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Towards inclusion and equity

By Prakash Louis

Exclusion is the denial of control over natural resources; the denial of opportunities for healthcare, education, housing; the denial of the right to participation in social, economic, political and cultural life; the denial of human rights and human dignity. Because it is an institutionalised and socially/religiously sanctioned attempt to exclude, segregate or cast out a segment of the population, it is that much more difficult to change. But social exclusion is being challenged in India in multiple ways


Garbage as a metaphor

By Nityanand Jayaraman

There are many who claim that modern-day discrimination is based solely on economic terms, not on caste or communal lines. But the view from Kamatchi Devi's house in the Kodungaiyur garbage dump in Chennai is different. Where there is hazardous waste you will only find dalit and other backward castes. Like trash, some people are still considered disposable


1,001 battles: Converting dalit numbers into dalit strength

By Padmalatha Ravi

In 1,001 villages of Tumkur district of Karnataka, dalits are organising themselves to wrest back their lands, learn about dalit history, celebrate dalit identity and demand participation in local governance. They will not talk about their sufferings any longer, they say. They will not endure discrimination either


Caste is the cruellest exclusion

By Gail Omvedt

Caste is a form of social exclusion that is firmly entrenched because it is justified by religious scriptures. Brahmanic theory gave religious sanction to an unequal society. This article traces both the history of caste and the history of opposition to it


Dalit exclusion: The empirical evidence

By Sukhadeo Thorat

In 60% of Rajasthani villages surveyed, dalits are not hired to cook midday meals. In 25% of 555 villages surveyed nation-wide, dalits were paid less wages; in 35% they were not allowed to sell goods at village markets; and in 47% of villages they were not allowed to sell milk to cooperatives. No wonder dalits have lower human development and higher poverty levels


Caste is entrenched in the Indian diaspora

By Nikki Van Der Gaag

Caste permeates the Indian diaspora. In the US, large meetings are held to get young people from the same caste together. Jat pride and Jat nationalism are rampant in UK's popular bhangra music. Worst of all, caste discrimination amongst the Indian diaspora is a relatively recent phenomenon and getting stronger. As religious and ethnic identity become increasingly important, caste seems to be getting more entrenched


Giving adivasis a voice

By G N Devy

The 80 million adivasis and 60 million de-notified tribes in India are possibly amongst the most excluded communities. How should their exclusion be addressed, even as their language and culture are protected? This article documents how the Bhasha Institute, which was set up to record and preserve adivasi languages and oral traditions, moved on to address other needs, from education to food security and from craft to credit


Queer azadi

By Siddharth Narrain

The Pride marches in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai this year marked the coming of age of a more confident and open queer community in India. It has taken many years of patient organising to reach this far. Whether it is mobilising the community, working on legal reform, speaking out in the media, or advocacy efforts with the government, the LGBT movement has gradually worked towards making this an issue that people cannot ignore any longer


Tamil Nadu pioneers transgender inclusion

By Anupama Sekhar

The 300,000-strong community of transgenders in Tamil Nadu, until recently ghettoised and reduced to begging or doing sex work, has won major battles for inclusion, notable among which is a special 'third gender' category for transgenders on ration cards. Transgender icons such as television host Rose and Noori of the South India Positive Network have found a new visibility in the media. The cloak of invisibility transgenders have worn for generations is slowly slipping, and it is community-based organisations that are driving the change



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