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Empowerment of marginalized sections of society in India

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An Unquiet Writer
An Unquiet Writer
Mr. Pragyanshu Gautam is a law aspirant (a second-year B.A.LL.B student more specifically a third-semester undergraduate law student at Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, India). Pragyanshu believes in independent research and is still developing interests in diverse fields of law. He have had excellent analytical and critical thinking skills since his school days which is evident from participation in various debates (formal or informal) held within his community or others and writing articles in present. He is literally obsessed with his work and naturally organize things, even the smallest or huge ones as a part of his daily routine. His main objective in life is to regularly making a positive impact on society through legal practice. A particular aim of him is to contribute to Creative Writing and Legal Writing that is not solely concerned with the status quo but the creation of alternative ways of solving problems.

Abstract: The empowerment of marginalized sections of society and the accountability of the government towards it yet to be made conscious and fulfilled in the social or psychological, political and economic. This article precisely discusses the leftist and rightist viewpoint with several recent instances on the ineffectiveness of the government (schemes not sufficiently viable) and never ending atrocities on the marginalized either physical or mental. Subsequently, deriving the emphasis on comparing both attributes. Furthermore, it scrutinizes the socially backward as mostly economically backward. Nonetheless, of the fundamental provisions in the law for the marginalized (perhaps achievable in the economic terms at the most) the social gap is not yet turned down. Besides, it suggests that political democracy has to be backed by social and economic democracy. This has to be consonance to any oppressed community such as Dalit, Muslim and Women either physical or mentally oppressed or on the same basis on which they are oppressed. Consequently, the idea for fusion of critical and analytical frameworks with both supporting each other to overcome in each situation of social or psychological, political and economic. 

  1. Introduction

In the current Political climate the robust [Prevention of Atrocities Act] for marginalized/vulnerable sections is requisite in India. As these atrocities are a very specific socio-cultural problem, the application of it is the utmost need at the ground-level. The empowerment and accountability is yet to be realized and fulfilled in the social or psychological, then political and economic. 

If it is, hence partially the question arises of sustainable change and effects of it for a long-term. Thus, is empowerment and accountability sustainable? Before answering this question, we must first establish strong social relationships, proving that as an individual human we are present for them, and not have a recklessness for or to use them as they are often habituated to.

The educational and socio-economic programs are of no use if we don’t have a better understanding of their needs. Furthermore, it is imperative that community participation or individual level support is necessitated wherever required through the proper statistics of socially and educationally in rural India and of course it’s required. 

Nevertheless, “India has for the first time included marginalized communities as key focus areas in assessing the impact of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” While it is an urgent call with a global partnership recognising the ending poverty and deprivation such as reducing inequality, improving health and education. 

However, the thing is that states and their planning departments ‘suddenly’ become really ‘proactive’ when it comes to present its “Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the implementation of the SDGs before the United Nations (UN).” Accordingly, the voice has to be focused from the ground or local and district-levels. Thereafter, it should look at this to “see what are exactly the challenges, the problems being faced, the loopholes and gaps between the government schemes and their implementation.” Thus, to assess whether they are productive or empathetic and even “sympathetic” towards the oppressed or not. 

Additionally, Niti Ayog, a “government think-tank”, has aimed “to empower the states to conduct district-level SDG rankings.” But as written above it is only at the time of VNR “to see the trajectory of the movement a country is aspiring for.” Subsequently, there is yet to make an e-indicator, frameworks and district ranking of the around 20 states which are in different stages of finalization. So far the Five states including Haryana, Uttarakhand, Orissa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and the one Union Territory (UT), Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) have only released their frameworks for the district-wise indexes as of 2020 and no following update.  

  1. Gender, age and disability marginalized

Whilst, these three groups are often ignored irrespective of being marginalized in India. They are as well at lower strata not because of the situation or man-made such as notions of caste and race but emerged out of the natural division. The struggle of Person with Disabilities (PwD) or specially Girls with disabilities (GwD) (describes as doubly marginalised), gender biasness, and oppression against individuals or groups on the basis of age (also known as ageism) are facing discrimination in almost every domain of society. 

The case research (OECD, 2012) indicates that these people face the problems in educational institutions as well to infact participate in it. The similar findings state that the policy makers can enhance access and the quality of participation of these people in educational institutions or in daily routine life. 

Nonetheless, the census (OHCHR, 2017) shows that “socially and economically backward are mostly educationally backward, marginalized and the most oppressed people” in any part of the world. Indeed, the great empathy with the above three discriminated classes. However, these origins are the physical and nature made and ensuing relatively lighter to be controlled by man. 

The marginalization based on caste and race has been going on for thousands-years and still more than 2,300 cases are ‘registered’ (most of them not reported due to threat of death) in a year in only a single state of Karnataka (NCRB, 2021). Certainly, the deeply-rooted hatred in the ‘mind’ is ‘more dangerous’ and remains for a longer period of time than on the basis of physical attributes, i.e., disabilities and age. In reality the caste-based are not merely the hatred in mind. Despite frequent physical violence on these people (more than 70 percent of the population of India) has become a trend in our country that is equally or perhaps more important than the other marginalized sections of the country (Gilmartin, D., 2010). 

  1. Is Economic support reducing the social gap? 

Law does not resolve the things or perpetuate the “humiliation” against the vulnerability. Instead, the limitations and loopholes make it worse. Anyhow if it does, the conflicts and atrocities are not addressed by referring to a “whole framework.” Fairly, it creates a “synthesis” of a ‘broken’ and “not prioritize” completely. Thus, there is no conventional definition of its applicability. 

However, there is entailment for an “analytical and critical framework” to evaluate and assist in modifying the laws, policies and its practice as a whole for the “substantial forwarding” of the oppressed people. 

As in Article 16(4) of the Indian Constitution “economic backwardness was neither an independent nor a dominant factor for reservation.” Regarding this the nine-bench affirmed in the Indira Sawhney (1992) judgment, that in the enactment of Article 16(4), 

“…the accent was upon social backwardness. It goes without saying that in the Indian context, social backwardness leads to educational backwardness and both of them together lead to poverty—which in turn breeds and perpetuates the social and educational backwardness.”

Hence, the entire debate on reservation revolves around “social backwardness.” Even so, such people are poor too or “bound to be poor.” Thus, reservation was never meant for “economic empowerment of the poor.” Whereas the only idea here in the “reservation was to declaim caste-monopoly in the public sector” and indeed, still the dominance of the upper-caste persists.

Moreover, “SC, ST and OBC representation in Indian education and jobs is in the dark.” In the “17 Indian Institute of Information technology (IIITs)”, 1.7 percent of total PhD candidates are from ST category, 9 percent from SC and 27.4 percent from OBC (Kumar et al.). Similarly for the National Law University (NLUs) the records of low-income and low-caste students is considerably very low (Sharma P.,2019). For instance, “there were only 4-5 percent of the candidates who were admitted to the West Bengal National University of Juridical Science (NUJS) in 2013 and they belong to lower-middle class families’ (IDIA 2014). Same report shows that “50 percent of that batch itself belongs to the upper-middle class family.” Besides, there is “a lack of geographical diversity, people from Jammu and Kashmir, and North-east people are completely low.”

Even post-admission, it is challenging for the reserved categories to continue the course and get the job. The percentage of students recruited from within the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) community is extensively lower than the percentage of students recruited from the general category in the NLUs and IITs (IDIA 2014). 

Consequently, it is necessary ‘if’ the reservation reaches to the oppressed during their preparation to get admitted to these reputed institutions or get government jobs, the “post-reservation reality” should be refined and ensured to the extent that it affects their lives positively. And, during the college learning period or recruitment it is necessary to support in terms of “financially” and psychologically wherever needed. 

  1. Are Government schemes of empowerment sufficient? 

First and foremost, political democracy has to be “backed by social and economic democracy.” Although currently there are constitutional and other provisions to uphold the rights for these vulnerable groups in post-independence, in spite of that the “systemic violence” continues perpetrating against them. However, in the deep reality, the district-state level, the society and the state itself are conniving in the process of keeping them marginalized. 

The term reservation and special privileges given to these sections are about “adequate representation” and not “economic upliftment.” Even these economic upliftments do not sustain. Does the grassroots reality give them access to these government schemes? Is the marginalized individual even aware about these rights and their implementation? 

Though there may be increasing access to justice to these sections, yet the corruption and social hatred prevailing in the “system” itself leads to non-implementation of the schemes and increasing atrocities. Hence, repeated physical, social or psychological, emotional and cultural abuse are continuously pressed on these unheard marginalized.  

  1.  A Women’s character, a Dalit merit and a Muslim patriotism are always questioned in this country 

Among the marginalised either men, women or of disabilities and any religion, the voices of Dalit women is much more marginal than other. Even more than the Dalit mens. The atrocities done on them especially from upper-caste mens by coercing them violently, killing and raping them. Obviously, it is the only time when upper-castes mens do not resist touching the untouchables (Mahanand, J. ,2021 May 8). 

Hence, in spite of Article 17 of the Constitution, untouchables are exploited physically or mentally and it is not only practiced in villages but also in cities. These atrocities has led to their alienation and emergence of Dalit and Tribal movements. Improbably, the conscious oppressed  people of their rights use these movements and constitutional methods to seek justice. It thereby creates a new political issue. And, some politicians take advantage of caste-based politics and justice is not substantially done. 

As mentioned above, political democracy has to be backed by social and economic democracy. How do ‘low-income and low caste’ people get educated, agitate and organize with mere political democracy (too in the document barely in ground reality and it’s later stage when at best when it is backed by both, otherwise these becomes the initial psychological issues, i.e. economic and social of a person to even think to raise his voice)? 

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar “cautioned” in the following words: 

“In politics, we will have equality, and in social and economic life, we will have inequality. In politics, we will be recognizing the principle of one man-one vote and one vote, one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man, one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we shall do so only by putting our political democracy in peril.”

Indian singer Chinmayi Sripada also in a message wrote “Dalit’s merit and Muslims patriotism” on twitter. Though she accused National-award winning lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual harassment at workplace in October, 2018. 

However, she pointed out the “commonly accepted principle and judgment” followed in India irrespective of the presence of reservation and feminism (Dalit and Women) and respective of spreading terrorism or not (Muslim), to Dalit always need to prove their merit, a Woman her character and Muslim for their patriotism.

As already written about the SC, ST and OBC Pre and Post Reservation reality, indeed the plural representation should be ethical in India. 

Likewise the Muslim marginalised communities (not only socially and economically but also religiously) living in ghetto (180 millions in India) and as well one of the most educationally backwards are prejudiced to hatred and violence. Not the majority on social, not on economic and cultural values. Instead on the “religious terrorism.” Terrorists have no religion but indeed the “superficial extremists” have certainly cited “Muslim” as the specific religion for the terrorism. Most of the Indians doubt and in fact oppress the ordinary Muslims on the first sight of suspicious terrorist activities. These “assumptions” are unquestionably wrong. 

Aforementioned is due to some Muslim terrorists, in fact they are mostly outside of the India are involved in a act of terror as confidential reports prepared by intelliegence agencies in 2015 by several nations. Further, contended that very few Muslim people of India are involved in terrorist activities. However, the already declaration made by some “Indians” (Hindus and others) for other some “Indians” (Muslims) as a tag of terrorism on the basis of religion is grim reality and this “pre-concieved notions” must be changes.  

  1. Concluding Observations/Research Contributions 

One of the finest outcomes as already written earlier is the “analytical and critical framework” to be forwarded. To refine and even justify the law, the fusion of the “law and sociology”, “law and political science”, “law with psychology” and “law with economics” must be upheld. There are support systems present in each of the subjects and connected to each other in an analytical way. The effort is to organize them in situational factors and apply them using the “critical frameworks.” Thus, both ideas can be sustained.  

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An Unquiet Writer
An Unquiet Writer
Mr. Pragyanshu Gautam is a law aspirant (a second-year B.A.LL.B student more specifically a third-semester undergraduate law student at Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, India). Pragyanshu believes in independent research and is still developing interests in diverse fields of law. He have had excellent analytical and critical thinking skills since his school days which is evident from participation in various debates (formal or informal) held within his community or others and writing articles in present. He is literally obsessed with his work and naturally organize things, even the smallest or huge ones as a part of his daily routine. His main objective in life is to regularly making a positive impact on society through legal practice. A particular aim of him is to contribute to Creative Writing and Legal Writing that is not solely concerned with the status quo but the creation of alternative ways of solving problems.
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