Short Answer Questions
Q.1. What are public interest groups? How do they look after the public interests? Explain. 
Ans. Public interest groups promote collective rather than selective good. They aim to help groups other than their own members or may undertake activity that benefits them as well as others. For example, a group fighting against bonded labour fights not for itself but for those suffering under such bondage.
Q.2. What is a single-issue movement? How does it differ from a long-term movement? Explain with examples. 
Ans. A single-issue movement is issue-specific and seeks to achieve a single objective within a limited time frame. On the other hand, a long-term movement is a general or generic movement that seeks to achieve a broad goal in the very long term. For example, the Nepalese movement arose with the specific objective of reversing the king’s orders of suspension of democracy. Narmada Bachao Andolan started with the specific issue of the people displaced by the creation of Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river.
Q.3. Distinguish between public interest groups and sectional interest groups. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Sectional interest groups represent a section of society such as workers, employees, business persons, industrialists, followers of a religion, caste group, etc. On the other hand, public interest groups promote collective rather than selective good. They aim to help groups other than their own members. For example, a group fighting against bonded labour fights not for itselfs but for those who are suffering under such bondage. The principal concern of sectional interest groups is the betterment and well-being of their members, not society in general.
Q.4. In what three ways can the pressure groups influence the government policies ? Explain. [2011 (T-2)]
(i) They try to gain public support and sympathy for their goals and their activity by carrying out information campaigns, organising meetings, file petitions, etc. Most of these groups try to influence the media into giving more attention to these issues.
(ii) They often organise protest activity like strikes or disrupting government programmes. Worker’s organisations, employees, associations and most of the movement groups often resort to these tactics to force the government to take note of their demand.
(iii) Business groups often employ professional lobbyists or sponsor expensive advertisements. Some persons from pressure groups or movement groups may participate in official bodies and committees that offer advice to the government.
Q.5. Mention examples of single issue and long-term movements and distinguish between the two. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Most of the movements are issue-specific movements that seek to achieve a single objective within a limited time frame. For example, the Nepalese movement for democracy arose with the specific objective of reversing the king’s orders that led to suspension of democracy. Narmada Bachao Andolan started with the specific issue of the people displaced by the construction of Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river.
Long-term movements involve more than one issue. The environmental movement and the women’s movement are examples of such movements. There is no single organisation that controls or guides such movements. Environmental movement is a label for a large number of organisations and issue-specific movements. The National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM) is an organisation of organisations. Various movement groups struggling on specific issues are constituents of this loose organisation which coordinates the activities of a large number of people’s movements in our country.
Q.6. Justify with three points that democracy evolves through popular struggles. [2011 (T-2)]
(i) In Poland, Lech Walesa led the mass movement under the banner of ‘Solidarity’ party. Eventually the party mobilised a successful popular struggle which overthrew the existing dictatorial regime.
(ii) In Nepal, the movement for democracy was aimed at regaining popular control over the government from the king.
(iii) In Bolivia, the World Bank pressurised the government to give up its control of municipal water suppy. The government sold these rights for the city of Cochabamba to a multinational company (MNC). After the struggle of Bolivians, the contract with the MNC was cancelled and water supply was restored to the municipality at old rates.
Q.7. “The relationship between political parties and pressure groups can take different forms.” Support the statement with three points. [2011 (T-2)]
(i) In some cases the pressure groups are either formed or led by the leaders of political parties or act as extended arms of political parties. For examples, most trade unions andstudents organisations in India are either established by or affiliated to one or another major political party.
(ii) In many cases political parties have grown out of movements. For instance, students movement against the ‘foreigners’ in Assam led to the formation of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). The DMK and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu arose out of a long-drawn social reform movement during the 1930 and 1940s.
(iii) Most of the time, the relationship between parties and pressure groups is not so direct. They often take positions that are opposed to each other. Yet, they are in dialogue and negotiation.
Q.8. Explain how the activities of pressure groups are useful in the functioning of a democratic government ? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Pressure groups have deepened democracy. Putting pressure on the government is not an unhealthy activity in a democracy as long as everyone gets this opportunity. Governments in a democracy can often come under undue pressure from a group of rich and powerful people. Pressure groups remind the government of the needs and concerns of ordinary citizens. The government gets to hear about what different sections of the population want. This leads to accommodation of conflicting interests.
Q.9. Explain any three common features of the popular struggle in Nepal and Bolivia. [2011 (T-2)]
(i) Both these are instances of political conflict that led to popular struggles.
(ii) In both cases, the struggle involved mass mobilisation.
(iii) Public demonstration of mass support clinched the dispute. Both instances involved critical role of political organisations.
Q.10. State any three points of distinction between movements and interest groups. [2011 (T-2)]
Interest groups –
Q.11. What are the techniques adopted by the pressure groups and interest groups to influence politics ? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Pressure groups are able to influence government policies without having direct political participation. Example : Narmada Bachao Andolan. They fight for those people who were displaced by the construction of a dam on Narmada river. Interest groups are the promoters of the issues that concern a specific section of the society.
Example : an interest group working for human rights joined the struggle for democracy in Nepal.
In Bolivia, an interest group known by the name of FEDECOR fought against the privatisation of water in Bolivia.
Long Answer Questions
Q.1. State the similarities and levels of popular mass struggles of Nepal and Bolivia. 
Ans. There were similarities in the mass struggles of Nepal and Bolivia. They were both struggles for establishing or restoring democracy. There was mass mobilisation in both countries, and the resolution to struggle had come from the people.
(i) Both the struggles were against the people who exercised power. In Nepal, it was the monarchy, in Bolivia, it was against the elected government.
(ii) In both cases, public demonstrations of mass support clinched the dispute. Finally, in both cases, it involved a critical role of political organisations. In Bolivia, the power of the mass uprising and the people forced the government to concede all their demands. In Nepal, the king had to step down. From an absolute monarchy, Nepal became a republic.
In Nepal, the call was given by the SPA or the Seven-Party Alliance. It had members of big parties and some members of the Parliament. The Nepalese Communist Party (Maoist) also joined, though they did not believe in parliamentary democracy. Non-political groups like all the major labour unions, their federations, teachers, lawyers and human rights movements also supported the movement. The protest against water privatisation in Bolivia was not led by any political party. It was led by an organisation called FEDECOR. It comprised professionals, engineers, environmentalists, federations of farmers, factory worker unions, students from the university of Cochabamba and city's growing population of homeless children. The movement was supported by the Socialist Party, which came into power in Bolivia in 2006.
Q.2. How do pressure groups and movements influence politics? Explain with examples. [2009, 2011 (T-2)]
(i) They try to gain public support and sympathy for their goals and their activity by carrying out information campaigns, organising meetings, filing petitions, etc.
(ii) They often organise protest activity like strikes or disrupting government programmes. Workers’ organisations, employees’ associations and most of the movement groups often resort to these tactics to force the government to pay heed to their demands.
(iii) Business groups often employ professional lobbyists or sponsor expensive advertisements. Some people from the pressure groups or movements may participate in bodies that offer advice to the government.
(iv) In some instances the pressure groups are either formed or led by the leaders of political parties or act as extended arms of political parties. For example, most trade unions and students’ organisations in India are either established by or affiliated to one or the other major political party.
Q.3. How are popular struggles an integral part of the working of democracy? Explain by giving an example of Bolivia’s struggle for water. (2009)
(i) Democracy evolves through popular struggles. Significant decisions in democracy usually involve conflict between those groups who have exercised power and those who aspire for share in power.
(ii) Democratic conflict is resolved through mass mobilisation. Sometimes it is possible that institutions like Parliament or judiciary, which are set up to solve the disputes, themselves get involved in disputes. Then the solution has to come from outside — from the people, which happens in the form of popular struggles.
[For second part of the answer, please refer to : Long Answer Question–Answer 4]
|1. What are popular struggles and movements?|
|2. What is the significance of popular struggles and movements?|
|3. How do popular struggles and movements contribute to democracy?|
|4. What are some examples of popular struggles and movements?|
|5. How can individuals contribute to popular struggles and movements?|