The term “civil society” is ambiguous. It is used so frequently, in so many various ways, and in diverse theoretical, practical, and historical settings that current attempts to apply it to democratic philosophy are more obfuscating than informative. Nancy Rosenblum and Robert Post try to define a notion of civil society that encompasses the many civil society conceptions argued by its authors (Rosenblum & Post, 2002b). When examined through the lens of the Government, civil society is defined as a realm of social existence marked by numerous and particularist identities.
Types of Civil Society
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) have a structured structure or activity and are typically registered entities and groups. States with limited resources and afflicted by weak administration and corruption have failed to bring progress to all of their populations throughout the developing globe. Alternative kinds of development have been attempted in this setting, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have increasingly been championed to bridge the gap between citizens’ wants and existing services since the 1980s. Professional associations are part of NGOs.
A labour union is a group of workers in a specific trade, industry, or corporation who negotiate collectively with the employer for their salary, benefits, and working conditions.
Two focus sessions with civil society, one on a human rights-based approach to development and the other on the role of the private sector in development, will feature trade unions.
Working of the Civil Society Before Independence:
Brahmo Samaj, led by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the struggle for widow remarriage by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Jyotiba Phule’s effort for female education.
Some of the Important Civil organisations are as follows-
Brahmo Samaj: It was started by Ram Mohan Roy in 1829. The significant success in social reform was the abolition of Sati in1829. Debendranath Tagore and Keshab Chandra Sen were the prominent leaders of the Brahma Samajh
Arya Samajh: Swami Dayananda Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj on April 7, 1875. They worked to protect widows and other social work like providing relief to victims of natural or manmade calamities.
Theosophical Society: In 1875, Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olcott founded it 1875. The ideologies of the society reflect Indian culture, and, in Madras’s presidency, the society proliferated its aims and vision to the masses. The movement had received widespread recognition under the leadership of Annie Besant in India. The headquarter of the theosophical society was at Adyar.
Aligarh Movement: It was a fundamental development pointed toward transforming the Muslim people’s social, political, and instructive parts. In 1864, Sir Syed Ahmad khan set up the Scientific Society in Aligarh to interpret western works into Indian tongues to set up the Muslims to recognise Western preparation and to show intelligent character among the Muslims.
The success of the Civil Society in improving the women’s condition:
- Progressive Legislation: These movements helped repeal laws derogatory to women and pass progressive legislation. For example, abolition of sati (1829), abolition of female infanticide, passage of Widows’ Remarriage Act (1856), increase in marriageable age of girls to 10 years, law sanctioning inter-caste and inter-communal marriages (1872), law discouraging child marriage (1891) etc.
- Women Education: Efforts of Brahmo Samaj, Ishwar Chandra Vidhyasagar and Jyotiba Phule helped improve women’s education at large. For, eg. The establishment of women’s educational institutions like Bethune college.
Civil Society on Labour Reform:
The growth of the labour reform movement can be traced through the rise of civil societies in India before independence. Towards the end of the nineteenth century marked the evolution of the trade union movement that closely followed the development of industry in India. The first organised labour union in India was the Bombay Mill Hands Association, established by M.N Lokhande in 1890.
Modern society is defined as acknowledging or adopting a modern style or modern ways and concepts of thinking, living, etc. To put it another way, Modern society is a change or alteration that has the potential to preserve the past.
It’s essential to remember that Modern society requires some educational reform. Before the British Raj, we had the Sati system, in which a wife was forced to burn herself with her dead husband’s body. People became enlightened and raised their voices against this inhumane practice following the inception of the education system, and it was eventually eliminated. Furthermore, widows were in the same bind as animals. In today’s world, however, men and women are treated equally. Modern society has resulted in the transformation from an India where women were viewed as animals to walk shoulder to shoulder with men.
Modern society necessitates changes at the institutional level and the individual level. It entails a shift in thinking, ideas, opinions, attitudes, and behaviours and a change in social structure from a closed conservative society to a classless one—the casteless organisation in which an individual’s standing is determined by his achievements rather than his birth.
Despite the various possible challenges, civil society has played a significant role in shaping countries’ social needs. Still, socio-reform through different legislation nurtured the roots of improving the status of people. In the case of good governance, it can positively influence the state.