ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Civil Society and Its Avtars

Analysing the debate around state-civil society relationship in modern western and Indian political discourse, the paper points out the hiatus between the 18th and 19th century political thinking and later 20th century political thought. The second half of the 20th century is characterised by a loss of faith in the institutions of the state and looks towards civil society to preserve essential human and democratic rights. As against this, the paper advocates a return to an earlier rights-based conception of civility by enforcing universal laws through the instrument of the state. Since the state alone can create conditions necessary to protect the institutions of civil society from internal disruptions, the paper argues against detachment of civil society from the state. Instead, the institutions of civil society are very much part of democratic constitutional state, which alone will ensure social equality and non-discrimination along with individual liberty.

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