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Aldous Huxley, . Wells, Bertrand Russell and other Fabian socialists, wrote about his scientific dictatorship in the late 1800s, where society would be ruled by an elite, or a scientific dictatorship. Our world has become a planetary matrix where, with few exceptions, people are under the influence of highly sophisticated mind control, implemented by technologies that they don’t even know exist.
Democracy is a political setup in which people choose their representatives and those representatives exercise legitimate control over the masses. Democracy as an institution had its genesis in French Revolution which was driven by the rule of law, separation of power and a challenge to rule of monarchy. Democracy has been instrumental in accelerating political participation, distributive justice, promoted values of equality, fraternity and inclusion. After the end of two world wars, many nations got independence and embraced democracy because it prevents concentration of power and provides requisite political stability, social inclusiveness and economic progress. India, after 2 decades of imperialism chose democracy for promoting social, economic and political freedom and justice, universal adult franchise etc in one go.
However decades after the development of democratic ideology, many questions have been raised about the impeccability and infallibility of democracy. It is under pressure due to increased interference by state in private affairs of individuals, augmented corruption in public life, mounting rift between political executive and common man, illicit land acquisitions in the name of development, amplified social evils, ignorance towards the minority and marginalized sections, frequent suppression of freedom of speech and expression, clandestine approach of the government, police apathy towards public etc. It has been contended that external colonialism is replaced by internal colonialism.
The growing intolerance and abhorrence towards the ills of democracy is manifested in the form of revolution and social movements. Both are a kind of mobilization of the citizens with former may be armed rebellion or military coup or use of force while latter is defined as a peaceful protest and constructive criticism of the government through petitions, organizing pressure groups in a peaceful manner etc.
The increasing intolerance among the people must not converge into revolution which is nothing but mobocracy. The examples of revolutions like naxalism can never bring a new social order. It can only lead to chaos, breeds extremism, increase factionalism and lead to a fractured mandate in the political system of the country. The recent coups in African nations hold testimony to the fact that most of revolutionary movements disregard public concern and current system of government without providing any viable alternative. The revolutions are marked by blood, use of weapons. The likes of Arab Spring and the recent skirmishes between Syrian and Rebellions tell the real story. Revolution has led to gross atrocities, murders, rapes etc and still the objectives remains elusive. Now even the international community has called for an internal process.
On the other hand social movements have played an important part in the history of transition. The congress as an organization in India started a kind of social revolution in India. Further impetus was provided by various proponents of socio religious movements like Ishawar chand Vidya Sagar, raja ram mohan roy,jyotiba phule etc. The social mobilization which is peaceful was also advocated by Mahatma Gandhi. This led to independence of India though there was strong support from revolutionaries as well but social movements really helped in building a national base for raising the voice against the imperialism. Similar example very protests by different traders, merchants during American war of independence which led Britain to withdraw heavy duties on export of American goods. Mass social movements provide direct participation in democracy – some kind of direct powers to influence events. They would be the equivalent of giving rights not to the individual but to collectives. The ability to organize groups of people around single issues would translate into direct influence on power.
The recent movement against corruption by Civil society organization is one example. International examples include Occupy Wall Street movement, movement for providing legal status to LGBT. In Indian context, social movements by different organization like PUCL for transparency in government appointments, accountability of the political executive have provided the right ground for taming the ills of democracy. There are social movements for the emancipation of women, providing them legal right, increasing their voices on political platform. Social movements have been instrumental in putting the government to enact certain laws for better efficiency and transparency. There has been spurt in the social movements because of increasing education and assertiveness of the people who are thriving for better societies for the acceleration of common good. Social movements bridge the gap between individual interest and collective wellbeing while revolutions have led to second and third wave of revolution in Middle east countries like Yemen etc.
Hence it can be said that social movements are the hallmark for social change and revolution leads to growth of an anomic society with a fractured political setup with increased vulnerability. On the other hand, Social movements through the mouth of NGOs and other organizations have changed the course of present day world. They have pervaded to every nook and corner of the society for the acceleration of people concerns and led to change in the normal discourse.