Civil Society and Political Movement
- Civil society, Faced to the centralised power of the State, first has a role of enabling the hitherto voiceless and unorganised communities interests to be represented. In other term, the sphere of civil society has a goal of empowerment for local communities. In that specific function, civil society can be considered as a “space” that is free and accessible to everybody.
- Civil society can also be considered as a “movement” that has to influence public negotiation on public issues like health, education or security. Contesting the frameworks of development programs, criticising the long-term effect of a large displacement of people are examples of this vision of civil society as a contestation movement.
- Civil society finally has a role of “ensuring the accountability” of the State in different spheres. Ensuring the right to access to information is a first step into the State accountability, in a country where the Official Secret Act predominates. In a more general way, civil society has the monitoring function of holding “the law and order machinery accountable”. This function implies the control of political parties and electoral process, the control of local bodies etc.
Civil Society and Political movement in India
- India is a civilized country with rich cultural heritage. With the advent of the Britishers, western values entered in this society. There was a conflict between the modernity and age old traditional values. While some blindly followed the modern life of the west, revivalists like Dayananda and Vivekananda wanted to reform the Hindu tradition making it suitable to modern period.
- Western values of liberalism, individualism, and constitutionalism made its inroad to Indian society by which it became politically conscious and vigiland. British imperial rule economically ruined India and weakened the rising Indian nationalism with the policy of ‘divide and rule.’ The germ of communalism entered into the society finding its naked expression in post-independent India. After independence, the new ruling class wanted to make India prosperous at par with other developed nations of the world.
- People want to protect their interest through group engagements and interactions in post-independent India. Indian civil society becomes more effective with the civic virtues and also acquires the capability to organize itself independent of state authority. Individual rights and liberties are safeguarded; a number of autonomous associations are created within the state.
- The harmonious co-existence of both the state and the civil society safeguards the interest of both the government and the citizens. The democratic nature of the Indian civil society is reflected in the formation of a democratic state along with the implementation of a democratic constitution.
- There is occasional rise of conflict between the civil society and the state as the demands and expectation of the society are not fulfilled. Occasionally, state also ignores the interests of the majority and intervenes into the sphere of the civil society. As a welfare state, India is expected to ensure social justice along with economic growth. A number of schemes are adopted for the eradication of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, malnutrition etc. With the expansion of state functions, too much bureaucratization becomes the order of the system with its ugly faces of corruption, red tapism etc. Indian civil society raises its voice against such development.
- More and more importance is given to decentralisation of power, people’s participation in the process of administration and to ensure transparency in administration with the right to information. However, regional disparity in economic development and persistent neglect of certain genuine grievances lead to the emergence of secessionism. Rise of terrorism, criminalisation of politics, communalism, casteism are other threats to Indian civil society.