From Agitation to Political Autonomy: Interlinks in Three Movements in a Northern Province of India

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Rajesh MISRA , University of Lucknow, University of Lucknow, Lucknow, India
This paper attempts explore the impending continuities in people’s mobilization by identifying the inter-linkages in three contemporary movements in a northern province (Uttara-khand) of India. In an empirical study of the three movements; the movement against felling trees (chipko i.e. hugging trees), the movement against alcoholism (Sharab-bandi), and the movement for a separate hill state, it has been found that these movements are entwined in terms of issues, leadership, organizations and ideologies. The present paper highlights the role of the middle class in contributing to evolve and articulate the issue/demand of the protection of a customary right of the local populace into a demand of political autonomy and the right to self-development of a regional community. Secondly, the paper focuses on pathways of the growth of specialized organizations from a spontaneous rise of a people’s groupings. Thirdly, the paper explains the nature and role of leadership and intelligentsia in creating and articulating symbols, discourse and narratives of a distinct identity. Furthermore, it also pinpoints the role of middle class youth in dissemination of partial and total ideologies and debates which engender the conditions of mass awakening and thereby broadening the public sphere and rousing people to provide a critique and organize unremitting struggles. The assiduous mass mobilizations by way of intensifying issues/demands, strengthening organized efforts and upgrading ideological inputs has produced conditions for civil society to collectively engage against state and eventually increasing people’s space i.e. moving a step forward in democratization.