Page No 92:
Write in your own words two or more sentences of what you understand by the word ‘marginalisation’.
“Marginalisation” comes from the word “margin” meaning at the outskirts or periphery. When applied to a specific community or tribe, it implies that a particular class, caste or tribe is excluded from mainstream society. This can be due to various reasons like, they speak a different language from the majority, belong to a “low” social status; marginalized groups are often treated with not just ignorance but fear and hostility as well. This leads to lack of access to resources and opportunities for them and also a violation of their rights.
List two reasons why Adivasis are becoming increasingly marginalized.
Adivasis are becoming increasingly marginalized because firstly, they follow a different culture, language and traditions from mainstream Indian society which leads us to wrongfully classify them as exotic, primitive and backward. Secondly, they are used to a way of life close to nature and with the cutting down of forests they are being forced to migrate to urban areas where they feel out of place and not in sync with a lifestyle so vastly different from their countryside background.
Write one reason why you think the constitution’s safeguards to protect minority communities are very important?
The Constitution’s safeguards to protect minority communities are very important because they ensure that India’s cultural diversity is protected from becoming largely unitary and they also help to promote equality and justice to all.
Re-read the section on Minorities and marginalization. What do you understand by the term minority?
The term minority is used for defining communities that are smaller in number in relation to the rest of the population. It includes issues of power, access to resources and also bears cultural and social dimensions.
You are participating in a debate where you have to provide reasons to support the following statement: ‘Muslims are a marginalized community’. Using the data provided in this chapter, list two reasons that you would give.
Two reasons in support of the statement “Muslims are a marginalized community”: firstly, the Muslim community has not been able to gain from the country’s socio-economic development as statistics on basic amenities, literacy rate and public employment show. 63.6% Muslims live in kutcha houses as compared to only 55.2% Hindus; the literacy rate amongst Muslims was the lowest at 59% in a 2001 survey. Secondly, their customs are distinct from other religious communities, so much so that they are identified as separate from the “rest of us” leading to unfair treatment and discrimination against Muslims.
Imagine that you are watching the Republic Day parade on TV with a friend and she remarks, “Look at these tribals. They look so exotic. And they seem to be dancing all the time”. List three things that you would tell her about the lives of Adivasis in India.
The three things I would tell a friend about the Adivasis in India would be:
(i) The Adivasis controlled vast tracts of forest land till the mid-nineteenth century and very often empires heavily depended on them for access to forest resources.
(ii) The Adivasis have their own languages which have influenced “mainstream” languages like Bengali and Santhali, commonly spoken in urban areas.
(iii) The Adivasi religions too deeply influenced major religions of dominant empires like the Jagannath cult of Orissa, Shakti and Tantric traditions in Bengal and Assam.
In the storyboard you read about how Helen hopes to make a movie on the Adivasi story. Can you help her by developing a short story on adivasis?
Attempt this question on your own.
Would you agree with the statement that economic marginalisation and social marginalisation are interlinked? Why?
Yes, economic marginalization and social marginalization are inter-linked. Marginalisation implies having a low social status and a consequent lack of access to education and other resources. Social marginalization, as seen in the case of the Muslim community, is based on how their traditions, culture and dressing make us identify Muslims as different from us. This sometimes leads to unfair inequity on the basis of religious differences. As a result, minority groups may find it difficult to rent houses, procure jobs or even send their children to schools. This is economic marginalization. Thus, the two are inter-connected.