Why Protests? What are the Main protests in India? Does protests can make change?
Protest is a formal objection.
An example of a protest is a group of people gathering together in a public setting to show that they don’t agree with a decision made by a government body.
A protest can take many forms. The Dynamics of Collective Action project and the Global Nonviolent Action Database are two of the leading data collection efforts attempting to capture protest events. The Dynamics of Collective Action project considers the repertoire of protest tactics (and their definitions) to include:
- Rally or demonstration
- Riot, melee, mob violence.
- Strike, slow down and sick-ins employee work protest of any kind
- Press conference
- Conflict, attack or clash, no instigator
- Prayer Walk
Pro’s & Con’s of Protesting
Protests are really very important for democracy.
It gives the voice to the deprived people. It becomes their way to express their plight to the state. It assures that issues important for the people are heard by the governments.
India has always witnessed many protests since colonial times and even after independence. Social activists play a major role in mobilizing people for a relevant and important cause. Farmers, workers, college students, Dalits, women are the most vulnerable sections of society.
Protests becomes very disadvantageous and sometimes threatening when they turn into violent protests against the state. It hampers the smooth functioning of the state and sometimes they are faced with a violent and oppressive response from police and the governments. They become disadvantages when they are used by different political groups and parties to take political advantage with no real solution. Some protests do not get the required attention from media and journalists. This also makes them meaningless.
Also, protests without real cause like that of against movie Padmavat unnecessarily create a hassle and unfavourable situations. Entirely politically motivated protests without real issues are disadvantageous as per my opinion.
Protests are categorized into violent and Non-Violent protests…
Ex: Taiping Rebellion: 20+ million deaths over almost 15 years
Ex: The one that comes to mind is the very first non-violent movement: the independence of India, in 1947 thanks to Gandhi. He confronted the empire back then, and won.
Say it loud, say it proud.
Few Top Protests in India:
Assam movement: The Assam movement (1979-1985) was a popular movement against undocumented immigrants in Assam. The movement, led by All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP), developed a programme of protests and demonstration to compel the government to identify and expel illegal immigrants.
Zero-rupee note: In 2007, a non-profit organisation called 5th Pillar unveiled a new means for Indians to register their refusal to participate in bribery — the “zero-rupee note”. Closely patterned after the nation’s 50-rupee notes, these documents instead included anti-corruption slogans – “Eliminate corruption at all levels” and “I promise to neither accept nor give bribe”. These zero-rupee notes were designed for use by Indian citizens who have been requested to pay bribes in order to obtain services that are legally free or who are hit with illicit surcharges on such routine government transactions as obtaining a driver’s licence.
Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption: Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare began a hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on April 5, 2011 in order to persuade the government to enact a stringent anti-corruption law. The Lokpal Bill was premised on the institution of an ombudsman with the power to deal with corruption in public places. On April 9, 2011, Hazare ended the fast when his demands were accepted by the government.
Innocence of Muslims: On September 14, 2012, the US consulate in Chennai was attacked in response to a YouTube trailer titled “Innocence of Muslims”. Muslim protesters threw stones and shoes at the building. This event was part of a series of attacks that went on from September 11, 2012 to September 29, 2014. As a direct result of it, about 25 people suffered minor injuries.
Jal satyagraha: Fifty one villagers stood in neck-deep water as they got covered with rashes and their skin peeled – for 17 days, forcing the Madhya Pradesh government to accept their demands. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan agreed on September 10, 2012 to lower the water level in the Omkareshwar dam, one of the key demands of the protesters in Ghogalgaon village of the state’s Khandwa district.
Hike in house tax: Activists of Public Ekta Manch took out a mock funeral procession of the Allahabad Municipal Corporation administration in 2012 to register their protest against the hike in house tax. They shouted slogans against the AMC authorities and demanded rollback of the hike in house tax.
Tree protest: Greenpeace campaigner Brikesh Singh lived on a tree since September 1, 2012 for close to a month to protest destruction of biodiversity and displacement of thousands of forest-dependent communities owing to expansion of coal mining into forest areas. It acquired political mileage in the context of the 11th United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) slated to be held in Hyderabad.
Nirbhaya protests: Public protests took place in the capital on 21 December, 2012, five days after the brutal gangrape of a young girl on a bus. Crowds gathered in large numbers at India Gate and Raisina Hill. Thousands of protesters clashed with police and Rapid Action Force units. Demonstrators were baton charged, shot with water cannons and tear gas shells, and even detained.
Telangana protests: This movement resulted in the new state of Telangana, carved from the existing state of Andhra Pradesh. The proposed new state corresponds to the Telugu-speaking portions of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad. On February 18, 2014, Lok Sabha passed the bill with voice majority. Subsequently, the bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on February 20, 2014.
Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan: In 2008, violence erupted in the western state when the Gujjars demanded the status of a lower scheduled tribe instead of an other backward class. On May 24 that year, police allegedly fired on the protesters, reportedly killing over 15 people.
Anti-reservation protests, 2006 :
The 2006 Indian anti-reservation protests was in opposition to the decision of the Union government of India, led by the Congress to implement reservations for the other backward classes (OBCs) in central and private institutes of higher education.
CAA Protest, 2019
The Citizenship Amendment Act protests, also known as the CAA and NRC protests, are ongoing protests taking place across India and overseas against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which was enacted into law on 12 December 2019, and against proposals to enact a nationwide citizenship registry. The protests began in Assam, Delhi, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, and Tripura on 4 December 2019. In a few days, the protests spread across India, though the concerns of the protesters vary.
Protests help to show the world where the people stand, rather than letting the government speak for them. They help to raise global awareness. They demonstrate inclusion and solidarity – people standing up for others, even if they’re not included within the particular demographic that is affected.
They bring people together and remind of a common goal. And sometimes, change happens as a direct result of them. Or sometimes, the government chooses to ignore the people.
Either way…change comes. The people find their voice. If they need to, they get louder. And if they need to, they change their approach.