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PSIR 1B-11 Social Movements – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Environmentalism of the poor. [2023/10m/150w/5b]

“Environmentalism of the poor” describes a particular approach to environmentalism and conservation that focuses on the perspectives and concerns of economically disadvantaged or marginalized communities, particularly in developing countries as described by Joan Martinez Alier. This approach highlights the ways in which environmental issues are closely intertwined with social, economic, and justice-related challenges faced by vulnerable populations.

It recognizes that impoverished communities often bear the brunt of environmental degradation and resource exploitation. This includes issues such as deforestation, water pollution, land dispossession, and air pollution, which can have severe impacts on the well-being and livelihoods of the poor.

The concept of ‘ecological distribution conflicts’ is intrinsic to the idea of ‘environmentalism of the poor’. These conflicts are the social conflicts caused by environmental degradation and unequal distribution of environmental resources. Some examples can be that of the Chipko movement in India and the indigenous people’s struggles in Brazil against agribusiness.

The concept of “environmentalism of the poor” clarifies that environmentalism is not an elitist concept. It underscores the importance of understanding the complex relationships between poverty, inequality, and environmental issues. By doing so, it seeks to create a more inclusive and just approach to environmental conservation and management. [198 words]

2] Dr. Ambedkar’s clarion call, “Educate, Agitate and Organize”, strategizes the Dalit movement towards achieving civil liberty. Discuss. [2023/15m/200w/7c]

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s clarion call to “Educate, Agitate, and Organize” underscores the importance of education, mobilization, and organized collective action as key components of the Dalit movement.

Education has been the cornerstone of the Dalit movement. Dr. Ambedkar recognized the power of education in emancipating individuals and communities from the shackles of caste-based discrimination and inequality. Education not only imparts knowledge and skills but also builds self-esteem and confidence among Dalits.

Through education, Dalit leaders and intellectuals have emerged who have played a significant role in advocating for the rights and dignity of their community. These leaders have been instrumental in shaping the Dalit movement and representing their concerns in various forums.

In addition, agitation and mobilization create pressure on the government and the legal system to enact and enforce anti-discrimination laws. Movements like the Dalit Panthers and various other Dalit rights organizations have used agitations to demand equal civil liberties.

Organizing is about bringing Dalit communities together to address common issues and concerns. Through community-based organizations and networks, Dalits can collectively advocate for their rights and well-being. Organized Dalit groups have sought political representation at various levels of government. The formation of Dalit political parties and alliances has been a significant part of the organizing process, aiming to increase the political voice and representation of Dalits.

It’s important to note that this strategy is ongoing, as the struggle for civil liberties and social justice is far from over. The Dalit movement continues to evolve and adapt to new challenges, but the principles of education, agitation, and organization remain at its core. [263 words]

3] High concentration of economic activities and consumption patterns in post-liberalisation period has led to the failure of environmental movements in India. Elucidate. [2022/10m/150w/5e]

The post-liberalisation era in India witnessed a rapid expansion of industrial and urban activities. The increased emphasis on economic growth and development led to the establishment of industries, construction projects, and urban infrastructure. These activities often resulted in the encroachment of natural habitats, deforestation, pollution, and the depletion of natural resources, negatively impacting the environment.

The liberalisation policies promoted the exploitation of natural resources to meet the demands of a growing economy. This included activities like mining, logging, and large-scale agricultural practices, which often disregarded environmental sustainability and led to the degradation of ecosystems.

The regulatory framework and enforcement mechanisms to address environmental concerns have often been insufficient to effectively monitor and control the environmental impact of economic activities. This has allowed industries and businesses to continue their operations without adequate environmental safeguards, leading to pollution and environmental degradation.

Social movements play an important role in democracy. Indian environment movement is weak, and multiple factors such as a focus on economic development, lack of environmental education, and competing priorities for marginalized communities are responsible for it. [176 words]

4] Examine the nature of the civil liberty movement in India. [2020/15m/200w/8c]

Rights that are considered necessary for civilised existence are called “civil rights.” Its basic purpose is to check the arbitrary exercise of power by the executive.

In India, the freedom struggle was the first civil rights movement. The Indian Constitution, too, incorporates the spirit of human rights. Some of the fundamental rights are available to non-citizens also and the constitution also has a scheme of social and economic rights.

Unfortunately, post-independence, we see the growth of executive highheadedness and corruption. One of the chief area of debate against civil liberty, preventive detention, has remained part of the constitution and has been misused time and again.

Towards the 1970s, in light of the curb on civil liberties, a new phase of civil rights activism began in the country. This time, the excuse was the economic failure of the government. The government declared an emergency on the grounds of internal disturbance, marking the darkest phase of Indian democracy.

Fortunately, democracy survived and has strengthened since then. There has been a proliferation of civil rights organizations. The judiciary, too, has become an active participant in India’s civil rights movements.

The ambit of civil rights is much more than what it was at independence. With increasing awareness, education and globalization, the movement has strengthened. This has contributed to the stability of democracy in present times. [221 words]

5] Write short note on the significance of Chipko Movement. [2019/10m/150w/5e]

The Chipko movement came into existence in 1973 to protect trees from cutting down. It was a non-violent movement initiated by the women in Uttar Pradesh’s Chamoli district (now a part of Uttarakhand, India) for the conservation of forests to maintain ecological balance in the environment. After some time, the movement spilled onto the other Northern states of India.

As the movement continued, protests became more project-oriented and expanded to include the entire ecology of the region, ultimately becoming the “Save Himalaya” movement. Between 1981 and 1983, Bahuguna, the leader of the movement, marched 5,000 km across the Himalayas to bring the movement to prominence. In 2004 Chipko protests resumed in response to the lifting of the logging ban in Himachal Pradesh but were unsuccessful in its reenactment.

The Chipko Movement endeavoured to alter the Government’s forest policy by insisting on the maintenance of the traditional status quo in the Himalayan and other forest regions of India. In this sense, there is resistance to change and to opening up of the area for technological development.

Women’s participation in the Chipko Movement, however, limited in numbers or in its impact on the general way of life, has implications for possible changes in gender relationships in the Garhwali society.

The movement is significant because it registered the disagreement with the singular narrative of development. [222 words]

6] Critically analyse the environmentalist movement in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu. [2018/15m/200w/8c]

The environmentalist movement in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu has been a significant and controversial one, centring around concerns over pollution and environmental degradation caused by industrial activities in the region, particularly by the Sterlite Copper plant operated by Vedanta Limited.

The movement in Tuticorin emerged as a response to the perceived environmental hazards posed by the Sterlite Copper plant. The local residents, activists, and environmentalists raised concerns about air and water pollution, hazardous waste disposal, and the impact on human health and the ecosystem. The movement drew attention to the need for stringent environmental regulations and emphasized the importance of sustainable development.

The movement highlighted the adverse effects of pollution on public health and livelihoods. Reports of respiratory ailments, water contamination, and the impact on fishing and agricultural activities further fueled the movement. The concerns raised resonated with the local community, leading to widespread support and mobilization.

On the other hand, the Company responsible for the plant maintained that it followed all environmental regulations and accused the movement of misleading information and hindering economic development. The movement faced criticism from some quarters for alleged disruption of peace, vandalism, and politicization.

Ultimately, in May 2018, following public protests and a series of legal battles, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) permanently closed the Sterlite Copper plant, citing violations of environmental norms. The closure was seen as a significant victory for the environmentalist movement in Tuticorin.

Overall, the movement brought attention to the environmental concerns associated with industrial activities in the region. It highlighted the need for stricter regulations, improved enforcement mechanisms, and the importance of public participation in decision-making processes. [269 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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