"Marginalization" redirects here. For the concept in probability, see Marginal distribution.
Social exclusion, or social marginalization, is the social disadvantage and relegation to the fringe of society. It is a term used widely in Europe and was first used in France. It is used across disciplines including education, sociology, psychology, politics and economics.
Social exclusion is the process in which individuals or people are systematically blocked from (or denied full access to) various rights, opportunities and resources that are normally available to members of a different group, and which are fundamental to social integration and observance of human rights within that particular group (e.g., housing, employment, healthcare, civic engagement, democratic participation, and due process).
Alienation or disenfranchisement resulting from social exclusion can be connected to a person's social class, race, skin color, religious affiliation, ethnic origin, educational status, childhood relationships,living standards, or appearance. Such exclusionary forms of discrimination may also apply to people with a disability, minorities, LGBTQ+ people, drug users, institutional care leavers,the elderly and the young. Anyone who appears to deviate in any way from perceived norms of a population may thereby become subject to coarse or subtle forms of social exclusion.
The outcome of social exclusion is that affected individuals or communities are prevented from participating fully in the economic, social, and political life of the society in which they live. This may result to a resistance in form of demonstrations, protests, or lobbying from the excluded people.
Most of the characteristics listed in this article are present together in studies of social exclusion, due to exclusion's multidimensionality .
Another way of articulating the definition of social exclusion is as follows:
Social exclusion is a multidimensional process of progressive social rupture, detaching groups and individuals from social relations and institutions and preventing them from full participation in the normal, normatively prescribed activities of the society in which they live.
In an alternative conceptualization, social exclusion theoretically emerges at the individual or group level on four correlated dimensions: insufficient access to social rights, material deprivation, limited social participation and a lack of normative integration. It is then regarded as the combined result of personal risk factors (age, gender, race); macro-societal changes (demographic, economic and labor market developments, technological innovation, the evolution of social norms); government legislation and social policy; and the actual behavior of businesses, administrative organisations and fellow citizens.
"The marginal man...is one whom fate has condemned to live in two societies and in two, not merely different but antagonistic cultures....his mind is the crucible in which two different and refractory cultures may be said to melt and, either wholly or in part, fuse."
Social exclusion at the individual level results in an individual's exclusion from meaningful participation in society. An example is the exclusion of single mothers from the welfare system prior to welfare reforms of the 1900s. The modern welfare system is based on the concept of entitlement to the basic means of being a productive member of society both as an organic function of society and as compensation for the socially useful labor provided. A single mother's contribution to society is not based on formal employment, but on the notion that provision of welfare for children is a necessary social expense. In some career contexts, caring work is devalued and motherhood is seen as a barrier to employment. Single mothers were previously marginalized in spite of their significant role in the socializing of children due to views that an individual can only contribute meaningfully to society through "gainful" employment as well as a cultural bias against unwed mothers. Today the marginalization is primarily a function of class condition.
More broadly, many women face social exclusion. Moosa-Mitha discusses the Western feminist movement as a direct reaction to the marginalization of white women in society. Women were excluded from the labor force and their work in the home was not valued. Feminists argued that men and women should equally participate in the labor force, in the public and private sector, and in the home. They also focused on labor laws to increase access to employment as well as to recognize child-rearing as a valuable form of labor. In some places today, women are still marginalized from executive positions and continue to earn less than men in upper management positions.
Another example of individual marginalization is the exclusion of individuals with disabilities from the labor force. Grandz discusses an employer's viewpoint about hiring individuals living with disabilities as jeopardizing productivity, increasing the rate of absenteeism, and creating more accidents in the workplace. Cantor also discusses employer concern about the excessively high cost of accommodating people with disabilities. The marginalization of individuals with disabilities is prevalent today, despite the legislation intended to prevent it in most western countries, and the academic achievements, skills and training of many disabled people.
There are also exclusions of lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) and other intersexual people because of their sexual orientations and gender identities. The Yogyakarta Principles require that the states and communities abolish any stereotypes about LGBT people as well as stereotyped gender roles.
"Isolation is common to almost every vocational, religious or cultural group of a large city. Each develops its own sentiments, attitudes, codes, even its own words, which are at best only partially intelligible to others."
Many communities experience social exclusion, such as racial (e.g., black) (e.g., Untouchables or Low Castes or Dalits in Indian Caste System ) and economic (e.g., Romani) communities.
One example is the Aboriginal community in Australia. Marginalization of Aboriginal communities is a product of colonization. As a result of colonialism, Aboriginal communities lost their land, were forced into destitute areas, lost their sources of livelihood, and were excluded from the labor market. Additionally, Aboriginal communities lost their culture and values through forced assimilation and lost their rights in society. Today various Aboriginal communities continue to be marginalized from society due to the development of practices, policies and programs that "met the needs of white people and not the needs of the marginalized groups themselves". Yee also connects marginalization to minority communities, when describing the concept of whiteness as maintaining and enforcing dominant norms and discourse.Poor people living in run-down council estates and areas with high crime can be locked into social deprivation.
Social exclusion has many contributors. Major contributors include race, income, employment status, social class, geographic location, personal habits and appearance, education, religion and political affiliation.
Global and structural
Globalization (global-capitalism), immigration, social welfare and policy are broader social structures that have the potential to contribute negatively to one's access to resources and services, resulting in the social exclusion of individuals and groups. Similarly, increasing use of information technology and company outsourcing have contributed to job insecurity and a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Alphonse, George & Moffat (2007) discuss how globalization sets forth a decrease in the role of the state with an increase in support from various "corporate sectors resulting in gross inequalities, injustices and marginalization of various vulnerable groups" (p. 1). Companies are outsourcing, jobs are lost, the cost of living continues to rise, and land is being expropriated by large companies. Material goods are made in large abundances and sold at cheaper costs, while in India for example, the poverty line is lowered in order to mask the number of individuals who are actually living in poverty as a result of globalization. Globalization and structural forces aggravate poverty and continue to push individuals to the margins of society, while governments and large corporations do not address the issues (George, P, SK8101, lecture, October 9, 2007).
Certain language and the meaning attached to language can cause universalizing discourses that are influenced by the Western world, which is what Sewpaul (2006) describes as the "potential to dilute or even annihilate local cultures and traditions and to deny context specific realities" (p. 421). What Sewpaul (2006) is implying is that the effect of dominant global discourses can cause individual and cultural displacement, as well as an experience of "de-localization", as individual notions of security and safety are jeopardized (p. 422). Insecurity and fear of an unknown future and instability can result in displacement, exclusion, and forced assimilation into the dominant group. For many, it further pushes them to the margins of society or enlists new members to the outskirts because of global-capitalism and dominant discourses (Sewpaul, 2006).
With the prevailing notion of globalization, we now see the rise of immigration as the world gets smaller and smaller with millions of individuals relocating each year. This is not without hardship and struggle of what a newcomer thought was going to be a new life with new opportunities. Ferguson, Lavalette, & Whitmore (2005) discuss how immigration has had a strong link to access of welfare support programs. Newcomers are constantly bombarded with the inability to access a country's resources because they are seen as "undeserving foreigners" (p. 132). With this comes a denial of access to public housing, health care benefits, employment support services, and social security benefits (Ferguson et al., 2005). Newcomers are seen as undeserving, or that they must prove their entitlement in order to gain access to basic support necessities. It is clear that individuals are exploited and marginalized within the country they have emigrated (Ferguson et al., 2005).
Welfare states and social policies can also exclude individuals from basic necessities and support programs. Welfare payments were proposed to assist individuals in accessing a small amount of material wealth (Young, 2000). Young (2000) further discusses how "the provision of the welfare itself produces new injustice by depriving those dependent on it of rights and freedoms that others have…marginalization is unjust because it blocks the opportunity to exercise capacities in socially defined and recognized way" (p. 41). There is the notion that by providing a minimal amount of welfare support, an individual will be free from marginalization. In fact, welfare support programs further lead to injustices by restricting certain behaviour, as well the individual is mandated to other agencies. The individual is forced into a new system of rules while facing social stigma and stereotypes from the dominant group in society, further marginalizing and excluding individuals (Young, 2000). Thus, social policy and welfare provisions reflect the dominant notions in society by constructing and reinforcing categories of people and their needs. It ignores the unique-subjective human essence, further continuing the cycle of dominance (Wilson & Beresford, 2000).
See also: Blacklisting and Involuntary unemployment
Whilst recognising the multi-dimensionality of exclusion, policy work undertaken at European Union level focuses on unemployment as a key cause of, or at least correlating with, social exclusion. This is because in modern societies, paid work is not only the principal source of income with which to buy services, but is also the fount of individuals' identity and feeling of self-worth. Most people's social networks and sense of embeddedness in society also revolve around their work. Many of the indicators of extreme social exclusion, such as poverty and homelessness, depend on monetary income which is normally derived from work. Social exclusion can be a possible result of long-term unemployment, especially in countries with weak welfare safety nets. Much policy to reduce exclusion thus focuses on the labour market:
- On the one hand, to make individuals at risk of exclusion more attractive to employers, i.e. more "employable".
- On the other hand, to encourage (and/or oblige) employers to be more inclusive in their employment policies.
The EU's EQUAL Community Initiative investigated ways to increase the inclusiveness of the labour market. Work on social exclusion more broadly is carried out through the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) among the Member State governments.
See also: Shunning § in religion
Some religious traditions recommend excommunication of individuals said to deviate from a religious teaching, and in some instances shunning by family members. Some religious organisations permit the censure of critics.
Across societies, individuals and communities can be socially excluded on the basis of their religious beliefs. Social hostility against religious minorities and communal violence occur in areas where governments do not have policies restricting the religious practise of minorities. A study by the Pew Research Center on international religious freedom found that 61% of countries have social hostilities that tend to target religious minorities. The five highest social hostility scores were for Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Bangladesh. In 2015, Pew published that social hostilities declined in 2013, but Harassment of Jews increased.
Links between exclusion and other issues
The problem of social exclusion is usually tied to that of equal opportunity, as some people are more subject to such exclusion than others. Marginalisation of certain groups is a problem even in many economically more developed countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, where the majority of the population enjoys considerable economic and social opportunities.
In the last few years, there has been research focused on possible connections between exclusion and brain function. Studies published by the University of Georgia and San Diego State University found that exclusion can lead to diminished brain functioning and poor decision making. Such studies corroborate with earlier beliefs of sociologists. The effect of exclusion may likely correlate with such things as substance abuse and crime.
Social inclusion, the converse of social exclusion, is affirmative action to change the circumstances and habits that lead to (or have led to) social exclusion. The World Bank defines social inclusion as the process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society.
Social Inclusion ministers have been appointed, and special units established, in a number of jurisdiction around the world. The first Minister for Social Inclusion was Premier of South Australia Mike Rann, who took the portfolio in 2004. Based on the UK's Social Exclusion Unit, established by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997, Rann established the Social Inclusion Initiative in 2002. It was headed by Monsignor David Cappo and was serviced by a unit within the department of Premier and Cabinet. Cappo sat on the Executive Committee of the South Australian Cabinet and was later appointed Social Inclusion Commissioner with wide powers to address social disadvantage. Cappo was allowed to roam across agencies given that most social disadvantage has multiple causes necessitating a "joined up" rather than a single agency response. The Initiative drove a big investment by the South Australian Government in strategies to combat homelessness, including establishing Common Ground, building high quality inner city apartments for "rough sleeping" homeless people, the Street to Home initiative and the ICAN flexible learning program designed to improve school retention rates. It also included major funding to revamp mental health services following Cappo's "Stepping Up" report, which focused on the need for community and intermediate levels of care and an overhaul of disability services. In 2007 Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed Julia Gillard as the nation's first Social Inclusion Minister.
In gay men, results of psycho-emotional damage from marginalization from both heterosexual society and from within mainstream homosexual society include bug chasing (purposeful acts to acquire HIV),suicide, and drug addiction.
Scientists have been studying the impact of racism on health. Amani Nuru-Jeter, a social epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley and other doctors have been hypothesizing that exposure to chronic stress may be one way racism contributes to health disparities between racial groups.Arline Geronimus, a research professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and a professor at the School of Public Health, and her colleagues found that psychosocial associated with living in extreme poverty can cause early onset of age-related diseases. The 2015 study titled, "Race-Ethnicity, Poverty, Urban Stressors, and Telomere Length in a Detroit Community-based Sample" was conducted in order to determine the impact of living conditions on health and was performed by a multi-university team of social scientists, cellular biologists and community partners, including the Healthy Environments Partnership (HEP) to measured the telomere length of poor and moderate-income people of White, African-American and Mexican race.
The marginal, the processes of marginalisation, etc. bring specific interest in postmodern and postcolonial philosophy and social studies. Postmodernism question the "center" about its authenticity and postmodern sociology and cultural studies research marginal cultures, behaviours, societies, the situation of the marginalized individual, etc.
Implications for social work practice
Upon defining and describing marginalization as well as the various levels in which it exists, one must now explore its implications for social work practice. Mullaly (2007) describes how "the personal is political" and the need for recognizing that social problems are indeed connected with larger structures in society, causing various forms of oppression amongst individuals resulting in marginalization (p. 262). It is also important for the social worker to recognize the intersecting nature of oppression. A non-judgmental and unbiased attitude is necessary on the part of the social worker. The worker must begin to understand oppression and marginalization as a systemic problem, not the fault of the individual (Mullaly, 2007).
Working under an Anti-oppression perspective would then allow the social worker to understand the lived, subjective experiences of the individual, as well as their cultural, historical and social background. The worker should recognize the individual as political in the process of becoming a valuable member of society and the structural factors that contribute to oppression and marginalization (Mullaly, 2007). Social workers must take a firm stance on naming and labeling global forces that impact individuals and communities who are then left with no support, leading to marginalization or further marginalization from the society they once knew (George, P, SK8101, lecture, October 9, 2007).
The social worker should be constantly reflexive, work to raise the consciousness, empower, and understand the lived subjective realities of individuals living in a fast-paced world, where fear and insecurity constantly subjugate the individual from the collective whole, perpetuating the dominant forces, while silencing the oppressed (Sakamoto and Pitner, 2005).
Some individuals and groups who are not professional social workers build relationships with marginalized persons by providing relational care and support, for example, through homeless ministry. These relationships validate the individuals who are marginalized and provide them a meaningful contact with the mainstream.
There are countries, Italy for example, that have a legal concept of social exclusion. In Italy, "esclusione sociale" is defined as poverty combined with social alienation, by the statute n. 328 (11-8-2000), that instituted a state investigation commission named "Commissione di indagine sull'Esclusione Sociale" (CIES) to make an annual report to the government on legally expected issues of social exclusion.
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, a document on international human rights instruments affirms that "extreme poverty and social exclusion constitute a violation of human dignity and that urgent steps are necessary to achieve better knowledge of extreme poverty and its causes, including those related to the program of development, in order to promote the human rights of the poorest, and to put an end to extreme poverty and social exclusion and promote the enjoyment of the fruits of social progress. It is essential for States to foster participation by the poorest people in the decision making process by the community in which they live, the promotion of human rights and efforts to combat extreme poverty."
"Social exclusion is about the inability of our society to keep all groups and individuals within reach of what we expect as a society...[or] to realise their full potential."
"Whatever the content and criteria of social membership, socially excluded groups and individuals lack capacity or access to social opportunity.
To be "excluded from society" can take various relative senses, but social exclusion is usually defined as more than a simple economic phenomenon: it also has consequences on the social, symbolic field.
"Women of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Caribbean descent [in Britain] are doing well in schools but are still being penalised in the workplace...80-89% of 16-year-olds from those ethnic groups wanted to work full-time...but they were up to four times more likely to be jobless."
PhilosopherAxel Honneth thus speaks of a "struggle for recognition", which he attempts to theorize through Hegel's philosophy. In this sense, to be socially excluded is to be deprived from social recognition and social value. In the sphere of politics, social recognition is obtained by full citizenship; in the economic sphere (in capitalism) it means being paid enough to be able to participate fully in the life of the community.
This concept can be gleaned from considering examples of the "social integration crisis: poverty, professional exclusion or marginalization, social and civic disenfranchisement, absence or weakening of support networks, frequent inter-cultural conflicts", These relate not only to gender, race and disability, but also to crime:
"Social exclusion is a major cause of crime and re-offending. Removing the right to vote increases social exclusion by signalling to serving prisoners that, at least for the duration of their sentence, they are dead to society. The additional punishment of disenfranchisement is not a deterrent. There is no evidence to suggest that criminals are deterred from offending behaviour by the threat of losing the right to vote.....(and) the notion of civic death for sentenced prisoners isolates still further those who are already on the margins of society and encourages them to be seen as alien to the communities to which they will return on release".
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– Devesh Saksena, Faculty of Law, University of Allahabad
“Editor’s Note: The author starts by explaining the definition and meaning of the word marginalization, what causes it and what constitutes it, as part of the introduction. He then goes on to explain certain sections of the society that have faced marginalization and discrimination. A detailed substantiation of the same has been made using graphs and other statistical figures. Immediately after, the author switches to explaining about the Garo tribe in North East India and provides the historical background, present status and study area profile of the same. Elaborating upon the educational and socio-cultural status of the tribe, he goes over the suggestions and recommendations made by certain NGOs in India to reduce the marginalization being faced by this tribe. In furtherance of the recommendations, a conclusion is drawn by him mentioning ways to improve and execute the programs intended to protect this tribe.”
Marginality is an experience that affects millions of people throughout the world. People who are marginalized have relatively little control over their lives, and the resources available to them. This results in making them handicapped in delving contribution to society. A vicious circle is set up whereby their lack of positive and supportive relationships means that they are prevented from participating in local life, which in turn leads to further isolation. This has a tremendous impact on development of human beings, as well as on society at large. As the objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy a productive, healthy, and creative life, it is important to address the issue of marginalization. Development is always broadly conceived in terms of mass participation. Marginalization deprives a large majority of people across the globe from participating in the development. It is a complex problem, and there are many factors that cause marginalization. This complex and serious problem need to be addressed at the policy level. This project deals with the problems associated with the groups suffering from marginalization and the ways to reduce them.
MEANING OF MARGINALIZED GROUPS AND MARGINALIZATION
In general, the term ‘marginalization’ describes the overt actions or tendencies of human societies, where people who they perceive to undesirable or without useful function, are excluded, i.e., marginalized. These people, who are marginalized, from a GROUP or COMMUNITY for their protection and integration and are known as ‘marginalized groups’. This limits their opportunities and means for survival. Peter Leonard defines marginality as, “. . . being outside the mainstream of productive activity and/or social reproductive activity”.
The Encyclopedia of Public Health defines marginalized groups as, ‘To be marginalized is to be placed in the margins, and thus excluded from the privilege and power found at the center”. Latin observes that, “‘Marginality’ is so thoroughly demeaning, for economic well-being, for human dignity, as well as for physical security. Marginal groups can always be identified by members of dominant society, and will face irrevocable discrimination.” These definitions are mentioned in different contexts, and show that marginalization is a slippery and multilayered concept. Marginalization has aspects in sociological, economic, and political debates. Marginalization may manifest itself in forms varying from genocide/ethnic-cleansing and other xenophobic acts/activities at one end of the spectrum, to more basic economic and social hardships at the unitary (individual/family) level.
Of course, the forms of marginalization may vary—generally linked to the level of development of society; culturally, and as (if not more) importantly, with relation to economics. For example, it would generally be true, that there would exist more “marginalized” groups in the Third World”, and developing nations, that in the Developed/First-World nations. Indeed, there can be a distinction made, on the basis of the “choice” that one has within this context—those in the Third World who live under impoverished conditions, through no choice of their own (being far removed from the protectionism that exists for people in the First World,) are often left to die due to hunger, disease, and war. One can also add to this various minorities, as well as women… Within the First World, low-income drug addicts stand out as being the most marginalized. This deliberate or chosen marginalization of people carries with it aspects of a so-called “Social Darwinism”.
To further clarify the meaning and concept let us discuss certain characteristics of marginalized groups:
Usually a minority group has the following characteristics
1) It suffers from discrimination and subordination.
2) They have physical and/or cultural traits that set them apart, and which are disapproved of, by a dominant group.
3) They share a sense of collective identity and common burdens.
4) They have shared social rules about who belongs, and who does not.
5) They have a tendency to marry within the group.
Thus, marginalization is a complex as well as shifting phenomenon linked to social status.
VARIOUS MARGINALIZED GROUPS AND THEIR PROBLEMS
Most vulnerable marginalized groups in almost every society can be summarized as below:
1. Women –
Under different economic conditions, and under the influence of specific historical, cultural, legal and religious factors, marginalization is one of the manifestations of gender inequality. In other words, women may be excluded from certain jobs and occupations, incorporated into certain others, and marginalized in others. In general they are always marginalized relative to men, in every country and culture. Women (or, men) don’t present a homogeneous category where members have common interests, abilities, or practices. Women belonging to lower classes, lower castes, illiterate, and the poorest region have different levels of marginalization than their better off counterparts.
2. People with disabilities –
People with disabilities have had to battle against centuries of biased assumptions, harmful stereotypes, and irrational fears. The stigmatization of disability resulted in the social and economic marginalization of generations with disabilities, and, like many other oppressed minorities, this has left people with disabilities in a severe state of impoverishment for centuries. The proportion of disabled population in India is about 21.9 million. The percentage of disabled population to the total population is about 2.13 per cent. There are interstate and interregional differences in the disabled population. The disabled face various types of barriers while seeking access to health and health services. Among those who are disabled women, children and aged are more vulnerable and need attention.
3. Schedule Castes(Dalits) –
The caste system is a strict hierarchical social system based on underlying notions of purity and pollution. Brahmins are on the top of the hierarchy and Shudras or Dalits constitute the bottom of the hierarchy. The marginalization of Dalits influences all spheres of their life, violating basic human rights such as civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. A major proportion ofthe lower castes and Dalits are still dependent on others for their livelihood. Dalits does not refer to a caste, but suggests a group who are in a state of oppression, social disability and who are helpless and poor. Literacy rates among Dalits are very low. They have meager purchasing power and have poor housing conditions as well as have low access to resources and entitlements. Structural discrimination against these groups takes place in the form of physical, psychological, emotional and cultural abuse which receives legitimacy from the social structure and the social system. Physical segregation of their settlements is common in the villages forcing them to live in the most unhygienic and inhabitable conditions. All these factors affect their health status, access to healthcare and quality of life. There are high rates of malnutrition reported among the marginalized groups resulting in mortality, morbidity and anemia. Access to and utilization of healthcare among the marginalized groups is influenced by their socio-economic
status within the society.
Caste based marginalization is one of the most serious human rights issues in the world today, adversely affecting more than 260 million people mostly reside in India. Caste-based discrimination entails social and economic exclusion, segregation in housing, denial and restrictions of access to public and private services and employment, and enforcement of certain types of jobs on Dalits, resulting in a system of modern day slavery or bonded labour. However, in recent years due to affirmative action and legal protection, the intensity of caste based marginalization is reducing.
4. Scheduled Tribes –
The Scheduled Tribes like the Scheduled Castes face structural discrimination within the Indian society. Unlike the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes are a product of marginalization based on ethnicity. In India, the Scheduled Tribes population is around 84.3 million and is considered to be socially and economically disadvantaged. Their percentages in the population and numbers however vary from State to State. They are mainly landless with little control over resources such as land, forest and water. They constitute a large proportion of agricultural laborers, casual laborers, plantation laborers, industrial laborers etc. This has resulted in poverty among them, low levels of education, poor health and reduced access to healthcare services. They belong to the poorest strata of the society and have severe health problems.
5. Elderly or Aged People –
Ageing is an inevitable and inexorable process in life. In India, the population of the elderly is growing rapidly and is emerging as a serious area of concern for the government and the policy planners. According to data on the age of India’s population, in Census 2001, there are a little over 76.6 million people above 60 years, constituting 7.2 per cent of the population. The number of people over 60 years in 1991 was 6.8 per cent of the country’s population. The vulnerability among the elderly is not only due to an increased incidence of illness and disability, but also due to their economic dependency upon their spouses, children and other younger family members. According to the 2001 census, 33.1 per cent of the elderly in India live without their spouses. The widowers among older men form 14.9 per cent as against 50.1 per cent widows among elderly women. Among the elderly (80 years and above), 71.1 per cent of women were widows while widowers formed only 28.9 per cent of men. Lack of economic dependence has an impact on their access to food, clothing and healthcare. Among the basic needs of the elderly, medicine features as the highest unmet need. Healthcare of the elderly is a major concern for the society as ageing is often accompanied by multiple illnesses and physical ailments.
6. Children –
Children Mortality and morbidity among children are caused and compounded by poverty, their sex and caste position in society.
All these have consequences on their nutrition intake, access to healthcare, environment and education. Poverty has a direct impact on the mortality and morbidity among children. In India, a girl child faces discrimination and differential access to nutritious food and gender based violence is evident from the falling sex ratio and the use of technologies to eliminate the girl child. The manifestations of these violations are various, ranging from child labor, child trafficking, to commercial sexual exploitation and many other forms of violence and abuse. With an estimated 12.6 million children engaged in hazardous occupations (2001 Census), for instance, India has the largest number of child laborers under the age of 14 in the world. Among children, there are some groups like street children and children of sex workers who face additional forms of discrimination. A large number of children are reportedly trafficked to the neighboring countries. Trafficking of children also continues to be a serious problem in India. While systematic data and information on child protection issues are still not always available, evidence suggests that children in need of special protection belong to communities suffering disadvantage and social exclusion such as scheduled casts and tribes, and the poor (UNICEF, India).
7. Sexual Minorities –
Another group that faces stigma and discrimination are the sexual minorities. Those identified as gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, kothi and hijra; experience various forms of discrimination within the society and the health system. Due to the dominance of heteronomous sexual relations as the only form of normal acceptable relations within the society, individuals who are identified as having same-sex sexual preferences are ridiculed and ostracized by their own family and are left with very limited support structures and networks of community that provide them conditions of care and support. Their needs and concerns are excluded from the various health policies and programs.
MARGINALIZATION IN SCHEDULE TRIBES
Since in this project we have to give special reference to the marginalization of schedule tribes, therefore we are discussing the marginalization of STs in a more elaborative way.
The Scheduled Tribes like the Scheduled Castes face structural discrimination within the Indian society. Unlike the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes are a product of marginalization based on ethnicity. There are approximately two hundred million tribal people in the entire globe, which means about four percent of the global population. In India, the Scheduled Tribes population is around 84.3 million and is considered to be socially and economically disadvantaged. Their percentages in the population and numbers however vary from State to State, 50% of the India’s tribal population is concentrated in the North-eastern region of the country, who are, geographically and culturally, are at widely different stages of social as well as their economic development is concerned and their problems too differ from area to area within their own groups.
From the historical point of view, they have been subjected to the worst type of societal exploitation. They are mainly landless with little control over resources such as land, forest and water. They constitute a large proportion of agricultural laborers, casual laborers, plantation laborers, industrial laborers etc. This has resulted in poverty among them, low levels of education, poor health and reduced access to healthcare services. They belong to the poorest strata of the society and have severe health problems. They are less likely to afford and get access to healthcare services when required. They are practically deprived from many civic facilities and isolated from modern civilized way of living since so many centuries. The health outcomes among the Scheduled Tribes are very poor even as compared to the Scheduled Castes. The Infant Mortality Rate among Scheduled Castes is 83 per 1000 live births while it is 84.2 per 1000 per live births among the Scheduled Tribes
Among the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes the most vulnerable are women, children, aged, those living with HIV/AIDS, mental illness and disability. These groups face severe forms of discrimination that denies them access to treatment and prevents them from achieving a better health status. Gender based violence and domestic violence is high among women in general in India. Girl child and women from the marginalized groups are more vulnerable to violence. The dropout and illiteracy rates among them are high.
Early marriage, trafficking, forced prostitution and other forms of exploitation are also reportedly high among them. In situations of caste conflict, women from marginalized groups face sexual violence from men of upper caste i.e., rape and other forms of mental torture and humiliation.
Nevertheless the Constitution of India has made definite provisions for the welfare and uplift of the tribal people throughout the country. And the greatest challenge that the Government of India has been facing since Independence, till today is the proper provision of social justice to the scheduled tribe population, besides its rigorous effort s in implementing the new policy of tribal development and integration was initiated throughout the country.
GARO – THE SCHEDULED TRIBE FOUND IN NORTH-EAST INDIA
In this section, attempt is made in this project to study the socio-cultural, economic and educational status of Garo’s Tribes in Amingokgre village, Tura District of Meghalaya State through full remuneration as well as applying the qualitative research method to reach the depth of their problems.
Historical Background –
The early history highlights that the Garo’s are descended from their four fathers in a song Tibetgori, who came eastward from the Himalayas and reached Gondul Ghat where they made a brief halt, and then traveled to Sadiya from where they trekked into the North bank of Brahmaputra and reached Amingnaon. However, due to insecurity of life again they crossed the Brahmaputra River and came to reside at Kamakhya, and settled for five generation until the Koches came to invade the Garo Kingdom, and forced them to migrate towards westward Garo outer hills, and later on penetrated the interior hills of their present abode.
Further when we critically examined the history of Garos indicated that has been a period marked by persistent of internal warfare and many blood feeds seem to have occurred between the families, villages and neighboring chiefs of Nokmas for their very survival itself.
Never the less, the contact between the Garos tribes and the British started towards the close of the 18th Century, only after the British East India Company has secured the Diwani Bengal from the Mughal Emperor.
Present Status –
The Garos are mainly distributed over the Kamrup, Goalpara and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam, Garo Hills in Meghalaya, and substantial numbers, about 200,000 are found in greater Mymensingh (Tangail, Jamalpur, Sherpore, and Netrakona) and Gazipur, Rangpur, Sunamgonj, Sylhet, Moulovibazar district of Bangladesh. It is estimated that total Garo population in India and Bangladesh together were about 2 million in 2001.
Garos are also found scattered in the state of Tripura. The recorded Garo population was around 6,000 in 1971. In a recent survey conducted by the newly revived Tripura Garo Union revealed that the numbers of Garos has increased to about 15000, spreading to all the four districts of Tripura. Garos also form minority in Cooch, Behar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Dinajpur of West Bengal. As well as in Nagaland, the present generation of Garos forming minority do not speak the ethnic language anymore.
Garos are mainly Christians although there are some rural pockets where the traditional animist religion and traditions are still followed.
Garo language has different sub-languages, Viz- A•beng, Matabeng, Atong, Me•gam, Matchi, Dual [Matchi-Dual] Ruga, Chibok, Chisak, Gara, Gan•ching [Gara-Gan•ching] A•we etc. In Bangladesh A•beng is the usual dialect, but A•chik is used more in India. The Garo language has some similarities with Boro-Kachari, Rava, Dimasa and Kok-Borok languages.
Study Area Profile-
The West – Garo district lies in the western part of the State. The Meghalaya means the ‘abode of clouds’ which receive the highest rainfalls in the world i.e. (Cherrapunjee). The district head quarter of West Garo Hills is Tura, being the second largest town in the state after Shillong. The total geographical area got stretched into 3,714 Sq. Km. With three sub-division and eight blocks. However the surface is mostly hill with bit plains fringing the northern west and the south west borders, which brings the monsoon to this hilly district. The average rainfall is 330 cm. As far as transport facilities are concerned the district is well connected by road, air, and river i.e. within and outside district.
Amingokgre, the study village, located at the distance of 47 Km, from the district head quarter Tura. The total number of households were 32 respectively count in the sex wise distribution indicates that there are 82 males and 75 females and total population of 157 only. However, out of 32 households 17 were practicing Christianity, as their religion and rest of the 15 households are non-Christians locally known as ‘Songsreks’.
As far as basic amenities are concerned the village lacks behind logistically. Having only a way to reach from Tura to village by 1.5 km. kutcha road that is also in rainy season becomes difficult for accessible for vehicles. Moreover, the village is not electrified so far, and the major source of drinking water is from streams and wells which totally dry up in the month of October to March. Apart from own activity, there is absolutely no secondly source of livelihood for the villagers.
Jhum Cultivation –
Shifting cultivation, commonly known by many names in this part of the world as Swidden agriculture, slash and burn agriculture, and Jhum agriculture. Jhum has been described as an agricultural concept which has a unique feature in it the rotation of fields rather than the conventional system of crops i.e. after every two or four years. Moreover, the land is abandoned hence the cultivators were shift now and then to another new field for clearing, leaving the present field for natural reoccupation for its next turn to come.
However, the tribal people who are involved in this type of agricultural practice are called as ‘Jhumiyas’. Nevertheless 86% of the populations living in the hills are dependent on shifting cultivation. Therefore, 100 of tribal/ethnic, minority population inhabiting the North East hills due to their very intimately connected with the practice of Jhum cultivation since time immemorial. Which not only highlights their traditional lifestyle their cultural beliefs and emotional bindings toward their motherland but also indicates that how homogeneous group they are by nature.
Due to the new development in economic sector, the concentration of economic power started taking place in many ways, firstly the resources owned by the community gradually passes into private ownership and secondly, land as a productive asset began to concentrate in fever hands which led to the decrease in the percentage of cultivators and increase of agricultural laborers.
Traditionally, rice being the staple crop grown in the region and almost 70% of the total area used under paddy cultivation customary they are reluctant to go for commercial crops such as HYVFG (High Yielding Variety Food Grains) other than the rice, which fetch them little extra money. However, an attempt was made to analyze the through the FGA’s and it was observed that they are reluctant to change because firstly these people are not so ambitious by nature, which make them happy in a hand to mouth earning system, secondly they have a strong( son of the soil) belief to be with nature, closely attached with their place of origin, last but not the least related reason was observe i.e. there is a strong correlated between their lathering attitude and a huge (90 percent) financial assistant received from the Central Government.
Educational Status of Garo’s –
Education is a key strategy for bringing about the changes necessary to ensure socio, cultural, economic development as well as environmental protection in terms of societies prospective. Many research studies in recent times have made strong case for more investment in basic education considering the fact that majority of the world’s poorest people being illiterates and those children not attending school, live in rural areas. Hence, Government of India flagships the Universal Education Policy, considering the importance of education for rural people, as a crucial step to achieve the human goals.
In order to know the educational level among the Garos tribe full enumeration of village was done and it was found that only seven people were studied up to secondary level, twelve were up to middle and eleven of them were up to primary, were as remaining sixty six were illiterate. However, the factors responsible for high illiteracy, late school enrolment, and the prevalence of high dropouts rates and the lack of interest in the modern education and reasons are as follows:
Large numbers of villages in this region are yet to be provided schooling facilities.
Majority of the teachers in this region are untrained
Lack of efficiency from the system side.
Lack of civic amenities in the school building (Class rooms, drinking water)
The striking feature is the school timing only 3 hours i.e. 7.00 A.M. to 10.00 A.M.
Parent cited the reason not enrolling their younger siblings unless until they grow old to manage independently.
Socio-Cultural Status –
Unlike numerous other tribes in India who practice their own good old traditional culture till today in their day today life, the Garoe were no different from those. The tribes had been accustomed with modern formal education system, which successfully complemented them in the arts of material and non-material cultural life to be with the main stream of India.
It was gathered from their opinion i.e. basically these tribes love to be with nature, isolated themselves from the crowd and prefer to be autonomous. Moreover, because of their arrogant nature, they feel reluctant to obey any ones orders rather prefer to be like a free bird.
Customary, Garos had a system called ‘Nokpante’ means bachelors dormitory. It is a place where veteran men instructed youngsters in a range of competencies pertaining to agriculture hunting, medicine house building carving of wood for artistic and utilization purposes, social properties and the subtler points of religion and rituals.
However, it is true that socio-economic realities in these hills have undergone several changes and host of new aims and skills can be inculcated only by getting modern education which is per-requisite for survival every human being in today’s digital society.
Culturally, all the young boys and girls must stays in the bachelor dormitories to learn the tricks of Grihast Ashrama, above all not only they have a tradition of selecting their life partners and later they inform their respective parents about their love affairs. In return both sides parents, usually women keeps track of their children’s dating proudly agree to arrange their wedding on a condition that both should prove to be capable of becoming father and mother.
As far as religious belief is concerned these tribal people hardly had any faith in religion rather it was interesting to know that they were nastik. Normally, this tribe is a homogeneous by nature that reflects in their day-to-day business by practicing awareness about the outer world.
Instead of Panchayati Raj each village had a council, headed by the Mukhiya calleld ‘Nokma’ who usually perform the inaugural rituals of cultivation by cutting a tree in the field and prefer to saw the dream till three nights. If Nokma see a bad dream it means leave the current field and search four new field for cultivation.
The other importantly finding was Garo’s do not have the gender bias among them, but continuing their tradition hunting in general and head hunting in particular exhibiting their very character now and then to prove their manliness.
The common and regular festivals are those connected with agricultural operations. Greatest among Garo festivals is the Wangala, usually celebrated in October or November, is thank-giving after harvest in which Saljong, the god who provides mankind with Nature’s bounties and ensures their prosperity, is honored. Other festivals are Gal•mak Doa, Agalmaka, etc.
Group songs may include Ku•dare sala, Hoa ring•a, Injoka, Kore doka, Ajea, Doroa, Nanggorere goserong, Dim dim chong dading chong, Serejing, Boel sala etc. Dance forms are Ajema Roa, Mi Su•a, Chambil Moa, Do•kru Sua, Chame mikkang nia, Kambe Toa, Gaewang Roa, Napsepgrika and many others.
NGOs working for their welfare in this area –
According to my research and findings, there are no such registered NGOs working the upliftnment and wefare of this scheduled tribe in Amingokgre village, Tura District of Meghalaya State. Mostly Garos are dependent on Governmental aids, schemes and welfare plans. Government also has not been fully devoted for their welfare; their plans have prove to be in sufficient to these tribal people.
Suggestion & Recommendation –
Studying the above collected status of Garo tribe in Amingokgre village, Tura District of Meghalaya State, it suggests to me that lack of education facility and awareness is the foremost problem for the Garos. Large numbers of villages in this region are yet to be provided schooling facilities. Trained teachers should be employed, civic amenities like drinking water, school building, etc should be provided. Parents should be encouraged to send their children to school even at very primary ages.
Secondly, there should be transition from shifting cultivation to systems of cultivation, which are more in tune with modern economic, environmental and demographic realities, which is smoother and less painful. Even those who have given it up still live with its cultural rituals and technical legacies. The transition from ‘Jhuming’ (or ‘bewal’ or ‘podu’ as it is known in various regions) to other patterns has been very traumatic for these communities. However, the observations made during the study was the Jhum-Cultivation System does has the strong hold on the socio-cultural, economic and educational status of Garo’ strive till today and this vicious cyclic system enabling them to access the modern available opportunity as well as proper utilization of them.
Thirdly, there should be a proper governmental body, like, Panchayati Raj to govern the village for smooth and proper functioning of the administration in the villiage.
Thus, the need of the day is to, well equipped the tribes in terms of basic education i.e., awareness + knowledge = better utilization which is a pre-requisite for building up a self secure individual who not only being actively participate in community development but also in the development of whole globe as a village.
The pertinent question therefore is where do the marginalized groups stand today? Though there has been some improvement in certain spheres and despite some positive changes, the standard of living for the marginalized communities has not improved. Therefore, what Minimum needs to be done?
Improved Access to Agricultural Land-
The reasons for the high incidences of poverty and deprivation among the marginalized social groups are to be found in their continuing lack of access to income-earning capital assets (agricultural land and non-land assets), heavy dependence on wage employment, high unemployment, low education and other factors.
Therefore, there is a need to focus on policies to improve the ownership of income-earning capital assets (agriculture land, and non-land assets), employment, human resource & health situation, and prevention of discrimination to ensure fair participation of the marginalized community in the private and the public sectors.
Active Role of the State in Planning-
It is necessary to recognize that for the vast majority of the discriminated groups, State intervention is crucial and necessary. Similarly, the use of economic and social planning as an instrument of planned development is equally necessary. Thus, planned State intervention to ensure fair access and participation in social and economic development in the country is necessary.
Improved Access to Capital-
The poverty level among the SC and ST cultivators is 30% and 40% respectively, which is much higher compared with non-scheduled cultivators (18%). Similarly, the poverty incidences of those in business is very high 33% for SC and 41% for ST compared with only 21% among non-scheduled businesses. The viability and productivity of self-employed households need to be improved by providing adequate capital, information, technology and access to markets. It is a pity that though the STs do own some land, they lack the relevant technological inputs to improve the productivity of their agriculture.
Improved Employment in Public and Private Sectors-
There is a need to review and strengthen employment guarantee schemes both in rural and urban areas, particularly in drought-prone and poverty-ridden areas. Rural infrastructure and other productive capital assets can be generated through large-scale employment programmes. This will serve the duel purpose of reducing poverty and ensuring economic growth through improvement in the stock of capital assets and infrastructure.
Education and Human Resource Development-
Firstly, lower literacy/level of education and the continual discrimination of SC/STs in educational institutions pose a major problem. The government should take a second look at the Education Policy and develop major programmes for strengthening the public education system in villages and cities on a much larger scale than today. There is a necessity to reallocate government resources for education and vocational training. For millions of poor students located in rural areas, the loan schemes do not work. We should develop an affordable, uniform and better quality public educational system up to the university level. Public education system is our strength and needs to be further strengthened. Promotion of such private education systems that creates inequality and hierarchy should be discouraged.
Food Security Programs-
The public distribution system should also be revived and strengthened. In distributing Fair Price Shops in villages, priority should be given to the SC/ST female and male groups, as a number of studies have pointed out that they are discriminated upon in the Public Distribution System and in Mid-day Meal schemes.
Public Health System-
The public health system in rural areas has also been by and large neglected. Therefore, the primary health system for rural areas and public health system in urban areas must be revived and more funds should be allocated for the same.
Untouchability and Discrimination-
The practice of untouchability and the large number of atrocities inflicted on Dalits continue even today mainly because of hidden prejudices and neglect on the part of officials responsible for the implementation of Special Legislations; i.e. the Protection of Civil Rights Act (PCRA) and the Prevention of Atrocities Act (POA). The Government should make a meaningful intervention in this regard so as to mitigate the sufferings of Dalits due to practice of untouchability and atrocities inflicted upon them and should also treat this matter on a priority basis to ensure that the officials and the civil society at large are sensitized on this issue.
Edited by Saasha Malpani