The researchers argues for a re-classification of civil rights activism as ally activism and contends that ally activism needs to be understood on its own terms to reveal their role in democratic deepening within South Asia.
Ankita Pandey, Associate Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
In this paper, the researcher proposes a different classificatory lens to analyse the collective action of civil rights groups in India. To date, this collective action has been variously classified as ‘non-party groups,’ ‘macro initiatives’ for grassroots groups, ‘action groups or support groups,’ as part of an emergent new left citizen’s initiatives, but mostly as a ‘social movement’ or ‘human rights movement.’
These differences in classification are not due to a considered disagreement; but because this activism is acutely understudied. Examining the history of such groups and the activist interviews that Dr. Ankita Pandey conducted, she argues for a re-classification of civil rights activism as ally activism i.e. they are allies of several, rather than a party to any particular social movement. Ally activism needs to be understood on its own terms to reveal their role in democratic deepening within South Asia.
Social movements are complex entities composed of networks of groups and organisations that support them. These multiple actors work as a collective as well as simultaneously in different arenas. Personal histories and analysis of these multiple actors such as allies are vital to understand the social movement ecology. Previous classifications of civil rights groups as social movement has not facilitated such research, according to Dr. Pandey. Recognising civil rights groups as the first organised platform of the middle class, civil society based, ally activism in Independent India opens up several possibilities for future research, she says.
Published in: Oxford Development Studies
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