Understanding Marginalisation

Marginalisation is separating a community or group of individuals because they belong to a particular religion or speak different language or follow different cultures. Marginalisation is usually faced by minority groups, racial, religious and cultural groups, individuals living with disabilities, women and elderly individuals. Marginalised groups are deprived of access to political, economic, social and technological resources. Adivasis are marginalised people in India. Adivasis meaning (original dwellers) are the indigenous people of India. They live in the forests and are also called Scheduled tribes.

Some Adivasi groups in India are – Abhor, Abhujmaria, Adivasika, Baiga, Bhils, Chamars, Garhwali, Gujjars and Gonds. Their religious practices are based on ancestral worship, nature spirits, animal spirits and river spirits. There is also influence of other religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Bhakti movement and Vaishnav. The tribals mainly practice shifting agriculture. Some continue cultivating in one place. Others are hunter-gatherers or nomads. The tribal chief is an important person in a tribe. In India, Adivasis are portrayed in stereotypical ways - in colourful costumes, headgear and through their dancing.

Constitution of India provides safeguards to religious and linguistic minorities as part of fundamental rights. The term minority implies communities that are different because of race, religion, language, etc. and are small in relation to the rest of population. The Preamble declares the State to be ‘Secular’. To safeguard the interests of minorities, the setting up of Minorities Commission was envisaged in the Ministry of Home Affairs Resolution on 12.01.1978. The commission was renamed as National Commission of Minorities and the first statutory commission was constituted on 17.05.1993. The government set up Sachar Commission in 2005 to review the socio-economic condition of Muslims.

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