Chapter 8 – Confronting Marginalisation
Answer the following questions:
(1) Which Articles of the Constitution help Dalits to fight against discrimination and for equal treatment?
Article 17 of the Constitution states that untouchability has been abolished.
Article 15 of the Constitution states that no citizen of India shall be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
(2) What steps have been taken by the government to promote social justice for the marginalized section of society?
Both state and central governments create specific schemes for implementation in tribal areas or in areas that have a high Dalit population.
In addition to providing certain facilities, the government also operates through laws to ensure that concrete steps are taken to end inequity in the system. One such law/policy is the reservation policy.
(3) How does the reservation policy work?
Governments across India have their own list of Scheduled Castes (or Dalits), Scheduled Tribes, and backward and most backward castes. The central government too has its list. If a particular Dalit caste or a certain tribe is on the government list, then a candidate from that caste or tribe can avail of the benefit of reservation.
Under the reservation policy, students from the reservation list applying to an educational institution will get admission under their respective category whose cut-off is generally less than the Unreserved category or they may get a government scholarship. Similarly, while applying for a job, the students from the reserved category will get reserved seats for their respective category, their cut-off is also less than the unreserved category and they also get age relaxation.
(4) List any two provisions mentioned in the ‘The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989’.
It seeks to punish those who
- Force a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance.
- wrongfully occupies or cultivates any land owned by, or allotted to a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or gets the land allotted to him transferred.
(5) Why did Safai Karamchari Andolan file a PIL in 2003? What did they complain about in their petition?
The petitioners complained that manual scavenging still existed and it continued in government
undertakings like the railways.
The petitioners sought enforcement of their Fundamental Rights.
(6) When was ‘The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act’ come into force?
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act came into force on 6 December 2013.
(7) What is manual Scavenging?
Manual scavenging refers to the practice of removing human and animal waste/excreta using brooms, tin plates, and baskets from dry latrines and carrying it on the head to disposal grounds some distance away.
(8) What constitutional rights are guaranteed to the Adivasis?
In the Constitution, it is guaranteed that land belonging to tribal people cannot be sold to or bought by non-tribal people. In cases where this has happened, the Constitution guarantees the right of tribal people to re-possess their land.
(9) Discuss the philosophy of Kabir.
Kabir was a fifteenth-century poet and weaver who also belonged to the Bhakti tradition.
Kabir’s poetry spoke about his love for the supreme being free of ritual and priests. It also expresses his sharp and pointed criticism of those he saw as powerful. Kabir attacked those who attempted to define
individuals on the basis of their religious and caste identities.
In his view, every person had the ability to reach the highest level of spiritual salvation and deep knowledge within themselves through their own experience. His poetry brings out the powerful idea of the
equality of all human beings and their labour.
(10) According to the activist C.K. Janu, how do the governments in different states also one of the violators of the constitutional right guaranteed to the tribal people?
According to her, the governments in the various states of India are the ones who 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.