Until India don’t adopt ‘inclusive nature’ while addressing diversities of nation; India will never succeed in achieving ‘just an ideal society’
Social exclusion is associated with multiple problems such as semi skills, large unemployment, low incentives, bad housing, high crime neighborhoods, bad health, and family breakdowns. Therefore, social exclusion is a term used for different sections of the society who face deprived, marginalized, and are at the disadvantaged position in comparison to others. It is not merely an absence of material resources but refers to the broad range of factors that prevent individuals or groups from having opportunities open to the vast majority of the population.
The term ‘Social exclusion’ appeared in the French Literature under the spirit of Rene Lenoir who reported ten categories of French people wereexcluded from participating in the social and civic activities of that society. Since then social exclusion shifted from ‘term’ to ‘concept’ in the units of European Commission which led to the establishment of ‘Social Exclusion Unit’ designed to work on inclusive parameters to ensure full participation of the citizens. After that different dimensions of exclusion and inclusion diffused in the academic literature in the different parts of the world.
It was more than 50 years ago, the anthropologist and sociologist David Pocock (1957) reflected that processes of inclusion and exclusion were features of all hierarchies. Similarly, Indian intelligentsia contributed a lot towards trickling down various levels of exclusion. From social reformers to activists; everyone is in struggle to promote justice for the socially excluded and self-excluded sections of the society. There is no denial to this fact that Muslims and other minorities in India are worst suffers of exclusion. It was only in 2006, the issue of ‘exclusion and inclusion’ among Muslim community were first of all documented under the chairmanship of Justice Rajindar Sachar on the Social, Economic, and Educational Status of the Muslim Community.
The ‘India Exclusion Report 2013-14’firstly identified exclusion and inclusion on four public goods of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. They are Social Services, Infrastructure and Public Spaces, Livelihoods, Labour, Land and Natural Resources, Law and Justice. The same report revealed that major causes of exclusion in India are; Faulty design of law and policy; Institutional bias in the implementation of law and policy; Active violence and discrimination by the state; Low and faulty budgetary allocations. To prevent the levels of exclusion different strategies and mechanism were adopted by the Central and State government(s) but every time dream of inclusion remained knocked. The very reason might be absence of involvement of the deprived population in the policy-making; which is the major cause of low inclusion achievements.
Despite policy interventions by the Central and State governments various categories of people like women, Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and disabled people, trans-persons, bonded labors, and waged and child labours, homeless, and weavers face specific prism of denial and discrimination on gender, caste, religion, ethnicity, age, disability, occupation, stigmatized and debilitating ailments, and so on. Therefore, major strands of exclusion in India include Caste and gender-based exclusion, religious exclusion, economic, political, social, cultural educational and housing exclusions. All these forms of exclusion have maintained deep roots in Indian society. Though there are some public policies such as SEWA, RAY, BSUP, and Social Security Act 2008 to prevent such happenings.
Similarly, Constitutional acts working for the promise of different forms of inclusion in India are Directive principles of State Policy which ensures Equal Justice, Right to work, to education, Just and human condition of work. Article 14 meant for Equality before Law. Art.15-Prohibition of Discrimination and Art-16-Equal opportunity. Article 19(1) guarantees to all Citizens of India the Right to move freely throughout the territory of India with two restrictions, Protection of Civil Rights under Act 1955, Abolition ofBonded labour System under Act 1976, prevention SC/ST of Atrocities under Act 1989 and Child Labour prohibition and regulation act 1989, and Constitutional safeguards on crimes against women. All these policy measures aimed to attain integration and incorporation of the deprived, marginalized, and weaker sections of the society.
Now the question arises how much inclusive social structures are when it comes to redress the issue of exclusion or to use Durkheim’s term to integrate the deviants who have faced exclusion due to the breakdown of the social bonds. For the development of mainstream, we have created the new versions of exclusion of our people, particularly of tribal and indigenous peoples. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 169 refers tribal peoples in independent countries [as those] whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community, and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their customs or traditions.In our society, they facedisplacement in the name of development which goes against their will.
The frequent ostracism and excluding episodes are a major threat to their identity in India. They face the ‘area exclusion.’ Their belonging to the particular area led to different prejudices against them which reinforced bad social relations like exclusion, rejection, isolation, and loneliness with the mainstream. To promote their inclusiveness, social institutions, particularly in educational institutions, should focus on “Indigenous studies” which is must for the maintenance of their traditional and indigenous knowledge system.
Thus we can conclude that unless and until India will not adopt ‘inclusive nature’ while addressing diversities of nation; It will never succeed in achieving ‘just an ideal society’ (based on justice, equality and fraternity). To achieve this dream Indian leaders need to read the message of Tony Blair who once said, “My vision is of a nation where no-one is seriously disadvantaged by where they live, where power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few (Our aim is) one nation, not separated by class, race, or where people live”. But when is the only question?