The Challenges of Cultural Diversity

The Challenges of Cultural Diversity


What is the relevance of civil society organisations today?


Civil society is much broader than the domain of state and market. It is beyond private domain of the family. It is public domain in which institutions and organisations are created voluntarily. It is the sphere of active citizenship, in which individuals take up social issues, try to influence the state or make demand on it, pursue their collective interests or seek support for a variety of causes. Institutions like political parties, media, trade unions, NGOs, religious movements, etc. are the entities formed in civil society.

Relevance of civil society

(i) Civil society through its voluntary organisations can interfere in the state functions where it is deemed that the state is turning into authoritarian.

(ii) As civil society is beyond control of state and market, it has sufficient power to prevent all that is not good in the common interest of people.

(iii) As civil society is not a purely commercial profit making entity, it highlights the corruption, criminalisation and discrimination practiced on part of government or any other group of people. Eg. private TV channels, trade unions are civil societies.

(iv) During emergency of 1977, it was civil society with its various institutions like media, trade union, pressure groups etc. who launched movements pertaing to environment, human right against forced sterilization and dalit movements

(v) Campaign for right to information is the most recent act of cultural society. It began with an agitation in rural Rajasthan and soon ft became nationwide agitation. Government had to pass the new law namely, the Right To Information Act, 2005.

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