The relationship between democracy and civil society is not straightforward. Angry crowds can stymie the functioning of the democratic process, institutions, and governance. Drawing on recent Indian examples, this article sets out a typology of civil society movements in order to assess their impact on Indian democracy. It shows how an active civil society can become an entry point by means of which new leaders and issues can find a place in the heart of India’s noisy but effective democracy. On the whole, in India “rational” protest complements institutional participation, spreading the democratic message, empowering onetime outsiders, and making democracy more resilient.
India’s Democracy at 70: Civil Society and Its Shadow
Issue Date July 2017
Page Numbers 106-116