Understanding Marginalization Class 8 Civics Chapter 7 Explanation

Understanding Marginalization Class 8 Civics Chapter 7

CBSE Class 8 Civics Chapter 7 Understanding Marginalization – Detailed explanation of the chapter ‘Understanding Marginalization’ along with question answers. Given here is the complete explanation of the lesson, along with all the exercises, Questions and Answers given at the back of the lesson.

Class 8 Civics Chapter 7 – Understanding Marginalization

By Garima Gunjan

Understanding Marginalization Lesson Introduction

Equality is a right and value that every citizen of India is entitled to. Even the Constitution of India lists the Right to Equality as one of the Fundamental rights. It is also a vital element for the functioning of democracy in India. In this chapter, the students will get to know about the different ways through which inequality affects the common people and communities. This chapter introduces marginalisation which also means ‘exclusion from the mainstream.’ 

Understanding Marginalization Class 8 Video Explanation

What Does it Mean to be Socially Marginalised?

If a community is marginalised, it means that it has been forced to occupy on the sides and peripheries and thus is not at the centre of things. Many times people belonging to different social communities feel excluded from the whole society. So, often, a person ends up feeling that he is ‘not with it’ – as if what you say, feel and think and how you act are not quite right or acceptable to others. The reason for this marginalisation could be that they belong to different cast or religion or speak different languages. Other reasons of getting marginalised could be ‘poor’ status, different religion, low caste, etc. Economic, social, cultural and political factors work together to make certain groups in the society feel marginalized

At times, these marginalised sections of society are treated with hostility and fear. Due to this, such sections do not have access to useful resources and are unable to take a stand in the society. They are also unable to assert their basic rights. Due to this, they are filled with a sense of powerlessness. 

Since they are being marginalised, these groups are unable to take against those communities which are dominant, wealthy, politically powerful and own a land. Therefore, different spheres lead to marginalisation. 


The term ‘Adivasi’ means ‘original inhabitants.’ These are the communities who have lived in forests or have been in association with the forests. They constitute approximately 8% of the Indian population. Few of the most important industrial centres and mining areas are located in the Adivasi areas. These areas are Rourkela, Bokaro, Jamshedpur, Bhilai, etc. India has more than 500 different Adivasi groups. They are not a homogenous population. 

Adivasis are prominent in states such as Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Arunanchal Padesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura. Odisha is home to more than 60 different tribal groups. Adivasi societies have very little hierarchy among  Due to this, these societies are very distinctive. Due to this feature, they are radically different from those communities who believe in caste.

They practise their own tribal religions which is completely different from other religions prevalent in society such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, etc. They worship their ancestors, nature and village spirits, etc. They worship village spirits at sacred groves present in the villages or in homes. Several surrounding religions such as Vishnav, Sakhta, Bhakti, etc. Apart from that, the Adivasi religions have also influenced the prevailing religions that exist around them. These include Tantric & Shakti tradition in Assam & West Bengal, Puri’s Jagannath cult, etc. Meanwhile in the 19th century, several Adivasi communities have converted to Christianity –   which has emerged as a very important religion in the modern Adivasi history.  

Adivasis have their own languages. Few of these languages are as old as Sanskrit and have influenced several regional languages such as ‘Bengali.’ Among these Adivasi languages, Santhali is the most spoken one in India. It also has its own body of publications and online portals dedicated to it. 

The Adivasis are also referred as tribals. The Government of India uses the term ‘Scheduled Tribe’ to refer to the Adivasis in their official documents. The government also has an official list of these tribes. They are often grouped together in categories with Scheduled Castes under the term ‘Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes.’ 

Adivasi and Stereotyping

In India, the Adivasis are showcased in a particular way. During official events such as Republic Day or school programs or in movies – the Adivasis are portrayed as people with colourful costumes, headgears and having different dance forms. Apart from that, the common people are unaware of their lives. Due to this, they believe that the Adivasis are backward, exotic and primitive. Common people believe that the Adivasis are resistant to new changes or ideas. Due to this, these groups often lack advancements. If stereotyping against Adivasis continues, it also lead to discrimination. 

Adivasis and Development

Since ancient times, the forests have been important for the development of different empires and civilisations in India. Animal products such as wax, honey, lac; animals such as elephant for armies; invaluable timber; metals ores such as gold, silver, coal, diamonds, copper – all these came from these forests. Apart from that in order to continue life the mainstream population has to depend on forests. It helps to recharge the rivers passing through that area and provides clear air and water as well. 

Until the 19th century, forests covered a major portion of India. Till then, the adivasis had direct access, deep knowledge, and a major control over the vast tract of the forests. These areas controlled by Adivasis were not controlled by any kingdom or government until then. Instead, the earlier kingdoms were directly dependent on these Adivasis of forests in order to get access to certain resources. 

Nowadays, the Adivasis mainly have an image as the marginal and powerless communities. During the British rule, they were the traditional hunters, gatherers and nomads. They lived by cultivating at one place or even practised shifting agriculture. In the last 200 years, the Adivasis have been forced to live as construction labourers, plantation workers or joined industries. The government achieved this by enforcing forest policies, economic changes and applied political forces to achieve this. It was for the first time in history that these Adivasis had no control over their own land. 

Since 1930, the Adivasis from Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and adjoining areas started moving in huge numbers to plantations located in India and other countries such as Mauritius, the

The Caribbean and even Australia. The tea estates in Assam thrived because of this reason. Due to this, the state has over 70 lakh tribals. The event regarding the tribals’ migration is full of extreme torture, hardships and death. 

niyamgiri hills

It is a photo of Niyamgiri Hills located in Odisha’s Kalahandi district. An adivasi community named Donarria Konds occupy it. They consider this mountain sacred. A major Aluminium company has announced its plans to set up a refinery and mining plant here. Due to this, the Adivasi community would be displaced. They have protested strongly against this development and are supported by prominent environmentalists as well. They have also filed a case against the company before the Supreme Court which is pending currently. 

In order to get land for setting up industries and agriculture, the Government has ordered to clear the forest land for timber many times. Adivasis have continued to reside in these areas which is rich in minerals and other natural resources. The government has taken over these areas for mining and set up industries. The political forces have often harassed these tribals in order to evacuate them from the tribal land. Most of the times, while the government has taken away these land forcefully, they do not follow the required procedures. 

The official figures state that more than 50% of people who were displaced until now due to mining projects include tribals. Another survey states that around 79% of people displaced from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha are tribals. Due to the building of dams, huge  tracts of tribal lands have also gone under the water. Also their lands are militarised in the North East. 

Currently, our country has 104 national parks that covers a total area of 40,501 sq km. There are 453 wildlife sanctuaries that cover 118,918 sq km. In these areas, tribes resided originally but were forced to get evicted. When they continue to reside in these areas they are termed as encroachers. When these tribals are evicted, they not only lose their livelihood, but also traditions and customs which is their main identity. 

As the tribes lose access to forests along with the lands, they also end up losing main sources of livelihood and food. Due to this, they migrate to the cities for work where they get low wages at construction sites or industries. Due to this, they are caught in the cycle of deprivation and poverty. 35% of tribals in the urban areas and 45% tribes in the rural areas live under Below Poverty Line. Due to this, there is deprivation in other areas. Many tribal kids are malnourished. Illiteracy is prevalent among them. 

The social and economic dimensions of a tribal life are interconnected to each other. Destruction in one sphere is bound to impact the others in some way or other. The process of displacement and dispossession is often violent as well as painful.  

Minorities and Marginalisation

The Constitution of India provides safeguards to linguistic and religious minorities as a part of Fundamental rights. It is used to refer to those communities whose numbers are smaller as compared to the rest of the population. It encompasses access to resources, power issues, and has cultural and social dimensions. 

You have studied earlier that the Constitution of India recognised majority of culture influences in which a government and society may influence themselves. Due to this, the size would be a disadvantage and lead to the marginalisation of a community small in size. These laws protect against any discrimination or disadvantage a minority community could face. 

As the minorities have less population, the rest of the society may feel insecure about their living beings, lives or assets. If the relation between majority and minority community are fraught, a sense of insecurity may get accentuated. The  Constitution is committed to protect cultural diversity in India and promote justice and inequality. A citizen of India is free to approach the Court if she feels her rights have been violated. 

Muslims and Marginalisation

As per 2011 census, the Muslims constitute  14.2% of total Indian population. As compared to other communities, it is considered as a marginalised community. As compared to other communities, it is deprived of various socio-economic development. 

The following table depicts different religion having access to basic amenities according to 2007-08 data: 

Religious Community
Pucca House
Tap Water

Following table depicts literacy rate according to religion:


Public Employment of Muslims (percent)

Public Sector Unit
State PSU
Bank & RBI


The government recognised this fact that the muslims were lagging in terms of various development indicators. Considering this situation, it constituted a high level committee which was chaired by Justice Rajendra Sachar. It examined economic, educational and social status of Muslims in the country. 

The committee discusses the marginalisation of Muslim communities in detail. It states that on a range of economic, social and educational indicators, Muslim community’s situation is comparable to that of other marginalised communities such as SCs and STs. For example, the Report states that the average schooling of Muslim childreen between the age of 7 and 16 is low as cmpared to other communities. 

Muslims experience social and economic marginalisation in other ways as well. As compared to other cultures, Muslim practises and cultures are dominant. They are distinct from what you see in the mainstream. One may see Muslim women wearing Burqas, men having long beard, wearing fez and these become ways to identify all Muslims. Due to this, many people tend to think they are not one of us. This becomes an excuse for discrimination. Many Muslim families find it hard to get a house. They even have to face violence.   

Marginalisation is a complex phenomenon that needs a variety of measures, strategies, and safeguards to redress such situations. All of us need to protect the fundamental rights of others given in the Constitution. Without this, we will be unable to protect the diversity in India that makes our country unique. 


This chapter well explains what does it mean to be a marginalised community in India. There are different reasons why a particular community gets marginalised. They experience powerlessness, prejudice and disadvantages at several levels. 

Understanding Marginalization Question and Answers

Q1. Write in your own words two or more sentences of what you understand by the word ‘marginalisation’.

Answer. It is a process where fundamental rights of people of people are denied due to which their economic and social status gets lowered.

Q2. List two reasons why Adivasis are becoming increasingly marginalised.

Answer. The two reasons why Adivasis are becoming increasingly marginalised are:

  1. The Adivasis live in forest areas which are rich in minerals, timber, natural resources etc., which is under the control of the government.
  2. Their customs and traditions are different from the regular society.

Q3. Write one reason why you think the Constitution’s safeguards to protect minority communities are very important?

Answer. The Constitution’s safeguards are needed to protect the Fundamental rights of minority communities against the autocracies created by majority people so that they are not marginalised. 

Q4. Re-read the section on Minorities and Marginalisation. What do you understand by the term Minority?

Answer. The term ‘minority’ reforms to those social and religious people who are lesser numerically as compared to other societies. The Constitution of India has provided safeguards to protect the rights to linguistics and religious minority communities of the country. 

Q5. You are participating in a debate where you have to provide reasons to support the following statement: ‘Muslims are a marginalised community’. Using the data provided in this chapter, list two reasons that you would give.

Answer. According to the 2011 census, the literacy rate of the Muslims is 59%. It is the lowest as compared to all other religions in India. Apart from that, only 30% Muslims have access to electricity. All these facts state the Muslims are a marginalized community in India. 

Q6. Imagine that you are watching the Republic Day parade on TV with a friend and she remarks, “Look at these tribals. They look so exotic. And they seem to be dancing all the time”. List three things that you would tell her about the lives of Adivasis in India.

Answer. Adivasis are nomads and hunter-gatherers who have a deep knowledge of forests. They have their own traditions and customs. They make a living by practising shifting agriculture or sometimes even cultivate at one place. They consider their ancestors, nature, mountains, etc sacred.

Q7. Would you agree with the statement that economic marginalisation and social marginalisation are interlinked? Why?

Answer. Yes, economic and social marginalisation are interlinked to each other. If the tribals are evacuated from their lands, they not only lose their source of income but also their customs and traditions and their identity as well.

Extra Questions

Q1. Explain at least three different reasons why groups may be marginalised.

Answer. The three different reasons why groups may be marginalised are:

  1. They speak languages which are different from that of the majority of people.
  2. Their customs and traditions are different.
  3. They have low levels of literacy.

Q2. In your own city or village, who would you think are the marginalised groups? Discuss.

Answer. In the urban cities such as Delhi, people belonging to lower class groups, who do not have access to education or basic living amenities; migrate to cities to work at construction sites in low wages; those who are Muslims and other minorities are marginalised.  

Q3. What metals are important in present-day India? Why?

Answer. Metals such as Iron, Copper, Aluminium and Steel are essential for survival in the modern era. Materials used in daily life such as machines, utensils and furniture are made through these metals. They are also a source of livelihood for millions of people in India.

Q4. In your opinion, why is it important that Adivasis should have a say in how their forests and forest lands are used?

Answer. Adivasis are the original inhabitants of the forests. They have been living in those areas since a long time. Their customs and traditions are associated with the forests. They depend on forest lands for livelihood through agriculture. For them, forests, rivers, and mountains are sacred symbols. Therefore, it important that Adivasis should have a say in how their forests and forest lands are used.

Q5. Why do we need safeguards for minorities?