Adivasi: This refers to original inhabitants. They are communities who lived, and often continue to live in close association with forests.
Displaced: In context of this chapter, this refers to persons who are forced to move from their homes for big developmental projects such as construction of dams, mining, etc.
Ghettoisation: Ghettoisation is the process which leads to a situation in which a particular area is populated by members of a particular community. This situation occurs due to different social, cultural and economic reasons. Fear or hostility may compel a community to group together, as they feel more secure living amongst their own.
Hierarchy: A graded system or arrangement of people or things. Generally, people present at the bottom of the hierarchy have the least power. For example, the caste system is a hierarchal system and the Dalits are considered to be at the lowest end.
Militarised: An area where there is considerable number of armed forces.
Malnourished: A person who is deprived of adequate nutrition or food.
Mainstream: Persons or communities considered to be in the centre of a society.
Marginalisation : This term refers to the condition in which a person or group of persons is deprived of several privileges or is/are treated as different from others.
Manual scavenging : The practice of carrying human excreta in basket on their heads by sweepers is known as manual scavenging.
Socially marginalised: Social marginalised means being excluded from the society on the basis of speaking different languages or following different customs.
Scheduled Castes : Castes which were formerly treated as untouchables in the society are called Scheduled Castes.
Untouchability : It is the practice of exploitation and segregation followed by the upper caste Hindus against the lower caste Hindus.
Vulnerable groups : Certain groups in the society often come across discriminatory treatment and need special attention to avoid potential exploitation. This population constitutes what is referred to as Vulnerable Groups.
This refers to original inhabitants. They are communities who lived, and often continue to live in close association with forests.
Adivasis are becoming increasingly marginalised because
(i) Forest lands have been cleared for timber and to get land for agriculture and industry.
(ii) They were increasingly forced through economic changes, forest policies and political forces to migrate, to live as workers in plantations and cities at low wages. So, they face the problem of poverty and deprivation.
Adivasis referred as the minorities
The term minority is most commonly used to refer those communities that are numerically small in relation to the rest of the population. The Adivasis are also less in number than other communities and are thus, referred to as the minorities. Adivasis are per cent of the whole India’s population.
The religious beliefs of Adivasis
(i) They often are involved in the worship of ancestors, village and natural spirits, associated with and residing in various sites in the landscape mountain-spirits’, ‘river-spirits, ‘animal-spirits’, etc.
(ii) The village spirits are often worshipped at specific sacred groves within the village boundary, while the ancestral ones are usually worshipped at home.
(iii) Adivasis have always been influenced by different surrounding religions like Shakta, Buddhist, Vaishnav, Bhakti and Christianity.
Adivasi Community influenced other religions
(i) Adivasi religions themselves have influenced dominant religions of the empires around them, for example, the Jagannath cult of Odisha and Shakti and Tantric traditions in Bengal and Assam.
(ii) During the 19th century, substantial numbers of Adivasis Converted to Christianity, which has emerged as a very important religion in modern Adivasis’ history.
Religious practices of Adivasis
(i) They worship their ancestors.
(ii) They worship their village.
(iii) They worship the mountain.
(iv) They worship trees like Peepal, Banayans, Neem.
(v) They worship different animals like cow, bull, etc.
(vi) They worship many rivers. The socio-religious features of the Adivasi communities are : (i) The Adivasi population is unique in social structure as they show little differences or hierarchy.
(ii) They are away from biases of caste or religion.
(iii) They practice a range of tribal religions that are different from Islam, Hinduisum and Christianity.
(iv) Their religious practices include worship of ancestors, village, nature and nature related spirits.
(v) The village spirits are often worshipped at specific sacred groves within the village boundary, while the ancestral ones are usually worshipped at home.
(vi) They are influenced by the surrounding religions like Shakta, Vaishnav, Buddhism or Christianity.
(vii) Basically, they are influenced by the dominant religions of the State around them.
(viii) Adivasis have their own language and many modern Indian languages are derived from them.
(ix) Santhali is the one of the most recognizable languages of Adivasis.
Contributed of Adivasis towards the development of the country
Forests covered the major part of our country till the 19th century and the Adivasis had a deep knowledge of, access to, as well as control over most of these various tracts, at least till the middle of the 19t century, This meant that they were not ruled by large states and empires. Instead, often, empires heavily depended on Adivasis for their crucial access to forest resources.
The term used for Adivasis by the Indian government in various official documents is “Schedule Tribes”.
The Adivasi languages have often deeply influenced the formation of mainstream of Indian language like Bengali.
Marginalisation refers to the reduced power and importance of certain people in our country. For example: tribals or Adivasi, OBCs, religious minorities and women.
Marginalisation appears due to difference in religion, language, culture and traditions from the majority community.
Marginalised Groups in India
(i) Marginalised groups are those who are deprived from the mainstream society. They are subjected to many forms of discrimination and are often denied from resources and opportunities.
(ii) Many a times, these downtrodden sections are not allowed to mix with the rest of the society. These include slaves, people with diseases like leprosy, people who perform jobs that are thought to be polluting like cleaning sewers, people belonging to indigenous tribes and the ‘blacks’.
(iii) Traditionally, women in almost all the societies are marginalised. In India, the practice of caste system has resulted in the creation of a section of people who are excluded from the society or marginalised.
(iv) People working as leather workers, manual Scavengers, etc. are treated as outcastes and are subject to humiliation and suppression.
Minority : The term minority is most commonly used to refer to those communities that are numerically small in relation to the rest of the population. Minorities are those communities who have less number of people of their own section and region in a particular region.
Provisions made to protect the interests of minorities are:
(i) No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the state or receiving aid out of state funds on grounds of religion, race, sex, caste, language, etc.
(ii) Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof, having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.
The two types of minorities are:
(ii) Minority based on Language.
Poor Tribal Communities
(i) By losing their lands and access to the forest, tribals lose their main sources of livelihood and food.
(ii) Most Adivasis have migrated to cities in search of work where they are employed at very low wages in local industries and at construction sites.
(iii) 45 per cent of tribal groups in rural areas and 35 per cent in urban areas live below the poverty line. This leads to their deprivation in other areas.
(iv) When Adivasis are displaced from their lands, they lose much more than a source of income.
(v) Many tribal children are malnourished. Literacy rate among the tribals is also very low.
Muslims are marginalised community in India
(i) Muslims are marginalised community in India because in comparison to other communities, they have, over the years, been deprived of the benefits of socio-economic development.
(ii) Like other minorities, Muslim customs and practices are sometimes quite distinct from what is seen as the mainstream. Some Muslim may wear a burqa, sport a long beard, wear a fez, and these become ways to identify Muslims. Because of this, they tend to be identified differently and some people think they are not like the ‘rest of us’. Often, this becomes the excuse to treat them unfairly, and discriminate against them.
People who were formerly treated as untouchables in the society are called Scheduled Castes.
The chief provisions for uplifting and safeguarding the interests of the SCs and STs are the following:
(a) Article 46 of the Constitution provides, “The care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and in particular of the SCs and the STs, shall protect them them from social injustice and all form of exploitation”.
(b) Article 17 declares, “Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. It enforces that any disability arising out of the untouchability shall be an offence punishable with law.”
(c) According to article 275, “There shall be a pay out of the consolidated fund of India as grants- in-aid of the revenues of states. Such capital and recurring sums as may be undertaken by the state, with the approval of the government for the purpose of raising the level of administration of the scheduled areas therein to that of the administration of the rest of that state.”
(d) The Preamble to the Constitution of India, the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of the State Policy also contain several provisions for safeguarding interests of the SCs and STs.
To implement the above Constitution provisions, several steps have been taken for the welfare and upliftment of the weaker sections of the society. These include:
(i) Jobs in the government are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
(ii) Seats are reserved for SCs and STs in educational institutions.
(iii) Some constituencies of Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies are reserved for the SC and ST candidates. In such constituencies, only a SC or ST candidate can contest the elections.
(iv) Provisions have been made for various competitive examinations to improve the representation of SCs and STs in various services.
(v) Book banks have been provided to SC and ST students aspiring for Engineering and medical courses.
(vi) Scholarship and grants for higher education from abroad are also given.
(vii) Hostel facility for SC and ST girls studying in schools, colleges and universities have been given. Most of the above provisions are common to both, the SC and ST people.
(viii) Vocational Training Programmes have been started in tribal areas by opening educational institutions for the promotion of female literacy in these areas.