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Protest : The Fifth Pillar Of Democracy

Sab Taj Uchhale Jayenge
Sab Takth Giraye Jayenge
Ham Dekhenge Lazim Hai
Ham bhi Dekhenge
(When crowns will be thrown off,
And over turned will be the thrones,
We shall see, Certainly we shall see)

One of the most famous slogans among the Ganga- Jamuni Tahzeeb belt ( Hindi-Urdu speaking belt), denotes the resistance of the people against the establishment or the authorities during any kind of protest. Well, it is said that there are three pillars of democracy –
1. Legislature : One who enacts the law,
2. Executive : One who implements the law,
3. Judiciary : One who upholds the law.
Then comes the Media being the forth one. Now, Protest can be regarded as the fifth pillar of the democracy as democracy is by the people, of the people and for the people and protest is a form of making the opinion of masses heard. Hence, Protest is an act of objection/disagreement or a gesture of disapproval. Protests have lead to improve the protection of human rights and continued to define & protect political, civil, economic and social & cultural rights in all parts of the world.

Right To Protest

Under Article 19 of the Indian constitution, which is one of the most important Articles assuring the basic freedom to the citizens of India,

  • Article 19 (1) states that the citizens of India shall have the right to freedom of speech & expression, assembly, associations, movement, residence, practicing any trade, business, occupation, and profession.
  • Article 19 (1)(B) assures to the citizens of India “right to assemble peaceably without arms”. The right includes the right to hold the meetings and take out processions.

Also right to protest involves the exercise numerous human rights. In the political, civil, economic, social and cultural life of all the societies, protests play an important part, Protests

  • Inspires a positive social change
  • Bring improvement in the protection of human rights
  • Strengthen democracy by direct participation in public affairs
  • Enables individuals or masses to share their views and show their dissent
  • Exposes the flaws of the establishments

Though there are some points telling that the assembly must not create any kind of violence or must not harm anyone emotionally or mentally which are very genuine points otherwise it can be considered as take up the law in one’s own hand.

Protest: the making of

The protest is born of just a single question. Questioning is one of the main ingredients in the making of public resistance. One should start questioning, questioning the authorities, questioning your parents, questioning your religion, questioning your tradition.
Like for example, I live & and grew up in Haryana, and while growing up there I’ve always heard a saying that cutting nails at night is considered inauspicious and my little brain could never understand the reason behind it so I asked my parents to which they replied that our elders used to say so. But that’s not a logical reason for me. When I developed some understanding I came to know that in earlier times there were no nail cutters and blades or scissors were used to cut the nails and due to no light in the evening cutting nails using blades leads to injury and that’s why our elders forbade to cut the nails at night. But with the passage of time, it becomes a part of our culture.
Using this example I am just trying to say that we should amend our traditions, our values, our religion otherwise it may lead our coming generation to question which ultimately lead to the resistance. But it is very unfortunate that governments around the world often treats protests as either an inconvenience to be controlled or threat to be extinguished, in reality protests encourage the development of an engaged & informed population and enables the direct participation of people in public affairs that affects them.

From the pages of history

The Salt March(1930)

Who can forget the good old Dandi March lead by M.K. Gandhi who decided to march with not more than a dozen of people to the coast to make salt against the Salt Act imposed by British which prohibited Indians to make and sell the salt on their own. Gandhi figured that this march would be a non-violent way to defy the British. This idea of non-violence ends up with tens of thousands of people joining the march, this non-violence method of protest was considered as the last nail in the coffin of British rule in India.

The Washington March for Freedom & Jobs(1963)

The famous “I have a dream” speech was delivered by Martin Luthar King Jr. who was backed up by 200000 supporters during this protest against the racial inequality that was keeping the Blacks( African-American) from having the same fundamental rights as whites. This protest is given credit for clearing the way for the passing of Civil Rights Acts of 1964 which protects against discrimination based on race, religion, color, gender, or ethnicity.

The Sudanese Protest (2018-2019)

The 19th December 2018 marks the beginning of one of the greatest revolution of Sudan. On the day the people of Sudan at all level of society started protesting against the impossible living conditions under the rule of Al Bashir. After the back and forth struggles from both the sides in April 2019 Bashir was removed from the office by the military forces of Sudan and it is considered as the win of the protestors.

Tiananmen Square Protest, China (1989)

In Tainanmen Square also known as Mainland China, thousands of students were gathered to demand greater freedom and asking for the same or alike rights as in west during the era of change of China into private enterprise and a capitalistic model. The government ordered the army tanks to open fire on the students after a warning to evacuate the ground. In the firing, thousands of students were massacred. After this event, more protests across China started to happen. This series of events eventually lead to the loosening of restriction on the society, the leaders of China opened the economy and reduced the inflations and an improvement in lifestyles of Chinese people is seen.

Though each of the examples needs its own blog to understand the whole thing still an idea can be taken how things worked.


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