centre of a society.
Displaced: People who are forced to move from their homes for some reasons such as construction of dams, etc.
Militarised: An area where the presence of the armed forces is considerable.
Malnourished: One who does not get adequate food.
Ghettoization: Ghettoisation is a process in which an area or locality is populated largely by.members of a particular community.