CHAPTER-1 ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENTS IN INDIA: AN OVERVIEW

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CHAPTER-1 ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENTS IN INDIA: AN OVERVIEW
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  1 CHAPTER- 1 ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENTS IN INDIA: AN OVERVIEW INTRODUCTION: The present study focuses on the Local Environmental Movements in the Kolhapur District. Therefore, as a part of theoretical/ conceptual background, the present chapter deals with concepts such as ‘social movement’, ‘environmental   movements’, ‘old’ and ‘new’ social movements and a brief elaboration of major   environmental movements in India. SECTION-I 1] Concept of Social Movement: The scholars have, in a more general sense, different notions of what constitutes a social movement. The term social movement “first came into use, early  in the nineteenth century, it had a more specific meaning: the social movement meant the movement of the new industrial working class, with its socialistic, communistic, and anarchistic tendencies (Sills, David L., 1968: 439). The term “social movement or   its equivalent in other Western languages is being used to denote a wide variety of collective attempts to bring about a change in certain social institutions or to create an entirely new order- - - -movements occur in society and tend to affect, directly or indirectly, the social order, it would be permissible to apply the term social movement to all them” (Ibid: 438 -439). In this context Sills, David (1968: 439) notes that: Social movements are a specific kind of concerted action groups; they last longer and are more integrated than mobs, masses, and crowds and yet are not organized like political clubs and other associations. A social movement may, however, be comprised of organized groups without having one over all formal organizations (for example, the labour movement, which comprises trade unions, political parties, consumer cooperatives, and many other organizations). Group consciousness, that is, a sense of belonging and of solidarity among the members of a group, is essential for a social movement, although empirically it occurs in various degrees. This consciousness is generated through active participation and may assume various sociopsychological characteristics. By this criterion social movements are distinguished from ‘Social trends’, which are often referred to as movements  and are the result of similar but uncoordinated actions of many individuals for example, the suburban movement, fads and fashions. 2 Definitions of Social Movements:  As defined in International Encyclopedia of Sociology, “ a social movement is an organized attempt by a number of people united by a shared belief to effect or resist changes in the existing social order by non-institutionalized means. The ultimate objective of a social movement is what its members see as the betterment of society  ” (Frank, N. Magill, 1995: 1253).  International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences has defined social movements as “ Socially shared demands for change in some aspect of the social order  ” (Sills, David, 1968: 445).  Martell has defined a social movement as “a collective attempt to further a    common interest or goal through collective action outside established institutions”    (Martell, Luke 1995: 2).  According to Diani “Social movements are a network of informal interactions  between individuals and organizations that engage in collective action on the basis of a shared identity…. Organizations…..formal, informal, institutionalized or noninstitutionalized can only be considered to be part of a movement if they are networked to other organizations that engage in collective action on similar issues”    (c.f. Saunders, Clare 2007: 229). The functions of Social Movements: Sills, David L. (1968) noted the following two functions of social movements. 1] The movement contributes to the formation of public opinion by providing for the discussion of social and political problems and through the eventual incorporation of same of the movement’s ideas into dominant public opinion  and 2] It provides training of leaders who became part of the political elite and may eventually rise to the positions of leading statesmen. These two functions have reached the point where the movement, after having changed or modified the social order, becomes part of it, the life cycle of the movement comes to an end- it has become an institution (Sills, David L., 1968: 444). 2] Concept of Environmental Movement: Environmental movement is a type of “social movement that involves an array  of individuals, groups and coalitions that perceive a common interest in environmental protection and act to bring about changes in environmental policies and practices” (Tong, Yanki 2005: 167 -168). 3 Tong, Yanki (2005) points out that environmental movements are also an example of social movements. The emergence and development of social movements depend on the dynamic interaction of three broad sets of factors. First, social movements are shaped by the broader political constraints and opportunities unique to the national context in which they emerge. These constraints and opportunities involve the institutional structure and informal power relations of a national political system, including the relative openness or closure of the institutionalized political system, the stability of the elite alignments that undergird the polity, the presence or absence of elite allies for a particular social movement, and the state's capacity and propensity for repression. Second, organizational resources, informal as well as formal, must be available to mobilize people into collective action and sustain a social movement. Resources may include preexisting organizations, such as informal networks, voluntary associations, and religious groups, as well as the movement initiated organizations. Different types of social movement may need different organizational forms. The organizational culture of a given society may also affect the forms of social movement. Third, the collective process of interpretation, attribution, and social  construction gives meaning and value to collective action. By bringing shared meanings and definitions to their situation, people who feel aggrieved about some aspect of their lives can become more optimistic that, by acting collectively, they can redress their problem. Without proper framing, it is highly unlikely that people will mobilize even when afforded opportunities to do so (Tong, Yanki 2005: 169-170). Definitions of Environmental Movements:  According to Rootes, Christopher (1999): The environmental movements are conceived as broad networks of people and organizations engaged in collective action in the pursuit of environmental benefits. Environmental movements are understood to be very diverse and complex, their organizational forms ranging from the highly organized and formally institutionalized to the radically informal, the spatial scope of their activities ranging from the local to the almost global, the nature of their concerns ranging from single issue to the full panoply of global environmental concerns. Such an inclusive conception is consistent with the usage of the term amongst environmental activists themselves and enables us to consider the linkages between the several levels and forms of what activists call ‘the  environmental movement (Rootes, Christopher: 1999: 2).  According to Almeida, Paul and Linda Brewster Stearns (1998): There are three levels of collective action: 1) the local grassroots movement level; 2) the social movement level; and 3) a cycle of protest. A Local Grassroots Environmental Movement (LGEM) as a movement fighting a particular instance of pollution in a geographically specified region. Local Grassroots Environmental Movements have a limited range of goals that are tied to specific pollution problems. A social movement is a broader struggle 4 that involves a formal organizations or a federation of loosely affiliated networks. Social movements have a wide range of goals directed at fundamental social and political reform. Finally, a cycle of protest is a specific period of heightened protest involving several social movements spread across different geographical areas and sectors of society. The identification of each level of movement activity is critical to understanding the political environment in which an Local Grassroots Environmental Movement operates (Almeida, Paul and Linda Brewster Stearns 1998: 38). 3] ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Social Movements:   The scholars distinguish between the ‘old and ‘new’ social movements. The   main basis on which ‘old’ and ‘new’ social movements are often distinguished has  been briefly elaborated by Martell, Luke (1995: 112-114). i] Location: Old social movements tend to be located in the polity, in political parties, whereas new social movements are autonomous movements outside conventional political institutions. ii] Aims: Old social movements aim at securing political representation, legislative political reform and rights associated with citizenship in the political community, whereas the new social movements want to defend civil society against political power and redefine culture and lifestyle in civil society rather than pursuing  legislative change through the state. iii] Organization: Old social movement organizations are characterized by formal and hierarchical internal forms of organization, whereas new social movements go for informal or unstructured organization rather than structures of authority. iv] Medium of Change: Old social movements are oriented towards political institutions through which change can be achieved. The new social movements go for newer and more innovative forms of direct action. They work on new redefinition of meaning and symbolic representation in culture rather than change trough political apparatus. Rootes, Christopher (1999) notes that, “New social movements which  emerged from the student movements of the late 1960s, it is environmental movements which have had most enduring influence on politics and which have undergone the most wide-ranging institutionalization in terms both of the professionalisation of their activities and of the regularization of their access to policy-makers (Rootes, Christopher 1999: 1). 5 Nepal, Padam (2009) argues that, “the new social movements in India   emerged because of the failure of the established oppositional forces in India’s  national politics, especially the left, and more particularly after the smashing of the Naxal movement, in giving direction and providing organization to the activity of the subaltern, marginal groups in the period characterized by the failure of the National Project and one- party dominance” (Nepal, Padam 2009: 98). The new social movements, including the environmental movements in India are studied in at least two different ways in India. In this context Nepal, Padam (2009) has pointed out: First, the leftist perspective which looks at the environmental movement as a displaced form of class struggle, and having its roots in the class-divided Indian society. The second perspective looks at the new social movements as struggles against the centralized state. This perspective although acknowledges the movement as a byproduct of class exploitation, yet it focuses on particular, issue-specific nature of the new social movements. ……..a new social movement including the environmental movement has a  dual aspect: general aspect in the sense that predominantly it represents a movement against omnipotent nature of the modern state to which the certain class of people fall a prey; and a particularistic aspect of addressing a specific, localized issue concerni ng a particular social category like the women’s issue,  an environmental issue, issue of displacement of a tribal population from its natural habitation etc. (Nepal, Padam 2009: 98-99). 4] Whether Environmental Movements are ‘Old’ or ‘New’?   The environmental movements are characterized by the features of both old and new social movements have been critically brought out by Martell, Luke (1995: 112-114). The features of environmental movements that fit them in the category of ‘New’ Social Movement include:   i) Some environmental groups are keen to pursue non-hierarchical forms of organization in their movement, playing down the role of hierarchy of leaders. ii) Many environmental groups prefer grass roots based decentralized form of  participation. Many keep on arguing that, political legislation is inadequate without widespread change in our acquisitive value systems and ways of living. This involves changes in modes of consciousness in civil society rather than the passing of new laws through the state. 6 Some features of ‘Old’ movements in Environmental Movements include:   i) Many environmental organizations are concerned to get politicians to do things to remedy degradation. In the developed world green parties have emerged and they are aimed at getting into political power. ii) Some 'realists' think that formal leadership structures and hierarchies are the most effective way to pursue political change. Some scholars categories environmental movements under various labels such as ‘tribal or peasants movement’ or ‘new social movements’, some even title them as   ‘middle class’ or ‘elitist movements’ (Reddy, Ratna V. 1998: 685).   SECTION- II In this section, a brief sketch of srcins of environmental movements in India, their causes and a brief descriptive account of major environmental movements in India have been presented. 1] Origin of Environmental Movements in India: The genesis of concern for environmental protection in India, “can be traced  back to the early twentieth century when people protested against the commercialization of forest resources during the British colonial period”(Sahu,   Geetanjoy 2007: 3). Again, he notes that, “It was only in the 1970s a coherent and  relatively organized awareness of the ecological impact of state-monolithic development process started to develop, to grow into a fully fledged understanding of the limited nature of natural resources and to prevent the depletion of natural resources” (Ibid).   At the international level, growing salience of environmental crisis was brought out by four important events. The first event was the United Nations Conference on ‘ Human Environment  ’ held in Stockholm, Sweden (1972). The   second event was publication of the report “ Limits to Growth ”. The third, release  of the report of the Brundtland Commission entitled ‘Our Common Future’ (1987). Fourth, event was the ‘Earth Summit  ’ in 1992 ((Vig, Norman J. and Regina S.   Axelrod 2006: 29; Salunkhe, S. A., 2008: 38-40). Guha, Ramchandra (1997: 345-346) lists the three events which occurred within the country in 1973, that facilitated debate on environmental issues in India: 7 First, in April, the government of India announced the launching of Project Tiger, an ambitious conservation programme aimed at protecting the coun try’s national animal……..Indian conservationists, encouraged and  helped by the international agencies like World Wildlife Fund and International Union for the Conservation of Nature, were instrumental in bringing pressure on government to create a network of national parks and sanctuaries all over India to protect endangered wildlife. Second, the publication of an article in Economic and Political Weekly (March 31, 1973) entitled ‘A Charter for the Land’ authored by B. B. Vora, a
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