Social and Political Movements Class 10 Political Science Notes Maharashtra State Board
Political parties compete for political power. They win elections and try to resolve the problems of the common men. Political parties generally adopt a comprehensive perspective. They cannot concentrate on just one particular issue. From public cleanliness to space research, they have to take into consideration all matters from a national perspective and make decisions. Political parties are expected to have a programme for the problems of all sections of the society. Political parties adopt policies taking into consideration the interests of all – farmers, labourers, businessmen, women, youth, and senior citizens.
All the people in the society cannot participate in political parties and contribute to social welfare. Some people focus on a particular issue and pursue it. They organize people and try to pressure the government to resolve that issue. They constantly follow up on the issue, build public opinion about it and thereby put pressure on political parties and the government. This type of organized activity is called a movement. Organized activity is the essence of any movement. Such movements are very important in a democracy. Different social problems come under discussion through these movements. The government then has to pay attention to such problems. Leaders and activists of the movement provide necessary information about those issues to the government. This information is very useful for the government while making policies. Some movements aim at opposing a particular decision or policy of the government. The right to protest is considered an important right in democracy. However, this right needs to be used patiently and responsibly.
What is a Movement?
- A Movement is a collective action. People’s active participation is expected in the movement.
- A Movement can be formed when people come together in the interest of a particular issue, for eg. Pollution can be a single issue for which a movement can be created.
- A movement has a particular social objective or a focused problem. For eg. the Movement against Corruption aims to end corruption.
- Movements have a leadership. Leadership keeps the movement active. Objectives of the movement, programme of action, and strategy of agitation are decided by its leaders. Strong leadership makes movement effective.
- Movements have organizations. Without an organization, it becomes difficult to follow up on the issues. For eg. the Farmer’s organization works for the farmer’s movement.
- Any movement requires public support. People should feel connected to the issue that is undertaken by the movement. Movements have a programme of action that helps them to shape public opinion.
Generally, the movements are devoted to one particular issue but have an ideology behind them. For example, movements against child marriage and dowry believe in the values of democracy, women empowerment, and social equality. Sometimes some movements gradually get transformed into political parties. Civic problems need not originate only in the social sphere. They can emerge from any section of the society. In India, especially in Maharashtra, many social reform movements were started and society started getting modernized. Our struggle for independence was also a social movement. Issues like protecting the rights of the citizens, the right to vote, minimum wages, and economic security are the focus of political and economic movements. The Swadeshi movement is an important economic movement.
Important Movements in India
In the pre-independence period, the British government deprived tribal people of their right to livelihood on forest resources. There was a Tribal uprising in Kolam from Chota Nagpur, Gond from Orissa, Koli, Bhilla, and Ramoshi from Maharashtra, and Santhal and Munda from Bihar. The tribal struggle has continued since those years. Tribals in India face several problems. One major problem is that they are denied rights over forests. The main demand of the tribal movement is to accept their right over forests. They should be allowed to collect products from forests and also should have a right to cultivate on forest land.
Farmers Movement in India:
Farmers’ movement in India is important. During the British period, farmers started getting organized due to the anti-agriculture policies of the British colonial government. You must be aware of farmers’ movements in Bardoli, Champaranya, and movements against revenue collection. The farmer’s movements were inspired by the thoughts of Mahatma Phule, Justice Ranade, and Mahatma Gandhi.
Due to some reforms in agriculture (tenancy laws, laws relating to tilting of the land, etc) the farmer’s movement slowed down. After the Green Revolution, the farmer’s movement became more active and effective. Though the Green Revolution aimed at increasing agricultural production and achieving self-sufficiency in food grains, it did not benefit the poor farmers. The farmers were now divided into rich farmers and poor farmers. Dissatisfaction among the poor farmers led to the beginning of the farmer’s movement.
Appropriate prices for agricultural products, agriculture to be treated as an industry, implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, debt relief, debt cancellation, and national policy for agriculture are some of the demands of the farmer’s movement. Shetkari Sanghatana, Bharatiya Kisan Union, and All India Kisan Sabha are some of the important farmer’s organizations in India.
Trade unions in India emerged in the background of industrialization. The textile industry and railway companies were established in India in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 1899 railway workers went on strike for their demands. However, the first organization for resolving the issues of workers was established in 1920. This organization is known as the All India Trade Union Congress. In the post-independence period, Trade Unions started working more effectively. At the beginning of the 19th century, industries like textile mills and railway Companies were started in India. The trade union movement in India has the background of this industrialization.
In the 1960s and 1970s trade Union movement organized several agitations. But from the 1980s trade union movement started getting disintegrated. Globalization has affected the trade union movement to a great extent. In India, workers are facing different problems. Unstable employment conditions, contract labor, financial insecurity, absence of legal protection for workers, unlimited working hours, insecurity at the workplace, and health hazards are some of the problems.
In the pre-independence period, progressive men in India initiated the women’s movement. The women’s movement aimed at eliminating injustice against women and ending their exploitation, helping them to lead a respectful life and participate actively in social life. Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, Raja Rammohan Roy, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, Savitribai Phule, Maharshee Dhondo Keshav Karve, Pandita Ramabai, Ramabai Ranade took the initiative in ending the practice of Sati and child marriages. Reforms such as widow remarriage, women’s education, and the right to vote to women were possible due to the work of these reformists. After independence, the Constitution gave equal rights to women in all fields. Despite this women were not treated equally in several fields. During this period women’s movement aimed at freedom of women. The movement demanded that the women should be treated as human beings.
In the latter period, women participated to a great extent in the movements against corruption, caste discrimination, and religious extremism which made them aware of injustice against their selves. Women started taking the initiative in Organising against injustice. In India women’s movement is not homogeneous. However, women’s movements at various levels are taking up issues like women’s health, social security, financial independence, and empowerment. Today women’s movement faces the challenge of equal education for women and giving women status and prestige as human beings.
Dr Rajendrasinh Rana also known as ‘Waterman of India’ has brought the Water revolution in Rajasthan. He became famous because of building thousands of ‘Johad’ in Rajasthan. He revived rivers in the desert of Rajasthan. He formed an organization – ‘Tarun Bharat Sangh’ which worked to build eleven thousand Johad in hundreds of villages. All over India, he started a campaign for water conservation, revival of rivers, forest conservation, and wildlife conservation. His social movement has been active for the last 31 years. He won the Stockholm Water Prize, an award known as the ‘Nobel Prize for water’.
We are aware that environmental degradation is a serious problem at national and international levels. At the international level, several movements are working to stop the deterioration of the environment. We see a significant international cooperation in this field.
In India, many movements are working on different aspects of the environment. The environment movements are taking up issues like the protection of biodiversity, protection of different sources of water, protection of forests, green belts, pollution of rivers, use of chemicals and their ill effects, etc.
Consumer movement emerged in India after the Consumer Protection Act came into existence in 1986. This movement has a broad objective. The movement believes that each member of the society is a consumer. Due to the changing nature of social and economic systems consumers face different problems. Adulteration, increased cost of items, and fraud in weight and measures are some of the problems. The consumer movement works to protect consumers from such types of fraud. The movements increase the participation of people in public life. The post-1980 movements are called neosocial movements as their nature is different from the earlier movements. These movements are issue-based. It means they try to organize issue-based mass movements.
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