Assertive: A person or a group which expresses views in a strong way.
Confront : To come face to face or challenge someone or something. For example, Marginalised groups protested against their exclusion by dominated society.
Dalit: The term Dalit which means broken, is used deliberately and actively by groups to highlight centuries of discrimination people have experienced within the caste system.
Morally reprehensible : Such act which violates all those norms of dignity and decency which a society believes in.
Manual scavenging : The practice of carrying human excreta in basket on their heads by sweepers to dispose them in the ground.
Ostracise: The Ostracise means to exclude or banish an individual or a group. It refers to a social boycott of an individual and his family.
Policy: A course of action which provides future direction, sets goals to be achieved or lays down the principles or guidelines to be followed and acted upon.
Reservation: Reservation is securing of seats by laws in education and government employment for the deprived and unprivileged classes and people.
OBC (Other Backward Classes)
The weaker sections of the society other than the Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes are called the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The Kaka Kelkar Commission which gave its report for OBCs in 1953’s was accepted by government. In 1978, B.P. Mandal gave another report making recommendations for OBCs.
The provisions were implemented in 1990 by V.P. Singh. After a great deal of controversy, the Supreme Court gave the following judgment on OBCs :
(i) The court allowed 27% reservation for the backward caste/classes, but it announced that the ‘creamy layer of the backward class should be excluded. Government was to identify this creamy layer.
(ii) The armed forces and sensitive higher civilian posts like Scientists, Pilots, University Professors, etc. were to be kept outside the purview of the caste reservation.
(iii) The number of backward castes was reduced to 1,238 from 3,743 as recommended by the Mandal Report.
(iv) Those classes which had adequate representation in the government services were to be excluded from the list of OBCs.
(v) While Mandal Commission had recommended reservation policy in the field of promotions also the Supreme Court recommended reservation only in original appointments.
(vi) The Supreme Court directed that the reservation quota should not exceed 50 percent in any eventuality.
Implementation of Mandal Report
(ii) The government has given them relaxation in qualifying marks in written examinations and in interviews.
(iii) Relaxation in upper age limit by 3 years in direct recruitment has also been given to OBCs.(iv) The OBCs are given relaxation to clear the Civil Services examinations in seven attempts. The verdict of the Supreme Court on PIL filed by the Safai Karamchari Andolan and other organisations
The court had directed the departments of central and state government to verify the condition of manual scavenging and to introduce time-bound programme for their liberation and rehabilitation.
Kabir was a fifteenth century poet and weaver. He belonged to the Bhakti tradition. Kabir’s poetry spoke about his love for the supreme being, free of rituals and priests. According to Kabir, untouchability was the highest state of knowledge, i.e. not touched by narrow limiting ideas, so he changed a lower concept to the highest one.
Legal measure taken by the Indian Government against the practice of untouchability are :
(i) The practice of untouchability is a form of social discrimination against certain groups based on their castes. India has been a severe victim of this social evil since ages.
(ii) Framers of the Indian Constitution were unanimous on making a strong law to end this in human practice.
(iii) Article 17 of the Constitution of India declares abolition of the practice of untouchability. In according with the Constitutional provisions, the Government of India has passed the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 and later the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) and Act, 1989 to eradicate caste based discrimination and upliftment of the people belonging to deprived sections of the society.
(iv) The government has introduced reservation system in educational institutes, government services and elected institutions.
The government made various laws to protect marginalised citizens. There are some specific laws and policies for the marginalised groups in our Country. There are policies or schemes that emerge through other means like setting up a committee or by undertaking a survey, etc. The government also makes efforts to promote such policies.
The State Governments of India keep a list of Scheduled Castes (or Dalits), Scheduled Tribes, backward and most backward castes. The Central Government also has a list. The students applying to educational institutions of government and those applying for posts in government are expected to show the proof of their caste or tribe status in the form of caste and tribe certificates issued by the government agencies. If a particular caste or a certain tribe is on the government list, then a candidate from that caste or tribe can gain the benefit of reservation.
C.K. Janu point about the violation of the rights of the tribes
In her observation, C.K. Janu, an Adivasi activist, had pointed out violations of the Constitutional rights assured to tribal people of the various state government of India. They allow non-tribal encroachers in the form of timber merchants, paper mills, etc. to exploit tribal land, and forcibly evict tribal people from their traditional forests in the process of declaring forests as reserved or as sanctuaries. She has also noted out the cases where tribal people have already been expelled and are not allowed to go back to their lands.
The dalits are enlightened about their rights and they utilize the Fundamental Rights if they are discriminated by the individual, community or by the government. Now, they have drawn the attention of the government of India to follow the Constitution and to ensure justice for them.
The minorities like Parsi, Muslims, Sikhs, etc. use the Fundamental Rights to secure themselves. They become the guardian of their cultural content and to preserve it in the best way. The Constitution of India guarantees the cultural justice to cultural, religious or linguistic minorities. The Constitution makes sure that no majority community will dominate or eliminate them. The Constitution provides them the freedom to practice their religion.
The Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes Act 1989 states that the actions that deprive the Dalits and Adivasis of their small resources or which force them into slaved labour are punishable. It means that if someone tries to occupy or cultivate any land owned by or allotted to a member of Schedule Caste or Tribe, he will be punished by law.
Article 15 of the Constitution states that no citizen of India shall be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
Article 17 of the Constitution states that untouchability has been abolished and no one can prevent Dalits from getting education, entering temples, using public facilities.