NCERT Solutions for Class 12 Sociology Chapter 14 Social Movements

Q1. Imagine a society where there has been no social movement. Discuss. You can also describe how you imagine such a society to be.

Answer:- The students have to this themselves, with the help of their teacher.

Q2. Write short notes on:

(i) Women’s Movement.
(ii) Tribal Movements.


(i) Women’s Movement: Many women oriented social evils existed in the Indian society right from the beginning. That’s why many women’s organisations came into being at the national and local level in the early 20th century. The Women’s India Association (WIA) (1917), All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) (1926) and National Council for Women in India (NCWI) (1925) are worth mentioning. Some of them started with a limited scope but their scope widened over time.

For example, the AIWC started with an idea of ‘Women Welfare’ and ‘Politics’ but a few years later its President stated that, “Can the Indian man or woman be free if India be a slave? How can we remain dumb about national freedom, the very basis of all great reforms?” It can be argued that this period of activity did not constitute a social movement. It can be argued otherwise as well.

It is generally thought that only middle class educated woman are involved in social movements. But we should keep in mind the women’s participation in the freedom struggle. They participated along with men in tribal revolts and struggles in rural areas during colonial times. We can take examples of the Tebhaga movement in Bengal, the Telangana arms struggle from the erstwhile Nizam’s rule and the Warli tribals revolt against bondage in Maharashtra.

One issue which is generally raised that if there was an active women’s movement before 1947, what happened after 1947. One explanation can be stated that many women who were involved in the national movement got involved in the nation building task. Some say that the case of trauma of Partition is responsible for it.

In the mid 1970’s women’s movement again started in India. Some call it the second phase of women’s movement in India. But some are of the view that the nature of both the movements is different. After independence, there was a growth of autonomous womens movements, meaning they were independent from political parties. It was felt that political parties always try to marginalise issues of women.

Except the organisational changes and change in nature, new issues were focussed in new movement like violence against women. Many campaigns were initiated, over the years, against this evil. That’s why these days, forms have columns of both the names of father and mother. Other important legal changes have also taken place because of campaign by women’s movement. Issues of employment and land rights have been fought alongside rights against dowry and sexual harassment.

(ii) Tribal Movements: Different tribal groups may share common issues, which spread all over the country, but they are very different from each other. Some of the tribal movements were started in the tribal belt of Central India like santhals, Oraons, HO’s, Mundas in Chota Nagpur and the Santhal Parganans. This tribal region constitutes the main part of Jharkhand.

Jharkhand has been carved out of South Bihar in 2000 and is one of the newly formed states of India. A century of resistance lies behind the formation of this state. The social movement for Jharkhand had a charismatic leader, Birsa Munda, who led a great revolt against the British. Birsa became an important icon of the movement after his death. We can find stories and songs about him all over Jharkhand.

The memory of Birsa’s struggle is still alive in writings. Christian missionaries which were working in Southern Bihar spread literacy in their areas. Literate tribals started to research and write about their myths and history. They wrote a lot about tribal customs and cultural practices. That’s why a unified ethnic consciousness was arosed and they shared a common identity as Jharkhandi’s.

literate adivasis got government jobs and a middle class tribal intellectual leadership emerged. It formulated the demand for creation of a separate state and lobbied for it in India and the abroad. Within South Bihar, tribals had a common hatredness against the dikus i.e. the migrant traders and money lenders. These dikus settled in their areas and grabbed its wealth, impoverishing the original inhabitants.

Most of the advantages of mining and industrial projects of this mineral rich area went to the dikus. Even adivasi’s were alienated from their land. Tribals experienced the marginalisation and their sense of injustice were mobilised to create a shared Jharkhandi identity and inspire collective action which eventually led to the formation of a separate state.

Q3. In India, it is difficult to make a clear distinction between the old and new social movements. Discuss. –

Answer:- A number of social movements were started in India involving peasants, women, adivasi, dalits and others. Can these movement be called as ‘new social movements’? Gail Omvedt wrote a book called ‘Reinventing Revolution’, in which she points out that social inequality and unequal distribution of resources were the main elements of these movements. Peasant movements were started for a better price of their produce and against the removal of agricultural subsidies.

Dalit movements were started to save the dalits from exploitation by upper caste landowners and money lenders. Women’s movement started against gender discrimination in different fields like workplace and within the family. At the same time, these new social movements are not only about old issues of economic inequality and they were not organised along class lines alone.

Essential elements of these movements were identity politics, cultural anxieties and aspirations as these were not the issues in old movements. Generally, all the classes of the society unitedly participated in these movements. For example urban, middle class feminists and poor peasant women participated in the women’s movement. The regional movements, for separate statehood brought different groups closer to each other, who do not share homogeneous class identities. In a social movement, questions of social inequality can occur alongside other, equally important issues.

Q4. Environmental movements often also contain economic and identity issues. Discuss.

Answer:- The modern period has greatly emphasised the issue of development. From many decades, people are concerned about the uncontrolled use of natural resources and a model of development which creates new needs. It further demands more exploitations of the already depleted natural resources.

This model of development has also been critiqued because it has been assumed that all the sections of the society benefit from this development. So big dams displaced the people from their livelihood and homes. The impact of industrial pollution is another story. Here, we can take example of an ecological movement in which many issues are interlinked.

The Chipko movement, in the foothills of the Himalayas is an example of interlinked issues. Ramachandra Guha wrote in his book, “Unquiet Woods’, that villagers rallied together to save the rhododendron and Oak forests near their villages. When the government contractors came to cut down the trees, all the villagers stepped forward and hugged the trees to prevent them from being axed.

The villager’s subsistence was also at stake. All of them were dependent on forests to get firewood, fodder and things of daily needs. That’s why villagers stood against the government’s desire to generate revenues by selling timber. The economy of subsistence stood against the economy of profit. Alongside, the issue of social inequality, the Chipko movement also raised the issue of ecological problem. Cutting down of forests could have led to ecological destruction which could have resulted in devastating floods and landslides in the region. These red and green issues were inter-linked for the villagers.

As their survival was dependent upon forests, they also valued the forest for their own sake because ecological wealth benefits everyone. Moreover, this movement also displayed the people’s anger, living in hill villagers, against a distant government, in plains, which seemed indifferent and hositle to their concerns. So concerns of economy, ecology and political representation were important in the Chipko movement.

Q5. Distinguish between Peasent and New Farmer’s movements.

Answer:- The main issues of concern of peasent movements was the abolition of Zamindars, land-reforms, exploitation of farmers, land ceding laws, etc. and these movements were initiated before independence. But New Farmer’s movements were initiated after independence and their main issues were non-removal of agricultural subsidies, welfare of farmers, waiver of their loans and more value of their produce. In this way, there exist a difference in nature between the peasant and New Farmer’s movements.

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