PresenterSoren Ram Kishor - All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Centre for Community Medicine, New Delhi, India
Panel38 – Adivasis and Adivasi Studies
The two most marginalized and vulnerable communities of our country and social work “the work carried out by trained personnel with the aim of alleviating the conditions of those people in a community suffering from social deprivation”. But surprisingly, as a country it took us more than half a century after the initiation of social work as a discipline, to have a much needed specialized academic focus dedicated solely to dalit and tribal social work.
Before getting into that, it becomes relevant to discuss these two categories of dalit and tribe. The word ‘Dalit’, among many other words, is used to refer to a community in our country who has been systematically denied the basic human rights and dignity since the advent of caste Hindu society. They are the communities who do not even fall under the purview of the Hindu caste hierarchy. They are considered lower than the lowest caste in the hierarchy. They have been historically referred to as ‘untouchables’; a word that is very representative of the kind of treatment that was dolled out to them by the ‘upper castes’.
The majority of their population do not just face abject poverty and related issues like lack of education, poor health conditions, but they also have to face severe social stigma. Ours has been a society that has constantly obstructed the upward mobility of these communities in a socio-economic sense. Thus, to look at their problems from Eurocentric lenses leads to a narrow focus on only the economic deprivati