ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Human Rights Movement in India

The civil and democratic rights movement in India, with its very obvious influences drawn from western democracies, had rather fortuitous beginnings in India. From a largely limited activist base from the emergency period of the 1970s, it has since moved into newer areas, with newer sources of support especially among more marginalised sections. But the movement, unlike its counterpart in the west, remains constantly challenged by prevailing complexities of the political process. The emergence of newer identities and shifting quality of these identities shaped by the very nature of politics and electoral processes in India coupled with the paucity of similar experiences in western liberal democracies, ensures that civil and democratic rights movement has to often formulate its own responses, make its own theoretical and conceptual innovations to meet such challenges.

Governance and the Pluralisation of the State

The state has been pluralised and now shares power with sub-national governments, proliferating forms of network and partnership organisations, a variety of quasi-public and private organisations, NGOs and international agencies and other forms of supranational governance. What remains of the significance or meaning of the liberal democratic notion of the state as the undisputed centre of political aspirations and its task of pursuing the collective interest when it has been itself enmeshed in a number of organisations? How do we democratise bodies that are out of the reach of representation? How do we ensure that democratic procedures take into account background inequalities? Governance in other words has thrown up major challenges for the liberal democratic project and we need to think this through. Or should we raise new questions for the project of governance itself?

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