"Public Policies and Empowerment of Marginalized
Section of the Society"
Centre for Distance Education
Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, 202002
Marginalization refers to the continuous process
whereby certain groups have been pushed to the fringes of society in political,
economic and social spheres. The marginalized voices were suppressed for ages
and excluded from meaningful participation in societies across the world. They
were exploited, oppressed and highly discriminated against and entangled by
manmade institutionalized laws and ideologies detrimental to their well-being.
They remained unheard or were heard intermittently or were subdued in the main
current of historical reconstruction. In the first phase, early nineteenth
century reformers from outside the exploited groups championed their cause,
valorized their voices and underlined the problems of the marginalized groups
such as women, indigenous minorities, ethnic and racially marginalized groups.
In the second phase the victims composed themselves to articulate the traumatic
and nightmarish experiences of their lives. In this ?stage of protest?, they
disregarded all the institutionalized bodies responsible for the perpetual
injustice and atrocities meted out in the past. As the main factors behind
marginalization are denial of access to power and vulnerability to social
exclusion, democratic politics and imperatives of social justice demand
policies and laws that empower the marginalized communities and provide
affirmative measures to their cause.
Empowering the Marginalized reveals the power of
demand-side approaches in enhancing governance through the concepts of
citizens? voice, accountability, and responsiveness. It seeks to provide
lessons on the establishment of social accountability mechanisms, thereby
empowering the marginalized, who represent a majority of society not only in
Asian countries, but in most developing countries worldwide. In the context of
what has been said above it may be asserted, that the current discourse of
"Empowerment of the Marginalized" has to propose some study or
critique of the earlier discourses of class struggle, caste conflict,
tribal-non-tribal conflict and, inter-gender conflict, if it aspires to be
positive and significant for the vast majority of our marginalized workers,
peasants and women, the sum total of whom literally constitute our mainstream.
In societies such as ours, where the entire social field, save a tiny centre,
remains marginalized, the idea of "Empowerment of the Marginalized"
has to be coextensive with full scale and all pervasive social transformation.
This entails religious, educational, social, political and economic changes
comparable to, yet surpassing, what have been termed the Renaissance,
Reformation, Enlightenment and, Industrial Revolution in the context of Central
and Western Europe. This conference will focus on the multiple problems faced
by marginalized groups like caste, tribal, ethnic, gender, racial etc and
understand the trajectories of their struggle to overcome social exclusion and
join the main stream.
The conference aims to understand the historical
and social formations of marginalized groups; social, cultural, religious and
political practices of marginalization processes, the different forms of
resistance used by the marginalized groups to seek social justice, and the
political and public policies & plans implemented by the public
administration to empower the marginalized communities. The objective is to
raise consciousness about the issues afflicting the marginalized groups. The
conference aims to probe into the conditions and factors perpetuating
marginalization. It aims to generate an academic debate and discourse to
further the goals of emancipation of the marginalized.
About Centre for Distance Education, AMU, Aligarh:
The Centre for Distance Education is an integral
part of the University and was established in 1988 at the Aligarh Muslim
Centre for Distance Education is an expression of
the University's concern and commitment for spread of education in all strata
of society and all parts of the country. An interesting observation is that the
desire and demand for education exists in many sections but due to the fact
that Colleges and Universities cannot accommodate beyond a particular limit,
many cannot find admission. There is also a large section of society which is
unable to participate in the normal stream of education due to occupational,
financial or social constraints. All these persons can get an opportunity to
derive the benefits of education through distance education. Adopting flexible
and innovative methods of education to ensure independent learning to anyone,
anytime and anywhere, the Centre offers programmes of the study that are
customized to meet the learning requirements of knowledge seekers as well as to
ensure that they learn at their own pace and convenience. Within the financial
means of University, due care has been taken to keep the cost of education low
so that educationally backward sections can take advantage of University's programmes.
Centre for Distance Education has a special commitment to the cause of Women's
education, particularly of the minority community, among those who are
educationally and economically deprived section.