Over the last 25 years, civil society has come to be seen as the counterpoint to non-performing governments, indifferent political parties, and hierarchical bureaucracies. But crucial issues related to democracy and livelihoods are the responsibility of the state, not civil society, writes Neera Chandhoke
Civil society has managed to push through far-reaching legislations on dowry, domestic violence, sex ratios and other issues related to women, says women’s rights activist Kamla Bhasin. But, however progressive, legislation alone cannot be expected to change patriarchal mindsets
Mohalla committees and occasional workshops for the police and communities do work to promote communal harmony. But why haven't the Hindu-Muslim ties among ordinary people, ties that have survived the worst riots, been harnessed, asks Jyoti Punwani. Is there such a total disconnect between what is called ‘civil society’ and the people it seeks to represent?
Democratic processes in our country are being dismantled, feels Dunu Roy, who has been working with the issues of displacement, urban habitat, and pollution for the last four decades. Citizens are being replaced by coteries of bureaucrats and the technocrats who run CSOs
Following globalisation, states have been reduced to handmaidens of the investor class, says Aseem Shrivastava. Interceding between the state/corporations and the public are layers of NGOs, many of which are converting the million mutinies of contemporary India into harmless ‘partnerships’ with corporations or state