Confronting Marginalisation

Confronting Marginalisation Class 8 Civics Chapter 8

CBSE Class 8 Civics Chapter 8 Confronting Marginalisation – Detailed explanation of the chapter ‘Confronting Marginalisation’ along with question answers. Given here is the complete explanation of the lesson, along with all the exercises, Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson.

Class 8 Civics Chapter 8 Confronting Marginalisation

By Garima Gunjan

Confronting Marginalisation Introduction

In the last chapter, you read about the discrimination and inequality issues experienced by two different groups. Even though they do not have much power in society, these groups have struggled, fought and protested against the Dominating groups. They have adopted different strategies in order to overcome this situation in this long struggle. Economic Upliftment, Religious Solace, education & self-improvement are few ways through which the minorities are trying to improve their social conditions. 

Confronting Marginalisation Class 8 Video Explanation

See: Understanding Marginalization, Class 8 Civics Explanation

In this chapter, the students would get to know about the ways minorities have challenged the existing inequalities that they have had to face. Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and people of other marginal communities have always maintained that since they are citizens of the country according to the Constitution, they possess equal rights which should be respected by others. The Chapter explains how marginalized communities can take the help of the Constitution in order to win their struggles. It states how the rights take the form of laws to protect certain groups from exploitations. We will also see how the government has been making different efforts in formulating policies so that these minority groups could be uplifted.

Invoking Fundamental Rights

The Constitution of India has certain principles on whose basis the country is Democratic today. The Fundamental Rights are another part of the Indian Constitution that are available for every Indian citizen on an equal basis. The Marginalised communities of India are drawn to such rights in two forms: 

  1. As they insist on the fundamental rights provided to them by the Indian Constitution, they force the Government of India to recognise the cases of injustices that they are facing.
  2. They have made a pressure on the Government to  enforce such laws. 

There have been several instances in the recent times which have forced the Indian Government to recognise the injustice carried out against those who are marginalised. In this way, they also kept the spirit of Fundamental rights upright. 

The Article 17 of the Constitution abolishes Untouchability. It means that no one can force the Dalits from not entering temples, educating themselves. If they face untouchability, the Government would not allow this. It is a punishable crime now.

The word ‘Dalit’ means broken. It is used by different groups to highlight different discrimination faced by them. 

See: Understanding Our Criminal Justice System Class 8 Civics Explanation

The Constitution consists of several sections that strengthens the argument against untouchability. Article 15 states that a person can’t be discriminated on the basis of caste, religion, sex or gender. The Dalits have taken the help of this Article whenever justice was denied to them. 

With this law, the Dalits can invoke these Fundamental Rights when they feel that the Majority community or even Government has treated them badly. With this law, they have been successful in drawing the government’s attention to the Constitutional laws so that they could get justice. 

The minorities have particularly drawn upon Right to Cultural and Educational Rights and Freedom of Religion. Minority religions such as Parsis and Muslims have the right to be the Guardians of their respective cultures and contents. They also have the rights to take decisions to preserve their cultures. By granting different forms of cultural rights to these communities, Constitution Body has granted cultural justice to them. It is done to ensure that the cultural of minorities is not dominated or wiped out by the majority of communities. 

See: Judiciary Class 8 Civics Explanation, Question and Answers

Laws for Marginalised

The Government of India has come up with different laws to protect the Indian citizen. There are different ways through which action is taken. To protect the marginalized sections, there are several policies and laws. There are various ways through which these schemes or policies emerge like by undertaking surveys or by setting up government committees. These policies are promoted by the government so that these specific groups can get opportunities. 

Promoting Social Justice

In order to implement the Constitution, both Central and State governments create schemes which are implemented in tribal areas or places where Dalit population resides. For example, the government provides subsidised or free hostel facilities for those students belonging to Dalit or Adivasi communities. Through this, they can get educational facilities which are not available in their areas. 

Apart from providing few facilities, the government has also implemented a few laws in order to prevent inequality present in the system. One such policy is reservation which is highly significant for these people. In educational institutes and government jobs, seats are reserved for the candidates of marginalised sections. In our society, the marginalised people hardly got any opportunity to learn and work. They also could not develop new skills. Their basic rights were denied for centuries. Therefore, it is the duty of democratic government so that they can rise high. 

See: Why do we need a Parliament, Class 8 Civics Explanation, Question and Answers

How Reservation Policy Works?

The State as well as Central governments have maintained their own list of the castes and communities that fall under Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Other Backward Caste, Most backward castes, etc. The people who fall under these categories are issued caste certificates. They have to produce these certificates while they apply for admission in Educational Institutes or government jobs. If that particular caste is identified with that present in government list, they are granted the reservation benefit. 

The government decides ‘cut-off’ marks for different entrance tests for Professional Educational Institutes such as Engineering, Medical, management, etc. Those marginalized students who have scored over this cut-off are granted admission. They are also offered Scholarships so that they can continue their education without any hindrance.

List of schemes
What is this scheme about?
How do you think it will promote social justice?
Scholarship for Students
To help Dalit and Adivasi students to continue education without any financial burden
These students will become self-sufficient and will be able to take a stand in society.
Special Police Stations
To deal with cases of marginalised people
They will be able to live in society without fear of dominance from Upper castes.
Special schemes for girls

in government schools

To promote Education among girls especially belonging to Dalit and Tribal regions 
The educated girls will become self-dependent and will be eligible for a job to take care of their families. 

 See: The Indian Constitution, Class 8 Civics Explanation, Question and Answers

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

After the Dalits and other marginalized communities started making demands from the government to seriously consider the ill-treatments and harassment faced by them, the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was framed in 1989. Dalits and marginalized communities had to face harassment at every stage. Although such treatment existed for a long time, however, it took a violent form during the 70s and 80s. 

After facing violent treatment, a number of assertive groups from Dalit communities (especially from South India) came ahead in order to assert their rights. They refused to perform several caste duties and demanded that they should be treated equally. Due to this, people from Upper Castes started unleashing violent practises against those who demanded their rights. Despite being prohibited in the Constitution, untouchability was practised in the country in a hidden manner. Dalits highlighted this practise and demanded for new laws to punish those who practised atrocities against them. 

Similarly, during the 70s and  80s the Adivasi communities organized themselves to demand equal rights and to demand that their lands that were taken away from them, should be  returned to them. Even they had to face violence from those who were in power. 

Due to the nature of violence faced by the Adivasis, there is a long list of punishable crimes listed under this Act. Few of these crimes are too horrible to even think about. Through this Act, people come to know about what dreadful deeds human beings can perform. Apart from awarding punishment to the culprits, these laws also influence the way people think and act. 

Several levels of crimes are distinguished by this Act. Firstly, modes of humiliation which are morally reprehensible and physically horrific are listed. It seeks to punish those accused who

(i) Force a person from SC or ST to eat  or drink any obnoxious or inedible item….. (iii) forcibly removes clothes of those from SC or ST community; paint their face or body; parade them naked; commits any other act which is derogatory to the dignity of human.

Secondly, the actions which disposes Adivasis and Dalits from their meagre resources or forces them to perform slave labour. The Act punishes anyone who (iv) wrongfully cultivates or occupies any land which was alloted or person belonging to SC/ST or tried to get the land transferred which was allocated to the latter. 

The Act also recognises crimes of specific kind committed against Dalit or Tribal women. It can punish anyone who (xi) uses any kind of force or assault against women from tribal or Dalit groups with an intent to dishonour her. 

See: India after Independence Class 8 History Chapter 10, Explanation

The Scourge of Manual Scavenging

The practice of removing animal and human waste or excreta with the help of basket, tin plates and brooms from dry latrines and disposing it by carrying it on heads is the process of manual scavenging. A person who is employed to do this job which is filthy in nature is called manual scavenger. Mainly young girls and women from Dalit communities are employed to do this job. A data from Safai Karmachari Andolan (based in Andhra Pradesh) where there are over one lakh Dalit people who are employed to do this job across the country. They work in around 26 lakh private and community dry latrines.

These manual scavengers are forced to work in unhygienic and sub human conditions. Due to this, they end up getting serious health hazards. They also suffer from skin, eye and respiratory infections apart from suffering from serious gastro-intestinal systems. They are awarded low wages for this work. Those from urban municipalities are paid Rs 200 per day and those who work privately are paid less.

The Pakhis in Andhra Pradesh, Bhangis in Gujarat, Sikkarliars in Tamilnadu are some of the castes of manual scavengers. They have to face untouchability even though our Constitution prohibits it. They are forced to live in settlements located at a village’s outskirts area. They are not given accessibility to public water facilities, temple premises, etc. 

Employment of Manual Scavengers

Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act was passed by GoI in 1993. The law prohibits dry latrine constructions and employment of manual scavengers. In 2003, 13 organisations along with seven manual scavengers filed a PIL in the Supreme Court. They argued that the manual scavenging process still exists especially in Government undertakings such as Railways. These petitioners sought to enforce their fundamental rights. In its observations, the Court found that the cases of manual scavenging had increased since 1993 law. 

The SC directed the Centre and State Government to verify these facts within six months. If the practise existed, the government department was asked to announce time-bound programs to rehabilitate and liberate these people. In December 2013, The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act  was formed. 

See: Understanding laws, Class 8 Civics Explanation, Question and Answers

Adivasi Demands and 1989 Acts

According to the Adivasis, this act of 1989 is important for them. They often refer to whenever they need to defend the land that was traditionally theirs in the past. Whenever the authorities try to displace the Adivasis forcibly from their lands, the latter always show their unwillingness in this process. 

The activists working for the tribals have often demanded that strict action should be taken against those who encroach upon the lands belonging to Adivasis forcefully. According to these activists, this law merely confirms what the Constitution promised to the tribals – Non-tribal people can’t buy or sell the lands which belong to the tribal people. The Constitution also states that if the tribal lands have been forcefully taken away, then the tribals have the right to re-possess this land. 

An Adivasi activist Miss CK Janu had earlier pointed out that in most of the cases, it is the State government from different regions that takes away the tribal land forcefully. It grants permission to non-tribal encroachers in form of paper mills, timber merchants, etc. They in turn, evict tribals from their own lands forcefully. In this process, they declare those forests as sanctuaries or reserved areas. 

Even if the authorities evict the tribals from their lands, they should at least be granted compensation. Governments should introduce policies for residence, livelihood, occupation, etc.for these tribes so that they could be rehabilitated.


This Chapter ideally depicts this fact that if a policy or law exists on paper, it doesn’t mean that it has been implemented well. People need to come ahead and take initiatives in order to translate these policies into ‘Principles’ so that actions of their leaders along with fellow citizens could be guided. 

See: Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age Class 8 History Chapter 4 Explanation

Confronting Marginalisation Lesson Questions and Answer

Q1. List two Fundamental Rights in the Constitution that Dalits can draw upon to insist that they be treated with dignity and as equals. Re-read the Fundamental Rights listed on page 14 to help you answer this question.

Answer. The two Fundamental  given in the Constitution that Dalits can draw upon to insist that they be treated with dignity and as equals are as follows:

  1. Right to Freedom: Under this right, the citizens including tribals have right to form association, right to live freely in India’s any region, right for freedom of speech, etc.
  2. Right to Equality: Every citizen of India is equal before the law. It means that every person is protected by law in an equal manner. They can’t be discriminated on the basis of caste, sex, religion, etc. 

Q2.  Re-read the story on Rathnam as well as the provisions of the 1989 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Now list one reason why you think he used this law to file a complaint.

Answer. Once the Dalit and tribal people made a demand before the government to bring a law that would protect against the ill-treatment and dominance by the those from Upper castes – the government introduced the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in 1989. In Ratlam’s case, the powerful caste people burnt his house and he was forced to leave the village along with his family. Therefore, he used the Act of 1989 in order to protest against the humiliation faced by the upper caste people.

Q3. Why do Adivasi activists, including C.K. Janu, believe that Adivasis can also use this 1989 Act to fight against dispossession? Is there anything specific in the provisions of the Act that allows her to believe this?

Answer. Activist Ms CK Janu has such views because the 1989 Act guarantees that no one can replace tribals and Adivasis forcefully from their traditional lands. The Act protects the rights of tribals.