Tue 2Sep2014

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We, the people

An introduction by Swarna Rajagopalan

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A fine balance

Only an equipoise between state, market and civil society can produce a 'good society', writes TK Oommen

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Putting civil society in its place

Over the last 25 years, civil society has come to be seen as the counterpoint to non-performing governments, indifferent political parties, and hierarchical bureaucracies. But crucial issues related to democracy and livelihoods are the responsibility of the state, not civil society, writes Neera Chandhoke

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Civil society as a moral moment

A strong civil society is welcome. But an overdeveloped civil society has a tendency to mimic the state, leading to the possibility of authoritarianism, writes Samir Kumar Das 

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Re-imagining civil society

South Asia has witnessed unprecedented changes in the last two decades, including globalisation and the shrinking role of states. How should civil society respond to these changes? Amitabh Behar has some suggestions

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'What civil society said 25 years ago has become law today'

By Rashme Sehgal

Civil society has managed to push through far-reaching legislations on dowry, domestic violence, sex ratios and other issues related to women, says women’s rights activist Kamla Bhasin. But, however progressive, legislation alone cannot be expected to change patriarchal mindsets

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A disturbing disconnect

Mohalla committees and occasional workshops for the police and communities do work to promote communal harmony. But why haven't the Hindu-Muslim ties among ordinary people, ties that have survived the worst riots, been harnessed, asks Jyoti Punwani. Is there such a total disconnect between what is called ‘civil society’ and the people it seeks to represent?

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The spirit of seva

Spiritual activists, as opposed to NGOs, understand that the biggest contribution to changing the world is self-change, says Suma Varughese

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'Civil society is only geared to the needs of the elite'

By Rashme Sehgal

Democratic processes in our country are being dismantled, feels Dunu Roy, who has been working with the issues of displacement, urban habitat, and pollution for the last four decades. Citizens are being replaced by coteries of bureaucrats and the technocrats who run CSOs

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A quiet coup?

Following globalisation, states have been reduced to handmaidens of the investor class, says Aseem Shrivastava. Interceding between the state/corporations and the public are layers of NGOs, many of which are converting the million mutinies of contemporary India into harmless ‘partnerships’ with corporations or state

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