Social Movements part 1

Social Movements in India
An Analytical Framework
Beyond Globalization - CSM
Nature of Social Reality
• Multiple Social and Cultural Identities
• Hierarchical and Complex historical relations
• Unequal distribution of Resources and Power
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What is a Social Movement
• Hegemony and Contestation of various stakeholders
in a given social, cultural, economic and historical
context of relations
• An organized response to Rising Social Conflicts
emerging from Social Contradictions
• Political and Social Mobilization for staking claim to
power or material resources
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What do Social Movements try to Achieve
• Renegotiate power
• Reform/Transform the
social structure
• Mediate between social
and political space
through a policy
• Catalyze a new
class/social consensus
• Ignite emancipative
spark for subjugated
• Reorient policy from
Managerial to
Democratic and from
exclusive to inclusive
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Social Determinants of Movements
• Class Nature of Leaders, actors and
• Degree of political consciousness of
movement leaders, actors and stakeholders
• Political and Social context that can allow
flexibility and mobility of relations among
social sections
• Economic relations among conflicting classes
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Notions of Social Change in India
Pre-Colonial Processes
• Dissent
• Defiance
• Disobedience
• Self-infliction
• Shaming/honor
• Renunciation
• Ultimate Truth
• Transcendence
• Individual Path
Post-Colonial Processes
• Reaction
• Resistance/Dissent
• Reform
• Disagreement
• Engagement/Dialog
• Democratization
• Mass Mobilization
• Conscientization
• Radical Transformation
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Analytical Framework for Understanding
Process of Change
• Chronological Frame
• Non-Partisan (Grass
Roots) Political
Framework –
• Historical- Materialist and
Dialectical Framework
• Narratives of various
movements and their
linear growth
• Description of numerous
micro social actions weak
in direct/dialectical
relation to macro
• Growing Class
contradictions shaping
the historical forces of
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Movement in Chronological
Post contact processes for social
reform and re-organizing social
Based on Primordial Identities
Large Scale sectoral mobilization
having direct Influence on Macropolitical processes
Demand for democratic inclusion,
social justice and political space shaping and transforming the social
relations continuously
19th Century Reform movements
against Sati, Brahminic dominance,
ritualism, enlightenment/westernism
Early 20th Century Nationalist
Movement, Khilaphat, Muslim
League, Dalit Movement, Linguistic
Minorities, Regional Nationalities,
Ethnic Minorities
Late 20th century Movements by/for
various Castes, Cultural identities,
Regional & Religious groups,
nationalities, women etc for social
justice, equity and political rights
21st Century movements contention
for direct political power in Bourgeois
politics, resistance to neo-liberal
dispossession, environmentalism, as
well as movements from classes
loosing privileges
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Some Important Actors
• Ram Mohan Roy, Vidhya Sagar, Jyotirao Fule,
• Tagore, Gandhi, Arbindo, Anne Besent,
Dadabhai, M N Roy
• Ambedkar, Jinha, Nehru, Jaiprakash Narayan,
Vinoba, Lohia
• Mayavati, Tikkait, Lalu & Mulayam
• Medha, Bahuguna, Anna Hazare …
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Grass Root / Non Partisan Framework
• Plural, Diverse and Dispersed
• Micro Social Actions outside the
Party Political framework
• Contention for Political Space but
NOT for Political Power
• Empowerment through RIGHTS &
• Identifies with issue and revolves
around charismatic leadership
• Short Lifespan and weak
• Anti-Dam, Anti-Dowary, AntiNuclear, For Animal Rights,
Consumer Rights, Homo sexuality,
HIV, disabled etc. rights…..
• Coalition of Networks,
Mobilization/Resistance and
Solidarity Groups,
• International Advocacy, National
Policy Pressure Groups, Lobbyists,
Local Networks contributing to
define the discourse
• Expansion of Civil & Political
Rights to Cultural and
Environment Justice
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Some Examples
Narmada Bachao Movement – Medha
Chipko Movement – Sunderlal Bahuguna
Right to Information - Aruna roy
Anti- Corruption Movement - Anna Hazare
Anti-LPG movements in various parts of
country under multiple leadership
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• Social processes are historically shaped by given mode of
production and its relations
• Every mode of production develops its inherent Class
• Emerging class consciousness leads to resistance against
prevalent forms of unequal exchange and exploitation
• Ruling elite retaliates with counter hegemonic measures
which may include brute force, cultural and social
alienation or reification, reactionary and violent countermovements,
• The movement succeeds in generating more advance class
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Some Examples
• Communist revolutionaries in nationalist phase –
Bhagat Sing, Azad and others
• Communist Movements for Land struggles and
working class rights just before and after
independence – Telangana, Tebhaga, Textile
Workers strikes….under CPI/CPM leadership
• Revolutionary uprisings of peasants and tribal led
under M-L-M ideology under Naxalite leadership
• Armed and Guerilla anti-state warfare of Maoists
in current phase
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Colonization – A Turning point of
Indian History
• Colonization initiated the process of looking
• Forced the elite to compare native social
structures and Indian cultural values with
those of the West
• The quest for breaking with rigid and
inviolable social norms created internal
churning among the elite sections
• With gradual replacement from Feudal
mode of production to Industrial Mode of
production began the change in Economic
Relation and consequent Social
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National Movement - Mobilization of Classes &
Identities: Second Turning Point
• Existing differences and diversities of Castes, Religions and
Economic interdependence posed challenge
• The emerging Liberal Elite under Congress provided mature
and flexible framework of Social Consensus among various
sections of Indian Society.
• National Movement for Independence was fought under
hegemony of emerging elite with subaltern classes
providing the force and mobilization
• Gandhi used Non-violence (Dissent, Disobedience and
Defiance) which was the preferred ethos of vast majority
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Fractured Unity of Elite and the
• Power struggle among ruling factions belonging to
major religious groups
• Historical antagonism between the ruling classes and
the ruled who had lost the power under Colonial
domination and
• Fear of not being treated equally if the social structure
remains unchanged created deep fractures and
discomfort among Muslims and Dalits and their
autonomous organizations and organic leadership
• The social mobilizations generated new forms of
aspirations among Muslims and Dalits demanding
separate homelands
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Reorganization of the Geopolitical and
Social Boundaries
• The Indian subcontinent was redrawn on the
basis of religious divide creating TWO nation
states which had no historical precedence
• The emerging Nation State of India adopted a
Secular, Socialist and Democratic constitution
that guaranteed equality to all and a promise to
eliminate all forms of exploitation and
discrimination – another aspect having no
historical precedence.
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What did Nationalist Movement
• Ruling Classes established the hegemony during
the nationalist phase
• Communist revolutionaries remained at fringe
• The most oppressed section of Indian society, the
Dalits succeeded in forming an Autonomous
Identity based Social Movement with Dr.
Ambedkar emerging as their leader with
popularity only next to Gandhi.
• Elite Muslims left the country and the working
class Muslims were subdued.
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