The new social movements in post independence period made an important beginning in awakening the society against injustices and deepened the very notion of democracy in India. Discuss.

India has had a tradition of social movements since colonial times in the form of the “Renaissance” movement as well as the freedom struggle. New social movements in the post-independence period strengthened democracy  and awakened society against rising injustice in many ways:

  • Chipko movement (1972) in Uttarakhand led the fight for forest conservation under Sunderlal Bahuguna. It prevented the commercialization of forests and ensured local management of forest resources.
  • Movement for Right to Information by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan led to the enactment of the RTI act, leading to greater transparency and accountability in governance and deepening of democracy through people’s participation.
  • Anti Arrack movement in Andhra Pradesh led to women’s fight against the illicit liquor trade and liquor consumption by men.
  • Dalit Panthers movement (1970s) led to an awakening among Dalits to fight against the oppression imposed by upper castes and also led to the enactment of the Prevention of Atrocities Act (1989).
  • Narmada Bachao Andolan (1990s) led to fight for peasant and tribal rights against land alienation and submergence of forest land.

Thus these new social movements brought hitherto voiceless people into the mainstream and deepened democracy by airing their grievances. Redressal of these grievances ensured political solutions, instead of violence.


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