Day 31 – Q. 3 In what ways have social movements and grassroots organizations contributed to the empowerment of marginalized communities? Explain with thhe help of suitable examples.

  • IASbaba
  • December 28, 2022
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GS 1, Indian Society, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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In what ways have social movements and grassroots organizations contributed to the empowerment of marginalized communities? Explain with thhe help of suitable examples.

हाशिए पर पड़े समुदायों के सशक्तिकरण में सामाजिक आंदोलनों और जमीनी स्तर के संगठनों ने किस तरह से योगदान दिया है? उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से व्याख्या कीजिए।


In  this question candidates need to write about what ways the social movements and grassroots organizations contributed to empowerment of marginalized communities, give some examples to explain it. 


Social movements are purposeful, organized groups striving to work toward a common goal. These groups might be attempting to create change, to resist change , or to provide a political voice to those otherwise disenfranchised . Social movements create social change and empowers marginalized communities .


Social movements often arise with the aim of bringing about changes on a public issue, such as ensuring the right of the tribal population to use the forests or the right of displaced people to settlement and compensation.

  • India has for the first time included marginalized communities as key focus areas in assessing the impact of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” While it is an urgent call with a global partnership recognising the ending poverty and deprivation such as reducing inequality, improving health and education.
  • When Raja Rammohun Roy campaigned against sati and formed the Brahmo Samaj, defenders of sati formed Dharma Sabha and petitioned the British not to legislate against sati.
  • Peasant movements have often been brutally suppressed. More recently the social movements of erstwhile excluded groups like the Dalits have often invoked retaliatory action. Likewise proposals for extending reservation in educational institutions have led to counter movements opposing them.
  • Peasant movements or agrarian struggles have taken place from pre-colonial days. The movements in the period between 1858 and 1914 tended to remain localised, disjointed and confined to particular grievances.
  • Well-known are the Bengal revolt of 1859-62 against the indigo plantation system and the ‘Deccan riots’ of 1857 against moneylenders.
  • Some of these issues continued into the following period, and under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi became partially linked to the Independence movement. For instance, the Bardoli Satyagraha(1928, Surat District) a ‘non-tax’ campaign as part of the nationwide noncooperation movement, a campaign of refusal to pay land revenue and the Champaran Satyagraha (1917-18) directed against indigo plantations.
  • The first organisation to be founded was the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha (1929) and in 1936 the AllIndia Kisan Sabha. The peasants organised by the Sabhas demanded freedom from economic exploitation for peasants, workers and all other exploited classes.At the time of Independence we had the two most classical cases of peasant movements, namely the Tebhaga movement and the Telangana movement (1946-51).
  • ‘new farmer’s movements began in the 1970s in Punjab and Tamil Nadu. These movements were regionally organized, were non-party, and involved farmers rather than peasants (farmers are said to be market-involvedas both commodity producers and purchasers).
  • Novel methods of agitation were used: blocking of roads and railways, refusing politicians’ and bureaucrats’ entry to villages, and so on. It has been argued that the farmers’ movements have broadened their agenda and ideology and include environment and women’s issues. Therefore, they can be seen as a part of the worldwide ‘new social movements’.
  • Middle class mass upheaval in Gujarat (popularly known as Navnirman movement) against corruption, price rise, unemployment, speculation,hoarding and black-marketing in 1974 was replicated in Bihar in the nameof Sampoorna Kranti Movement under the leadership of a Gandhian leader,Jay Prakash Narayan. The unprecedented strike of the railway workers gave proof of the political power of collective strength of the working class.
  • Tribal people’s struggles against destructive development which served the interests of the kulaks, moneylenders, contractors, bootleggers and indigenous industrialists thriving on the barbaric means of surplus extraction developed in Chhattisgarh, Singhbhoom, Bhojpur, Srikakulam, Chandrapur,Dhulia and in the pockets of the North Eastern states.
  • The tribal masses in Dhule region of Maharashtra demanded the Employment Guarantee Scheme in response to the 1974 drought paralysing normal agricultural activities. This historic demand revolutionised the thinking of the development workers about responsibility of the state at the time of economic crisis.

Grassroots organisations contributions for empowerment of marginalized communities –

  • They are the first point of contact and are closely connected to the marginalized community they work with. This enables them to build a relationship of trust
  • Deeper outreach of grassroots organizations and SHGs helps information dissemination easier. Moreover, most of them are women centric which provides opportunity to bring behavioral change since women have greater propensity to adapt towards environmental conservation.
  • The intermediaries provide structure and resources, such as training, research, or assistance with advocacy, to help establish and maintain various efforts.
  • Since local people are directly dependent on ecological resources such as forest produce, apiculture in local ponds, lakes, etc, they are more sensitive towards ecological conservation and should be given more authority of local development.
  • The Chipko Movement,an example of the ecological movement, in the Himalayan foothills is a good example of such intermingled interests and ideologies. A villagers rallied together to save the oak and rhododendron forests near their villages.
  • When government forest contractors came to cut down the trees, villagers, including large number of women, stepped forward to hug the trees to prevent their being felled. At stake was the question of villagers’subsistence.
  • Economics of subsistence was pitted against the economy of profit. Along with this issue of social inequality (villagers versus a government that represented commercial,capitalist interests), the Chipko Movement also raised the issue of ecological Cutting down natural forests was a form of environmental destruction that had resulted in devastating floods and landslides in the region.
  • Nazdeek -It is a legal empowerment organisation committed to bringing access to justice closer to marginalised communities in South Asia.they work with tea plantation workers, garment factory workers and slum dwellers who predominantly come from Dalit and Indigenous communities, to seek accountability from the government and employers.
  • Their model fuses grassroots legal education, community monitoring of service delivery, strategic research, advocacy and use of judicial and non-judicial remedies to advance socio-economic rights.
  • Adivasi Munnetra Sangam- ACCORD (Action for Community Organisation, Rehabilitation and Development) is an organization which began work in 1985 in the Gudalur Block of the Nilgiris District in Tamil Nadu, abutting the border with Kerala and Karnataka.
  • ACCORD built a cadre of Adivasi youth who in turn formed a community-based organisation, the Adivasi Munnetra Sangam (AMS), which has led protests for the recovery of land for the Adivasis which had been taken over by outsiders. Over the years, the organization has established itself as an important and effective voice for the protection of the Adivasis.


Social movements and Grass root organizations empowers of local people in governance. Involvement of local people, community, SHGs etc is important for empowerment of marginalized communities, environment conservation and sustainable development.

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