Like in other democratic countries, in India too there are many interest/pressure groups. These are of various kinds. There are pressure groups based on traditional social structures.
There are groups like Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Sanathan Dharma Sabha, Parsee Anjuman, and Anglo-Indian Christian Association. Then, there are the caste groups such as the Brahmin Sabha, the Nair society, and the language groups (such as the Tamil Sangh, the Anjuman-e-Terraqi-e-Urdu).
You may find other types of interest groups that may include bodies such as the Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) or those related to workers and peasants like All India Trade Union Congress, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the Kisan Sabha, etc.
There are, for example, the institutional groups such as the Civil Services Association or the Non-Gazetted Officers’ Union. At times, you may observe that there are groups like the All Assam Student’s Union asking for the establishment of a college in rural areas.
Civil Society Organizations:
A New Form of Mass Pressure Tactics in India India has a very large number of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), that is, organizations established by citizens of the country, to pursue certain interests.
Many of these organizations act as pressure groups on the government, to promote the implementation of policies in their areas of concern. These organizations are run by ordinary persons who feel strongly committed to certain issues.
Many ordinary persons come together informally or formally to share their feelings about different issues and prevailing social injustice.
Civil Society is an interface between the state and the individual. Civil Society Organizations broadly refer to the active participation and engagement of men and women in groups – associations, organizations, voluntary agencies on the issues of common concern like environmental protection, price rise, prevention of corruption, etc.
The 21st century witnessed the active involvement of people through civil society organizations which could be seen in a number of protest movements across the country. People take up issues of gender discrimination, child labor, street children and so on, and contribute through individual and collective action.
Such organizations are able to mobilize public opinion because these issues are relevant to many people in society. Some of the Civil Society Organizations include Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS, Rajasthan), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), National Alliance of Women’s Organizations (NAWO), Medico Friends Circle (MFC), and many others.
Such organizations put pressure on the government for changing policies on many important issues such as corruption, human rights, the livelihood of different people, environmental protection, women empowerment, educational and health issues.
Civil Society Organizations help to reach out to many people. They provide a channel for people to express their grievances and also work constructively for the change. They point out when the government is not fulfilling its promises to the nation.
They attract idealistic and committed young people, even acting as a space for teaching and learning ‘good citizenship’. Good citizens are vigilant and alert. Civil Society Organizations are formed by such vigilant citizens.
Many of them struggle for the larger social good, often sacrificing their own comfort, time and energy. Some important leaders of Civil Society Organizations in recent times include Aruna Roy (Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan), Ela Bhatt (SelfEmployed Women’s Association), Medha Patkar (Narmada Bachao Andolan) and Anna Hazare (India Against Corruption).
All these organizations involve a large number of people who struggle to bring about changes in State policies. Many of the organizations and groups believe in following non-violent methods.
Also read: 42nd session of the Human Rights Council