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Engaging with Social Exclusion in India

Narender Kumar

Edited by Paramjit S. Judge
Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2014, pp. VIII 290, Rs. 745.00


Social exclusion is gaining attention due to its inclusive character. It is being used as an umbrella term for various kinds of inequalities, discriminations and deprivations. The study tries to look into the theoretical underpinnings of the concept in the Indian context and provides empirical evidences of social exclusion based on caste, religion and borderlands.   The editor brings into focus three aspects of social exclusion in the introduction: firstly social exclusion as embedded in structures, next, it being a dynamic process and finally its normative practice. Judge asserts that this concept is entirely different from the Marxian notion of exploitation that is a consequence of ‘appropriation of surplus value and causing pauperization’. The dynamism prevalent in the concept is reflected when objectivity gets manipulated by subjectivity, making the exclusion dynamic as human beings have ‘likes, dislikes, preferences, biases, stereotypes, prejudices and intentions.’   Harish Puri invokes the Constitution of India as its commitment was to lessen exclusion but argues that after 1991, the issues of divisive and exclusionary consequences became more visible and challenging. He puts a moral question and expects the teachers to play their role not merely through research ‘but also through the critical examination of their moral preferences and actions as teachers.’ B.K. Nagla taking a comprehensive view of exclusion argues that social exclusion is not solely attitudinal, rather it remains embedded in the social structure; and if attitude changes it may not lead to change in the social structure that reinforces social exclusion. While Nagla focuses on the process of globalization Vivek Kumar focuses on a community i.e., the dalits and argues that dalits have been the sufferers of the worst kind of exclusion that is not only cumulative and collective in nature but also has a history spanning a millennium. Instead of finding fault with Ambedkar’s approach in addressing the social exclusion of dalits, that is usual in academic circles, he argues that due to the special provision of reservation Indian democracy has got strengthened. The table drawn on page 69-70 is an exhaustive reflection that represents various forms of exclusion of dalits. Looking into the post-Ambedkar period, Meeta Rajivlochan and M. Rajivlochan point towards the non-political roots existing in the BAMCEF (Backward and Minorities Communities Employees Federation) organization. They argue that an organization without any funding from external sources and maintaining its consistency for around forty years and addressing the issues of social ...

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