Ans. Yes, economic marginalization and social marginalization are inter-linked. Marginalisation implies having a low social status and a consequent lack of access to education and other resources. Social marginalization, as seen in the case of the Muslim community, is based on how their traditions, culture and dressing make us identify Muslims as different from us. This sometimes leads to unfair inequity on the basis of religious differences. As a result, minority groups may find it difficult to rent houses, procure jobs or even send their children to schools. This is economic marginalization. Thus, the two are inter-connected.
Ans. The three things I would tell a friend about the Adivasis in India would be:
i. Around 8 per cent of India’s population is Adivasi and many of India’s most important mining and industrial centres are located in Adivasi areas – Jamshedpur, Rourkela, Bokaro and Bhilai among others.
ii. Adivasis are not a homogeneous population: there are over 500 different Adivasi groups in India.
iii. Adivasis practise a range of tribal religions that are different from Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. Adivasis have their own languages which have often deeply influenced the formation of ‘mainstream’ Indian languages, like Bengali.
Ans. Two reasons in support of the statement “Muslims are a marginalized community”:
i. The Muslim community has not been able to gain from the country’s socio-economic development as statistics on basic amenities, literacy rate and public employment. 63.6% Muslims live in kutcha houses as compared to only 55.2% Hindus; the literacy rate amongst Muslims was the lowest at 59% in a 2001 survey.
ii. Their customs are distinct from other religious communities, so much so that they are identified as separate from the “rest of us” leading to unfair treatment and discrimination against Muslims.
Ans. Hardships faced by the Adivasis were:
i. Forest lands have been cleared for timber and to get land for agriculture and industry.
ii. Adivasis have also lived in areas that are rich in minerals and other natural resources. These are taken over for mining and other large industrial projects.
iii. Huge tracts of their lands have also gone under the waters of hundreds of dams that have been built in independent India.
iv. In the North east, their lands remain highly militarised and war-torn.
v. India has 54 national parks and 372 wildlife sanctuaries. These are areas where tribals originally lived but were evicted from.
vi. Losing their lands and access to the forest means that tribals lose their main sources of livelihood and food.
vii. Adivasis have migrated to cities in search of work where they are employed for very low wages in local industries or at building or construction sites.
viii. They, thus, get caught in a cycle of poverty and deprivation.
i. Adivasis – the term literally means ‘original inhabitants’ – are communities who lived, and often continue to live, in close association with forests. Around 8 per cent of India’s population is Adivasi and many of India’s most important mining and industrial centres are located in Adivasi areas – Jamshedpur, Rourkela, Bokaro and Bhilai among others.
ii. Adivasis are not a homogeneous population: there are over 500 different Adivasi groups in India. A state like Orissa is home to more than 60 different tribal groups.
iii. Adivasis practise a range of tribal religions that are different from Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. These often involve the worship of ancestors, village and nature spirits.
iv. During the nineteenth century, substantial numbers of Adivasis converted to Christianity, which has emerged as a very important religion in modern Adivasi history.
v. Adivasis have their own languages, which have often deeply influenced the formation of ‘mainstream’ Indian languages, like Bengali.
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