Social justice, equality and equity constitute the fundamental values of all modern societies. ‘A society for all’ must be based on social justice and respect for human rights and basic freedoms. Social inclusion and equity are essential principles of social justice. The goal of social inclusion is to ensure that individuals, groups, and communities participate fully in a meaningful way in society. Usually, individuals and groups are shaped by elements of identity such as race, gender, class, ability, sexuality (to name only some), which determine social inclusion and social exclusion in a society. Exclusion can rob individuals of dignity, security, and the opportunity to lead a better life. The costs of exclusion of disadvantaged groups whether social, political, or economic are likely to be substantial.
The economic and social issues which have created differences among the communities need to be bridged within the democratic, secular and constitutional framework. Social inclusion is the process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society. It is the ‘equality in qualitative sense’ i.e. to harness the values of human beings by practicing certain ethos. In this context, it is important to understand how public policy responds to the notions of ‘harmony’, ‘social cohesion’, ‘social justice and connectedness’, ‘social inclusion and exclusion’.
It is pertinent to reflect on Dr. Ambekar’s views on the aforesaid issues and concerns for a comprehensive understanding of the causes of conflict and social unrest in Indian society. The stream on ‘Social Justice: Equity and Harmony’ offers an opportunity to revisit Dr. Ambedkar’s invaluable insights, ideals and philosophy in locating contradictions in Indian society.