The India Post, Chandigarh, 18th December, 2008 :Two days Conference of North West Indian Sociological Association (NWISA) began today in the ICSSR Complex of Panjab University in which nearly 60 delegates from the universities of all the states of North West India are taking part. They are deliberating on dimensions and forms of social exclusion and uneven development in India , particularly in the North West .
In his keynote address Prof. Paramjit Singh Judge, director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, GNDU Amritsar, said that the concept of ‘social exclusion’ has travelled to India from the West where it gained currency to mitigate racial, ethnic and other identity oriented discriminations. In India ‘social exclusion’ is used to address the problems of SC/ST, minorities and women besides HIV infected, etc. Though state is doing its own bit to get rid of the stigma of social discriminations but without the active intervention of civil society not much can be achieved, said Prof. Judge.
NWISA President Prof. B.K. Nagla, M.D. University, Rohtak is his presidential address highlighted the danger of both social and economic exclusion whereby tribals are employed as bonded labour in Punjab and Haryana agriculture. Dalits and tribals are engaged as domestic servants working under highly exploitative conditions. Though India is ‘shining’ as global player in the economic arena but the practice of social persecution is yet to be stamped out from the social fabric of India . To expect attitudinal change from the elites towards the socially excluded sections of society is a never ending dream, said Prof. Nagla. The real change would accrue from the institutional set up which is an uphill task.
Prof B.S. Brar, Director, ICSSR, North West Regional Centre in his remarks said that the conference should focus on the ‘marginalities’ that lie in between the continuum of exclusion-inclusion. Prof. K. Gopal Iyer, former professor of sociology, highlighted the travails of Bhakhra and Pong Dam oustees who have not been compensated for their loss even till today. Prof. Satish Kumar, Department of Sociology, H.P. University, Shimla in his paper on the Gandhi-Ambedkar debate on meeting out social justice to the Indian poor said that the collapse of Poona Pact weekend Ambedkar’s bargaining power and could not achieve his dreams.
Dr Vishav Raksha, Associate Prof. University of Jammu in her study on the scavengers in Jammu brought out that how even today the practice of removing night soil on head by dalit women is in vogue, much against the tall claims of the government that it no more exists. She also elaborated on the new forms of untouchability being openly practiced in old Jammu .
Earlier Prof. Sherry Sabharwal, Chairperson, Department of Sociology, P..U. welcomed all the delegates according to Professor Manjit Singh, Secretary, NWISA.