Popular Struggles and Movements Class 10 Notes NCERT and MCQs

23-08-2023 17:14 PM IST Priyanka Chaudhary

This chapter discusses the various forms in which people groups and movements influence democracy and the different ways and organisations through which the citizens can play a role in democracy.

Popular Struggle in Nepal

Nepal is one of the third wave country that had won democracy in 1990. In 2001, King Birendra was killed, who had accepted the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy. The new king of Nepal, King Gyanendra, took the advantage of the weakness of the democratically elected government and dismissed the then PM and dissolved the government. Following this event, in 2006, a movement was witnessed in Nepal that aimed at regaining popular control over the government from king. Major political parties came together to form a Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and called for a 4-day strike in Kathmandu. The strike turned into an indefinite protest with Maoists and other organisations joining hands. The leaders of the movement demanded- Restoration of parliament, Power to an all party government and a new Constituent assembly.

On 24 April 2006, the king was forced to accept the demands. Girija Prasad koirala was chosen as the interim PM. The government passed the law to limit the powers of the king. This struggle is known as Nepal’s second movement for democracy.

NOTE:

Nepal is a landlocked country that shares its land boundary with India and China. Its capital is Kathmandu and the currency is Nepalese rupees.

Bidya Devi Bhandari is the President of Nepal and Sher Bahadur Deuba is the Prime Minister of Nepal.

Bolivia’s Water War

The World bank pressurized the government of Bolivia to end its control of municipal water supply. As a result, government passed on these rights for the city of Cochabamba to a MNC which increased the price of water by four times. This led to an immediate popular protest in the country. In January 2000, a new alliance FEDECOR was formed which organized 4-day general strike in the city. The government agreed to negotiate but nothing happened. In the following months, many strikes were organized and the government imposed martial law. Later on, the officials of the MNC left the city and government agreed to all demands of the protestors starting with cancelling of contract with the MNC. This movement came to be known as Bolivia’s water war.

NOTE:

Bolivia is a landlocked country in South America that shares its border with Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Its executive and legislative capital is La Paz and the constitutional and judicial capital is Sucre.

Luis Arce is the President of Bolivia. The currency of Bolivia is Boliviano.

Democracy and popular struggles

  • Democracy evolves through popular struggles.
  • Democratic conflict is resolved through mass mobilisation.
  • These conflicts and mobilisations are based on new political organisations.
  • In a democracy, people can mobilise in mainly two different ways:
    • Direct participation in competitive politics by making/joining political parties.
    • Indirect way by forming an organisation and undertaking activities to promote their interests or their viewpoints. These are called interest groups or pressure groups.

Pressure Groups

Pressure groups are organisations that attempt to influence government policies but unlike political parties, they do not aim to directly control or share political power.

These organisations are formed when people with common occupation, interest, aspirations or opinions come together in order to achieve a common objective.

There are two types of pressure groups:

Sectional Interest Groups

  • Usually, interest groups seek to promote the interests of a particular section or group of society.
  • Trade unions, business associations and professional (lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc.) bodies are some examples.
  • They are sectional because they represent a section of society: workers, employees, business persons, industrialists, followers of a religion, caste group, etc.
  • Their principal concern is the betterment and well-being of their members, not society in general.
  • Some organisations may represent some common or general interest that needs to be defended. The members of the organisation may not benefit from the cause that the organisation represents.

Public Interest Groups

  • Promotional groups or public interest groups promote collective rather than selective good. They aim to help groups other than their own members.
  • For example, a group fighting against bonded labour fights not for itself but for those who are suffering under such bondage.
  • In some instances, the members of a public interest group may undertake activity that benefits them as well as others too.

Movement Groups

  • A movement also attempts to influence politics rather than directly take part in electoral competition but unlike the interest groups, movements have a loose organisation.
  • Their decision making is more informal and flexible.
  • They depend much more on spontaneous mass participation than an interest group.
  • Narmada Bachao Andolan, Movement for Right to Information, Anti-liquor Movement, Women’s Movement, Environmental Movement are some examples.
  • Most of the movements are issue-specific movements that seek to achieve a single objective within a limited time frame.
  • Others are more general or generic movements that seek to achieve a broad goal in the very long term.
  • In India, Narmada Bachao Andolan is a good example of this kind of movement. The movement started with the specific issue of the people displaced by the creation of Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river.
    • Its objective was to stop the dam from being constructed.
    • Gradually it became a wider movement that questioned all such big dams and the model of development that required such dams.
    • Movements of this kind have a clear leadership and some organisation. But their active life is usually short.
  • These single-issue movements can be contrasted with movements that are long term and involve more than one issue. The environmental movement and the women’s movement are examples of such movements.
  • There is no single organisation that controls or guides such movements. Environmental movement is a label for a large number of organisations and issue-specific movements.
  • All of these have separate organisations, independent leadership and often different views on policy related matters.
  • Yet all of these share a broad objective and have a similar approach. That is why they are called a movement.

Political influence of Pressure groups

Pressure groups and movements exert influence on politics in a variety of ways:

  • They try to gain public support and sympathy for their goals and their activities by carrying out information campaigns, organising meetings, filing petitions, etc. Most of these groups try to influence the media into giving more attention to these issues.
  • They often organise protest activity like strikes or disrupting government programmes. Workers’ organisations, employees’ associations and most of the movement groups often resort to these tactics in order to force the government to take note of their demands.
  • Business groups often employ professional lobbyists or sponsor expensive advertisements. Some persons from pressure groups or movement groups may participate in official bodies and committees that offer advice to the government.

Relationship between political parties and pressure groups

  • In some instances, the pressure groups are either formed or led by the leaders of political parties or act as extended arms of political parties. For example, many trade unions and students’ organisations in India. Most of the leaders of such pressure groups are usually activists and leaders of a party.
  • Sometimes political parties grow out of movements. For example, when the Assam movement led by students against the ‘foreigners’ came to an end, it led to the formation of the Asom Gana Parishad.
  • Sometimes, the relationship between parties and interest or movement groups is not so direct. They often take positions that are opposed to each other. Yet they are in dialogue and negotiation. Movement groups have raised new issues that have been taken up by political parties. Most of the new leadership of political parties emerge out of interest or movement groups.

Negatives of Pressure Groups

  • It may seem that these groups wield power without responsibility. A democracy must look after the interests of all, not just one section.
  • These groups are not accountable to the people unlike political parties.
  • Sometimes, pressure groups with small public support but lots of money can hijack public discussion in favour of their narrow agenda.

Positives of Pressure Groups

  • Public interest groups and movements perform a useful role of countering any undue influence by rich and powerful and reminding the government of the needs and concerns of ordinary citizens.
  • The government gets to hear about what different sections of the population want. This leads to a rough balance of power and accommodation of conflicting interests.

Good to Know

  • Kittiko-Hachchiko: A people’s movement of Karnataka in 1987 against eucalyptus plantation by a company called Karnataka Pulpwood Limited. In this non-violent protest, people plucked the eucalyptus plants and planted saplings of trees that were useful to the people.
  • Maoists: Those communists who believe in the ideology of Mao, the leader of the Chinese Revolution. They seek to overthrow the government through an armed revolution so as to establish the rule of the peasants and workers.

 

MCQs based on NCERT Class 10 Political Science Chapter 5: Popular Struggles and Movements

1. Match List I with List II and select the correct answer using the codes given below the lists:

List I

List II

1. Pressure group

A. Narmada Bachao Andolan

2. Long-term movement

B. Asom Gana Parishad

3. Single issue movement

C. Women’s movement

4. Political Party

D. Fertilizer dealers’ association

 

 

1

2

3

4

a.

D

C

A

B

b.

B

A

D

C

c.

C

D

B

A

d.

B

D

C

A

Ans. a

Explanation:

The correct match is given below

List I

List II

1. Pressure group

D. Fertilizer dealers’ association

2. Long-term movement

C. Women’s movement

3. Single issue movement

A. Narmada Bachao Andolan

4. Political Party

B. Asom Gana Parishad

 

2. Which among the following is the special feature that distinguishes a pressure group from a political party?  

a. Parties take political stances, while pressure groups do not bother about political issues.

b. Pressure groups are confined to a few people, while parties involve a larger number of people.

c. Pressure groups do not seek to get into power, while political parties do

d. Pressure groups do not seek to mobilize people, while parties do.

Ans. c

Explanation:

Pressure groups are organisations that attempt to influence government policies but unlike political parties, they do not aim to directly control or share political power.

3. Consider the following statements about pressure groups and parties.

A. Pressure groups are the organised expression of the interests and views of specific social sections.

B. Pressure groups take positions on political issues.

C. All pressure groups are political parties.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

a. A, B, and C

b. A and B

c. B and C

d. A and C

Ans. b

Explanation:

Pressure groups are organisations that attempt to influence government policies. All pressure groups are not political parties. Pressure groups take positions on political issues. They do not aim to share the political power directly.

4. Organisations that undertake activities to promote the interests of specific social sections such as workers, employees, teachers, and lawyers are called ____ groups.

a. Sectional Interest Groups

b. Public Interest Groups

c. Political groups

d. Active groups

Ans. a

Explanation:

Organisations that undertake activities to promote the interests of specific social sections such as workers, employees, teachers, and lawyers are called sectional interest groups.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Popular Struggles and Movements

What is a pressure group?

Pressure groups are the organisations that are formed when people with common occupation, interest, aspirations or opinions come together to achieve a common goal.

Who are Maoists?

Maoists are those communists who believe in the ideology of Mao, the leader of the Chinese Revolution.

What is a movement?

A movement is a struggle launched for the resolution of a social problem with or without an organisational structure.

What are public interest groups?

Public interest groups are organisations that seek to promote common interest unlike sectional interest groups that seek to promote the interests of a particular section or group.
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