Minorities and Marginalisation

Minorities and Marginalisation


In chapter 1 we had studied that, constitution provides safeguards to religious and linguistic minorities as part of our Fundamental Rights.

  • The term minority is most commonly used to refer to communities that are numerically small in relation to the rest of the population. However, it is a concept that goes well beyond the numbers.
  • It encompasses issues of power, access to resources and has social and cultural dimensions.
  • In such cases, size can be a disadvantage and lead to the marginalisation of the relatively smaller communities.
  • Thus, safeguards are needed to protect minority communities against the possibility of being culturally dominated by the majority.
  • The Constitution provides these safeguards because it is committed to protecting India’s cultural diversity and promoting equality as well as justice.

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Muslims and Marginalisation

  • According to the 2011 census, Muslims are 14.2 per cent of India’s population and are considered to be a marginalised community in India today because in comparison to other communities, they have over the years been deprived of the benefits of socioeconomic development.
  • Muslims may wear a burqa, sport a long beard, wear a fez, and these become ways to identify all Muslims. Because of this, they tend to be identified differently and some people think they are not like the ‘rest of us’.
  • Often this becomes an excuse to treat them unfairly, and discriminate against them; but it should be done at any cost. Everyone is entitled to respect each other.


  • In this chapter we have tried to understand what it means to be a marginalised community.
  • We have tried to look at this through the experiences of different marginalised communities. There are different reasons for each of these communities being marginalised.
  • In India there are several more marginalised communities, like Dalits, of whom you will read more in the next chapter.
  • Marginalisation results in having a low social status and not having equal access to education and other resources.
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