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Why it's time to rethink protests

Far from being an annoyance, mass movements are the only legitimate way of engaging the government today

protests, democracy
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Illustration: Binay Sinha

Aakar Patel
In one of his books V S Naipaul describes a protest in India. He is visiting during a general election and the protestors are in a village in Rajasthan. The population has a civic problem (if memory serves correctly, it is about a lack of water). The people have reached the end of their tether with the state apparatus and congregate to show their displeasure. They raise some slogans. The district magistrate appears and makes soothing noises. The crowd dissipates. The problem remains but, Naipaul writes, having put up a show, the crowd does not see it necessary to do
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First Published: Jan 21 2021 | 10:53 PM IST

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