Civil Society –
- The concept of civil society is normative as it specifies that associational life in a metaphorical space between the market based on profit, and the state that embodies power.
- Associational life neutralises the individualism, the atomism, and the anomie of modern life.
- Social associations enable the pursuit of multiple projects and engender solidarity.
- Democracy has to be realised through sustained engagement with the holders of power. Citizen activism, public vigilance, informed public opinion, a free media, and a multiplicity of social associations are indispensable for this task.
Objective of civil society –
- Notably, the objective of civil society is not to takeover the state. That is left to political parties. Vibrant civil societies are born out of complete disenchantment with the party system. They are, and remain, the public conscience of society.
- The projects can range from developing awareness about climate change, to discussing and dissecting popular culture, supporting needy children, organising neighbourhood activities, and safeguarding human rights. Above all, the concept recognises that even democratic states are imperfect.
Way ahead –
- The task of civil society is not to wage a revolutionary war. Its task is to awaken people to the fact that they have a right to hold governments responsible for acts of omission and commission.
- When it takes on authoritarian states, the strength of civil society is its spontaneity and collective mobilisation.
- Its weapon is the Constitution; its demand is respect for constitutional morality.
- Finally, civil society is not an institution; it is a space, the site for many projects that restore democracy.
Source – The Indian Express
QUESTION – Examine the concept of civil society and its contribution to the strengthening of Indian democracy