Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion: Muslim Nat Community in Bihar
This paper deals with understanding the conditions of Muslim Nat community with respect to their poverty, inequality and social exclusion in Paschim Champaran, Bihar. The methodology will be participant observation and interview schedule. Nat, a nomadic community is primarily involved in singing, rope dancing and juggling. H. H. Risley and R. V. Russell demonstrate that this marginalised community has multiculturalism as an important aspect of their society. The conditions of Marginalised sections in the wake of Globalisation have been discussed in detail in recent years by Dr Davindera, Manjur Ali, R. C. Swarankar, Ali Anwar and Linda E Lucas. However, these scholars have not taken into account the condition of their marginalisation, education and health belonging to Nat community in contemporary times. This paper brings into discussion the aspects of their deprivation of basic amenities, inequality and social exclusion which leads the foundation of their backwardness in the contemporary society. Historically, they are acrobat. They were traditionally patronized by the Rajput rulers. Nats were especially invited at the time of new born baby, marriage and on special occasions by the Jagirdars. After a passage of time and due to some factors, these skills have not been seen relevant to the contemporary society. This community have slowly shifted from being mere entertainers and now acts as labourer, rickshaw puller, contractual animal husbandry and agricultural labourers. They are illiterate and no facility for health care. Poverty makes them alienated from main stream society. Now, they are socially excluded and compelled to live in the subsistence way of life in Bihar. The enrolment ratio of Muslim Nat children is worst in schools and Madrasa in Paschim Champaran. The miserable socio-economic conditions faced by the Muslim Nat community on the one hand and the religious and socio-cultural fabric of the Muslim upper caste people do not want to see them empowered community.
Keywords - Muslim Nat Community, Poverty, Inequality, Exclusion, Mechanical Solidarity