NCERT Textbook - Popular Struggles and Movements Class 10 Notes | EduRev

Social Studies (SST) Class 10

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 Page 1


Popular Struggles and Movements
57
Chapter 5
Popular
Struggles and
Movements
Overview
In the earlier chapters we discussed why power sharing is important
in a democracy and how different tiers of government and various
social groups share power. In this chapter we will carry this discussion
further and see how those who exercise power are constrained by the
influence and pressure exerted on them. Democracy almost invariably
involves conflict of interests and viewpoints. These differences are
often expressed in organised ways. Those who are in power are required
to balance these conflicting demands and pressures.  We begin this
chapter with a discussion of how struggles around conflicting demands
and pressures shape democracy. This leads to an analysis of the
different ways and organisations through which ordinary citizen can
play a role in democracy. In this chapter, we look at the indirect ways
of influencing politics, through pressure groups and movements.
This leads us in the next chapter to the direct ways of controlling
political power in the form of political parties.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


Popular Struggles and Movements
57
Chapter 5
Popular
Struggles and
Movements
Overview
In the earlier chapters we discussed why power sharing is important
in a democracy and how different tiers of government and various
social groups share power. In this chapter we will carry this discussion
further and see how those who exercise power are constrained by the
influence and pressure exerted on them. Democracy almost invariably
involves conflict of interests and viewpoints. These differences are
often expressed in organised ways. Those who are in power are required
to balance these conflicting demands and pressures.  We begin this
chapter with a discussion of how struggles around conflicting demands
and pressures shape democracy. This leads to an analysis of the
different ways and organisations through which ordinary citizen can
play a role in democracy. In this chapter, we look at the indirect ways
of influencing politics, through pressure groups and movements.
This leads us in the next chapter to the direct ways of controlling
political power in the form of political parties.
© NCERT
not to be republished
58
Democratic Politics
Popular struggles in Nepal and Bolivia
Do you remember the story of the
triumph of democracy in Poland? We
studied it last year in the first chapter
of class IX. The story reminded us
about the role played by the people
in the making of democracy. Let us
read two recent stories of that kind
and see how power is exercised in
democracy.
Movement for democracy in
Nepal
Nepal witnessed an extraordinary
popular movement in April 2006. The
movement was aimed at restoring
democracy . Nepal, you might recall, was
one of the ‘third wave’ countries that had
won democracy in 1990. Although the
king formally remained the head of the
state, the real power was exercised by
popularly elected representatives. King
Birendra, who has accepted this transition
from absolute monarchy to constitutional
monarchy, was killed in a mysterious
massacre of the royal family in 2001.
King Gyanendra, the new king of Nepal,
was not prepared to accept democratic
rule. He took advantage of the weakness
and unpopularity of the democratically
elected government. In February 2005,
the king dismissed the then Prime Minister
and dissolved the popularly elected
Parliament. The movement of April
2006 was aimed at regaining popular
control over the government from
the king.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


Popular Struggles and Movements
57
Chapter 5
Popular
Struggles and
Movements
Overview
In the earlier chapters we discussed why power sharing is important
in a democracy and how different tiers of government and various
social groups share power. In this chapter we will carry this discussion
further and see how those who exercise power are constrained by the
influence and pressure exerted on them. Democracy almost invariably
involves conflict of interests and viewpoints. These differences are
often expressed in organised ways. Those who are in power are required
to balance these conflicting demands and pressures.  We begin this
chapter with a discussion of how struggles around conflicting demands
and pressures shape democracy. This leads to an analysis of the
different ways and organisations through which ordinary citizen can
play a role in democracy. In this chapter, we look at the indirect ways
of influencing politics, through pressure groups and movements.
This leads us in the next chapter to the direct ways of controlling
political power in the form of political parties.
© NCERT
not to be republished
58
Democratic Politics
Popular struggles in Nepal and Bolivia
Do you remember the story of the
triumph of democracy in Poland? We
studied it last year in the first chapter
of class IX. The story reminded us
about the role played by the people
in the making of democracy. Let us
read two recent stories of that kind
and see how power is exercised in
democracy.
Movement for democracy in
Nepal
Nepal witnessed an extraordinary
popular movement in April 2006. The
movement was aimed at restoring
democracy . Nepal, you might recall, was
one of the ‘third wave’ countries that had
won democracy in 1990. Although the
king formally remained the head of the
state, the real power was exercised by
popularly elected representatives. King
Birendra, who has accepted this transition
from absolute monarchy to constitutional
monarchy, was killed in a mysterious
massacre of the royal family in 2001.
King Gyanendra, the new king of Nepal,
was not prepared to accept democratic
rule. He took advantage of the weakness
and unpopularity of the democratically
elected government. In February 2005,
the king dismissed the then Prime Minister
and dissolved the popularly elected
Parliament. The movement of April
2006 was aimed at regaining popular
control over the government from
the king.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Popular Struggles and Movements
59
All the major political parties in the
parliament formed a Seven Party
Alliance (SPA) and called for a four-day
strike in Kathmandu, the country’ s capital.
This protest soon turned into an
indefinite strike in which MAOIST
insurgents and various other
organisations joined hands. People defied
curfew and took to the streets. The
security forces found themselves unable
to take on more than a lakh people who
gathered almost every day to demand
restoration of democracy. The number
of protesters reached between three and
five lakhs on 21 April and they served
an ultimatum to the king. The leaders
of the movement rejected the half-
hearted concessions made by the king.
They stuck to their demands for
Maoists: Those
communists who believe
in the ideology of Mao, the
leader of the Chinese
Revolution. They seek to
overthrow the government
through an armed
revolution so as to
establish the rule of the
peasants and workers.
restoration of parliament, power to
an all-party government and a new
constituent assembly .
On 24 April 2006, the last day of
the ultimatum, the king was forced to
concede all the three demands. The SP A
chose Girija Prasad Koirala as the new
Prime Minister of the interim
government. The restored parliament
met and passed laws taking away most
of the powers of the king. The SPA and
the Maoists came to an understanding
about how the new Constituent
Assembly was going to be elected. This
struggle came to be known as Nepal’s
second movement for democracy.  The
struggle of the Nepali people is a source
of inspiration to democrats all over
the world.
Political parties and people of Nepal in a rally demanding restoration of democracy in their country
© Min Bajarachya
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


Popular Struggles and Movements
57
Chapter 5
Popular
Struggles and
Movements
Overview
In the earlier chapters we discussed why power sharing is important
in a democracy and how different tiers of government and various
social groups share power. In this chapter we will carry this discussion
further and see how those who exercise power are constrained by the
influence and pressure exerted on them. Democracy almost invariably
involves conflict of interests and viewpoints. These differences are
often expressed in organised ways. Those who are in power are required
to balance these conflicting demands and pressures.  We begin this
chapter with a discussion of how struggles around conflicting demands
and pressures shape democracy. This leads to an analysis of the
different ways and organisations through which ordinary citizen can
play a role in democracy. In this chapter, we look at the indirect ways
of influencing politics, through pressure groups and movements.
This leads us in the next chapter to the direct ways of controlling
political power in the form of political parties.
© NCERT
not to be republished
58
Democratic Politics
Popular struggles in Nepal and Bolivia
Do you remember the story of the
triumph of democracy in Poland? We
studied it last year in the first chapter
of class IX. The story reminded us
about the role played by the people
in the making of democracy. Let us
read two recent stories of that kind
and see how power is exercised in
democracy.
Movement for democracy in
Nepal
Nepal witnessed an extraordinary
popular movement in April 2006. The
movement was aimed at restoring
democracy . Nepal, you might recall, was
one of the ‘third wave’ countries that had
won democracy in 1990. Although the
king formally remained the head of the
state, the real power was exercised by
popularly elected representatives. King
Birendra, who has accepted this transition
from absolute monarchy to constitutional
monarchy, was killed in a mysterious
massacre of the royal family in 2001.
King Gyanendra, the new king of Nepal,
was not prepared to accept democratic
rule. He took advantage of the weakness
and unpopularity of the democratically
elected government. In February 2005,
the king dismissed the then Prime Minister
and dissolved the popularly elected
Parliament. The movement of April
2006 was aimed at regaining popular
control over the government from
the king.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Popular Struggles and Movements
59
All the major political parties in the
parliament formed a Seven Party
Alliance (SPA) and called for a four-day
strike in Kathmandu, the country’ s capital.
This protest soon turned into an
indefinite strike in which MAOIST
insurgents and various other
organisations joined hands. People defied
curfew and took to the streets. The
security forces found themselves unable
to take on more than a lakh people who
gathered almost every day to demand
restoration of democracy. The number
of protesters reached between three and
five lakhs on 21 April and they served
an ultimatum to the king. The leaders
of the movement rejected the half-
hearted concessions made by the king.
They stuck to their demands for
Maoists: Those
communists who believe
in the ideology of Mao, the
leader of the Chinese
Revolution. They seek to
overthrow the government
through an armed
revolution so as to
establish the rule of the
peasants and workers.
restoration of parliament, power to
an all-party government and a new
constituent assembly .
On 24 April 2006, the last day of
the ultimatum, the king was forced to
concede all the three demands. The SP A
chose Girija Prasad Koirala as the new
Prime Minister of the interim
government. The restored parliament
met and passed laws taking away most
of the powers of the king. The SPA and
the Maoists came to an understanding
about how the new Constituent
Assembly was going to be elected. This
struggle came to be known as Nepal’s
second movement for democracy.  The
struggle of the Nepali people is a source
of inspiration to democrats all over
the world.
Political parties and people of Nepal in a rally demanding restoration of democracy in their country
© Min Bajarachya
© NCERT
not to be republished
60
Democratic Politics
Bolivia’s Water War
The story of Poland and that of Nepal
apply to the struggle for establishing or
restoring democracy. But the role of
popular struggles does not come to an
end with the establishment of democracy .
People’s successful struggle against
privatisation of water in Bolivia reminds
us that popular struggles are integral to
the working of democracy.
Bolivia is a poor country in Latin
America. The W orld Bank pressurised the
government to give up its control of
municipal water supply . The government
sold these rights for the city of
Cochabamba to a multi-national
company (MNC). The company
immediately increased the price of water
by four times. Many people received
monthly water bill of Rs 1000 in a
country where average income is around
Rs 5000 a month. This led to a
spontaneous popular protest.
In January 2000, a new alliance of
labour, human rights and community
leaders organised a successful four-day
general strike in the city . The government
agreed to negotiate and the strike was
called off. Yet nothing happened. The
police resorted to brutal repression when
the agitation was started again in February .
Another strike followed in April and the
government imposed martial law . But the
power of the people forced the officials
of the MNC to flee the city and made
the government concede to all the
demands of the protesters. The contract
with the MNC was cancelled and water
supply was restored to the municipality
at old rates. This came to be known as
Bolivia’s water war.
Democracy and popular
struggles
These two stories are from very different
contexts. The movement in Nepal was
to establish democracy , while the struggle
in Bolivia involved claims on an elected,
democratic government. The popular
struggle in Bolivia was about one specific
policy, while the  struggle in Nepal was
about the foundations of the country’s
politics. Both these struggles were
successful but their impact was at
different levels.
Despite these differences, both the
stories share some elements which are
relevant to the study of the past and
future of democracies. Both these are
instances of political conflict that led to
popular struggles. In both cases the
struggle involved mass mobilisation.
Public demonstration of mass support
clinched the dispute. Finally, both
instances involved critical role of political
organisations. If you recall the first
chapter of Class IX textbook, this is how
democracy has evolved all over the
world.  We can, therefore, draw a few
conclusions from these examples:
? Democracy evolves through
popular struggles. It is possible that some
significant decisions may take place
through consensus and may not involve
any conflict at all. But that would be an
exception. Defining moments of
democracy usually involve conflict
between those groups who have
exercised power and those who aspire
for a share in power. These moments
come when the country is going through
transition to democracy, expansion of
democracy or deepening of democracy .
? Democratic conflict is resolved
through mass mobilisation. Sometimes
Are you
suggesting that
strike, dharna,
bandh and
demonstration
are good for
democracy?
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


Popular Struggles and Movements
57
Chapter 5
Popular
Struggles and
Movements
Overview
In the earlier chapters we discussed why power sharing is important
in a democracy and how different tiers of government and various
social groups share power. In this chapter we will carry this discussion
further and see how those who exercise power are constrained by the
influence and pressure exerted on them. Democracy almost invariably
involves conflict of interests and viewpoints. These differences are
often expressed in organised ways. Those who are in power are required
to balance these conflicting demands and pressures.  We begin this
chapter with a discussion of how struggles around conflicting demands
and pressures shape democracy. This leads to an analysis of the
different ways and organisations through which ordinary citizen can
play a role in democracy. In this chapter, we look at the indirect ways
of influencing politics, through pressure groups and movements.
This leads us in the next chapter to the direct ways of controlling
political power in the form of political parties.
© NCERT
not to be republished
58
Democratic Politics
Popular struggles in Nepal and Bolivia
Do you remember the story of the
triumph of democracy in Poland? We
studied it last year in the first chapter
of class IX. The story reminded us
about the role played by the people
in the making of democracy. Let us
read two recent stories of that kind
and see how power is exercised in
democracy.
Movement for democracy in
Nepal
Nepal witnessed an extraordinary
popular movement in April 2006. The
movement was aimed at restoring
democracy . Nepal, you might recall, was
one of the ‘third wave’ countries that had
won democracy in 1990. Although the
king formally remained the head of the
state, the real power was exercised by
popularly elected representatives. King
Birendra, who has accepted this transition
from absolute monarchy to constitutional
monarchy, was killed in a mysterious
massacre of the royal family in 2001.
King Gyanendra, the new king of Nepal,
was not prepared to accept democratic
rule. He took advantage of the weakness
and unpopularity of the democratically
elected government. In February 2005,
the king dismissed the then Prime Minister
and dissolved the popularly elected
Parliament. The movement of April
2006 was aimed at regaining popular
control over the government from
the king.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Popular Struggles and Movements
59
All the major political parties in the
parliament formed a Seven Party
Alliance (SPA) and called for a four-day
strike in Kathmandu, the country’ s capital.
This protest soon turned into an
indefinite strike in which MAOIST
insurgents and various other
organisations joined hands. People defied
curfew and took to the streets. The
security forces found themselves unable
to take on more than a lakh people who
gathered almost every day to demand
restoration of democracy. The number
of protesters reached between three and
five lakhs on 21 April and they served
an ultimatum to the king. The leaders
of the movement rejected the half-
hearted concessions made by the king.
They stuck to their demands for
Maoists: Those
communists who believe
in the ideology of Mao, the
leader of the Chinese
Revolution. They seek to
overthrow the government
through an armed
revolution so as to
establish the rule of the
peasants and workers.
restoration of parliament, power to
an all-party government and a new
constituent assembly .
On 24 April 2006, the last day of
the ultimatum, the king was forced to
concede all the three demands. The SP A
chose Girija Prasad Koirala as the new
Prime Minister of the interim
government. The restored parliament
met and passed laws taking away most
of the powers of the king. The SPA and
the Maoists came to an understanding
about how the new Constituent
Assembly was going to be elected. This
struggle came to be known as Nepal’s
second movement for democracy.  The
struggle of the Nepali people is a source
of inspiration to democrats all over
the world.
Political parties and people of Nepal in a rally demanding restoration of democracy in their country
© Min Bajarachya
© NCERT
not to be republished
60
Democratic Politics
Bolivia’s Water War
The story of Poland and that of Nepal
apply to the struggle for establishing or
restoring democracy. But the role of
popular struggles does not come to an
end with the establishment of democracy .
People’s successful struggle against
privatisation of water in Bolivia reminds
us that popular struggles are integral to
the working of democracy.
Bolivia is a poor country in Latin
America. The W orld Bank pressurised the
government to give up its control of
municipal water supply . The government
sold these rights for the city of
Cochabamba to a multi-national
company (MNC). The company
immediately increased the price of water
by four times. Many people received
monthly water bill of Rs 1000 in a
country where average income is around
Rs 5000 a month. This led to a
spontaneous popular protest.
In January 2000, a new alliance of
labour, human rights and community
leaders organised a successful four-day
general strike in the city . The government
agreed to negotiate and the strike was
called off. Yet nothing happened. The
police resorted to brutal repression when
the agitation was started again in February .
Another strike followed in April and the
government imposed martial law . But the
power of the people forced the officials
of the MNC to flee the city and made
the government concede to all the
demands of the protesters. The contract
with the MNC was cancelled and water
supply was restored to the municipality
at old rates. This came to be known as
Bolivia’s water war.
Democracy and popular
struggles
These two stories are from very different
contexts. The movement in Nepal was
to establish democracy , while the struggle
in Bolivia involved claims on an elected,
democratic government. The popular
struggle in Bolivia was about one specific
policy, while the  struggle in Nepal was
about the foundations of the country’s
politics. Both these struggles were
successful but their impact was at
different levels.
Despite these differences, both the
stories share some elements which are
relevant to the study of the past and
future of democracies. Both these are
instances of political conflict that led to
popular struggles. In both cases the
struggle involved mass mobilisation.
Public demonstration of mass support
clinched the dispute. Finally, both
instances involved critical role of political
organisations. If you recall the first
chapter of Class IX textbook, this is how
democracy has evolved all over the
world.  We can, therefore, draw a few
conclusions from these examples:
? Democracy evolves through
popular struggles. It is possible that some
significant decisions may take place
through consensus and may not involve
any conflict at all. But that would be an
exception. Defining moments of
democracy usually involve conflict
between those groups who have
exercised power and those who aspire
for a share in power. These moments
come when the country is going through
transition to democracy, expansion of
democracy or deepening of democracy .
? Democratic conflict is resolved
through mass mobilisation. Sometimes
Are you
suggesting that
strike, dharna,
bandh and
demonstration
are good for
democracy?
© NCERT
not to be republished
Popular Struggles and Movements
61
Does it mean that
whichever side
manages to
mobilise a bigger
crowd gets away
with whatever it
wants? Are we
saying that ‘Might
is Right’ in a
democracy?
it is possible that the conflict is resolved
by using the existing institutions like the
parliament or the judiciary. But when
there is a deep dispute, very often these
institutions themselves get involved in the
dispute. The resolution has to come
from outside, from the people.
? These conflicts and mobilisations are
based on new political organisations.
True, there is an element of spontaneity
in all such historic moments. But the
spontaneous public participation
becomes effective with the help of
organised politics. There can be many
agencies of organised politics. These
include political parties, pressure groups
and movement groups.
In 1984, the Karnataka government set up a company called Karnataka Pulpwood
Limited. About 30,000 hectares of land was given virtually free to this company for 40
years. Much of this land was used by local farmers as grazing land for their cattle.
However the company began to plant eucalyptus trees on this land, which could be used
for making paper pulp. In 1987, a movement called Kittiko-Hachchiko (meaning, pluck and
plant) started a non-violent protest, where people plucked the eucalyptus plants and
planted saplings of trees that were useful to the people.
Suppose you belong to any of the following groups, what arguments would you put
forward to defend your side: a local farmer, an environmental activist, a government
official working in this company or just a consumer of paper.
Mobilisation and organisations
Let us go back to our two examples and
look at the organisations that made these
struggles successful. We noted that the
call for indefinite strike was given by the
SP A or the Seven Party Alliance in Nepal.
This alliance included some big parties
that had some members in the
Parliament. But the SP A was not the only
organisation behind this mass upsurge.
The protest was joined by the Nepalese
Communist Party (Maoist) which did not
believe in parliamentary democracy . This
party was involved in an armed struggle
against the Nepali government and had
established its control over large parts
of Nepal.
The struggle involved many
organisations other than political parties.
All the major labour unions and their
federations joined this movement. Many
other organisations like the organisation
of the indigenous people, teachers,
lawyers and human rights groups
extended support to the movement.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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