Chapter 7 Rise of Popular Movements Class 12 Political Science Notes

Class 12 Political Science Notes Chapter 7 Rise of Popular Movements will help in developing techniques and methods to understand the chapter in a efficient way. It is quite easy to retain the answers once you are fully aware of the concept thus Revision notes can be beneficial for you. NCERT Solutions for Chapter 7 Rise of Popular Movements are prepared by our experts that try to provide all round clarity of questions.

Chapter 7 Rise of Popular Movements Class 12 Political Science Notes

Chapter 7 Rise of Popular Movements Class 12 Political Science Notes

Nature of Popular Movements

• In the 1970s, diverse social groups like women, students, Dalits and farmers came together under the banner of various social organisations to voice their demands.

• These assertions marked the rise of popular movements or new social movements in Indian politics.

Chipko movement

• In early 1973, men and women from a village of Uttarakhand were protesting against the practices of commercial logging that the government had permitted.

• The movement started in two or three villages of Uttarakhand when the forest department refused permission to the villagers to fell ash trees to make agricultural tools.

• The forest department allotted the same patch of land to a sports manufacturer for commercial use. This enraged the villagers and they protested against the move of the government.

• When the tree cutters tried to cut trees, people put their arms around the trees and refused to move. The struggle soon spread across many parts of the Uttarakhand region. Larger issues of ecological and economic exploitation of the region were raised.

• Women’s active participation in the Chipko agitation was a very novel aspect of the movement.

Party based movements

• Popular movements may take the form of social movements or political movements and there is often an overlap between the two.

• These movements did not participate in elections formally and yet they retained connections with political parties, as many participants in these movements, as individuals and as organisations, were actively associated with parties.

• These links ensured a better representation of the demands of diverse social sections in party politics.

Non-party movements

• These movements are based on the loss of faith in existing democratic institutions or  electoral politics.

• Students and young political activists from various sections of the society were in the forefront in organising the marginalised sections such as Dalits and Adivasis.

• They did not contest elections at the local or regional level nor did they support any one political party.

Dalit Panthers

• Dr. Ambedkar’s vision of socio-economic change and his  struggle for a dignified future for Dalits outside the Hindu caste-based social structure made him remains an iconic and inspirational figure in much of Dalit liberation writings.


• Dalit Panthers was a militant organisation of Dalit Youth to be formed in 1972 in  Maharashtra.

• In the post-independence period, Dalits were mainly fighting against the perpetual caste based inequalities and material injustices that the Dalits faced in spite of constitutional guarantees of equality and justice.

• Effective implementation of reservations and other such policies of social justice was one of their prominent demands.


• Activities of Dalit Panthers mostly centred around fighting increasing atrocities on Dalits in various parts of the State.

• The government passed a comprehensive law in 1989 that provided for rigorous punishment for atrocities against Dalits.

• The larger ideological agenda of the Dalit Panthers was to destroy the caste system and to build an organistation of all oppressed sections like the landless poor peasants and urban industrial works along with Dalits.

• The movement provided a platform for Dalit educated youth to use their creativity as a  protest activity.

• In the post-Emergency period, Dalit Panthers got involved in electoral compromises; it also underwent many splits, which led to its decline. Organisations like the Backward and Minority Communities’ Employees Federation (BAMCEF) took over this space.

Bhartiya Kisan Union

• The social discontent in Indian society since the 1970s was manifold.

• Agrarian struggles of the 1980s is one such example where better off farmers protested against the policies of the state.


• Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), an organisation of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana regions was one of the leading organisations in the farmers’ movement of the 1980s.

• The BKU demanded higher government floor prices, abolition of restrictions, guaranteed supply of electricity and the provision of a government pension to farmers.


• Activities conducted by the BKU to pressurise the state for accepting its demands included  rallies, demonstrations, sit-ins, and jail bharo (courting imprisonment) agitations.

• The organisation used traditional caste panchayats of these communities to bring them  together over economic issues.

• Until the early years of 1990, the BKU distanced itself from all political parties. It operated as a pressure group in politics with its strength of sheer numbers. The organisation, along with the other farmers’ organisations across States, did manage to get some of their economic demands accepted.

• Like BKU other organisation of farmers were Shetkari Sanghatana of Maharashtra and Rayata Sangha of Karnataka.

Anti-Arrack Movement

• Anti-Arrack Movement was a spontaneous mobilisation of women demanding a ban on the sale of alcohol in their neighbourhoods.


• In the early 1990s, the women of Dubagunta in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh had enrolled in the Adult Literacy Drive on a large scale.

• Women in Nellore came together in spontaneous local initiatives to protest against arrack and forced closure of the wine shop.

• The news spread fast and women of about 5000 villages got inspired and met together in meetings, passed resolutions for imposing prohibition and sent them to the District Collector.


• The slogan of the anti-arrack movement was simple—prohibition on the sale of arrack.  But this simple demand touched upon larger social, economic and political issues of the  region that affected women’s life.

• This movement openly discussed the issues of domestic violence like dowry, sexual violence,  etc.

Narmada Bachao Andolan

Sardar Sarovar Project

• This Project was an ambitious Project launched in the Narmada Valley of central India in the early phase of 1980s. The project consisted of 30 big dams, 135 medium sized and around 3,000 small dams to be constructed on the Narmada and its tributaries that flow across three state of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

• Sardar Sarovar Project is a multipurpose mega-scale dam. Its advocates say that it would benefit huge areas of Gujarat and the three adjoining states in terms of availability of drinking water and water for irrigation, generation of electricity and increase in agricultural production.

• Issues of relocation and proper rehabilitation of the project-affected people were first raised by local activist groups.

• Around 1988-89, the issue crystallised under the banner of the NBA (Narmada Bachao Andolan) - a loose collective of local voluntary organisations.

Debates and struggles

• It demanded that there should be a cost-benefit analysis of the major developmental  projects completed in the country so far. the movement argued that larger social costs of  the developmental projects must be calculated in such an analysis.

• The protest was shifted from its initial demand for rehabilitation to total  opposition to the dam. A comprehensive National Rehabilitation Policy formed by the government in 2003 can be seen as an achievement of the movements like the NBA.

Lessons From Popular Movements

• Popular movements helps us to understand better the nature of democratic politics.

• These movements came up to rectify some problems in the functioning of party politics and should be seen as integral part of our democratic politics. They represented new social groups whose economic and social grievances were not redressed in the realms of electoral politics.

• These movements ensured effective representation of diverse groups and their demands. This reduced the possibility of deep social conflict and disaffection of these groups from democracy.

• Critics of these movements often argue that collective actions like strikes, sit-ins and rallies disrupt the functioning of the government, delay decision making and destabilise the routines of democracy.

• The relationship between popular movements and political parties has grown weaker over  the years, creating a vacuum in politics.

Movement for Right to Information

• The movement for Right to Information (RTI) started in 1990, when a mass based organisation called the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) in Rajasthan took the initiative in demanding records of famine relief work and accounts of labourers.

• In 1994 and 1996, the MKSS organised Jan Sunwais or Public Hearings, where the administration was asked to explain its stand in public.

• In 1996 MKSS formed National Council for People’s Right to Information in Delhi to raise RTI to the status of a national campaign.

• In 2002, a weak Freedom of Information Act was legislated but never came into force. In 2004 RTI Bill was tabled and received presidential assent in June 2005.
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