A special talk was conducted at IIM Indore on November 14, 2019 on the topic ‘Leaving No One Behind: The Need for Social Inclusion’. Dr. Lilavati Krishnan, Retired Professor, Humanities & Social Sciences, IIT Kanpur was the speaker. Professor Radha Ladkani, Chair, IPM & Faculty, IIM Indore welcomed the guest and gave an introduction of the topic.
Dr. Krishnan began her talk saying that everyone has his or her own way and understanding of living, facing problems and solving them, making everyone different from one another. ‘Social inclusion has become one of the core issues in discussions of social problems in contemporary Indian society.
The two concepts of inclusion and exclusion are inextricably related and include keeping out or leaving behind certain individuals groups or sections of society, or denial of certain rights or opportunities or resources or having a voice in decision making which are normally available to a members of a society and which are fundamental to society integration or might be closely associated with poverty and deprivation, diversity in society or minority and voiceless groups.’, she said.
Discussing that women also have faced social exclusions and now attempts are been made to include them, there are other sections as well in the society who’re excluded and there are questions that need to be taken care of. ‘Identity crisis, about who a person is, leads to cultural devaluation of people based on who they’re or who they’re perceived to be. Marginalisation is a form of social exclusion and the two terms are sometimes used synonymously’, she said. She added that such discrimination can lead to lowering the self-esteem of a person as well.
Sharing that social inclusion is the process of improving the terms of individuals and groups to take part in the society, she said that there are certain segments which are stigmatised or marginalised. The way they speak or look, or if someone in their previous generations has been criminalized, the entire family is treated differently even after reformation.
‘There has been a shift in focus for exclusions from poverty to other things like Hindu caste system, someone being physically or mentally challenged, transgender or minorities—and these are socially deprived and disadvantaged. Also special groups like untouchables or engaged in works considered unclean or working on cremation grounds or widows, or people with certain kinds of mentally illness persons are not treated equally’, she said.
Dr. Krishnan said that even though exclusion and inclusion might seem natural and happen simultaneously, exclusion may also be a form of rejection of or withdrawal from persons who appear different or an expression of greater power or superiority.
‘However, a positive side of exclusion is that it may help the ‘excludeds’ form their own group and keep the earlier ‘excluders’ out.’ she said while citing
some examples of social inclusion strategies – groups for orphaned abandoned or malnourished children and various voluntary groups which provide community services without any conditions imposed on recipients.
Dr. Krishnan then concluded her talk suggesting that such exclusions need to be taken care of, and the effective ways for this include organizing community events and transmitting the message through mass media especially films- which would help in developing this from micro to the macro levels.
The talk concluded with a Q&A session and was very helpful for all the IPM Participants, faculty and staff members of the Institute.