Society exists because we, the people, believe in solidarity and collectivism-hence come together to run the society under some value systems and conditions.

Societies running on the lines of value systems and righteousness, with ethics holding sublime importance are called Civil Societies. Rule of law and proclamation of civil rights are the limbs of the society, without which the substantiality of the former can’t even be imagined. If there are certain duties and moral values assigned for the people to withhold, then there are also some liberties & rights that claim the supremacy of human conscience in running of the social order.

When we talk of the Right to Protest, we talk of showing disapproval for some anomalies & ambiguities in the socio-political structure-this disapproval is sanctified in the form of ‘peaceful’ protests or mass congregations that aim to put forward mass opinion and feedback to the controllers of the state. In a democratic set-up like ours, protests and elections are the two powerful instruments of control in hand of the common man-who determines the socio-political order at the end of the day.

The real spirit of democracy lies in determinism of the common man. Public protests must be seen as feedback of the common man towards a specific subject of relative importance & hence, must be accepted and appreciated. But from several instances in the past, it’s evident that state has seen the public’s right to protest with suspicion & as a mode of creating social nuisance. This has led to many situations where public voice is gagged and protesters are sidelined to avoid any limelight on the issues raised by them.


This process is like slow poisoning of the democracy & fundamental rights. History has been the eye witness of power of the protests when eminent national leaders used protests to highlight their demands and expectations from the state. Public protests should be seen as channels of communication between the public and the state, as indicators of a healthy democracy where people are not muted by objective allurements or physical threats for raising their voice.

Protests must be seen as signals of active citizen participation in the socio-political structure. Sidelining/banning/extinguishing protests are a lame attempt to blindfold the public consciousness. A flawless democracy can work only if the public & the state give each other equal space. Moreover, the protesters must also give prime importance to law & order and should not ‘misuse’ the right to protest just to draw attention or create disturbance or disruption in the normal functioning of the society and public life. Coherence between the state and the public can help the democracy to flourish in its true spirit.

“City air makes a man free…” Ever wondered why the city air makes a man free? It’s because cities allow him to be himself, to assert self-expression & to exercise one’s rights. Civil societies allow the socio-political systems to run without any apron strings controlling them. That’s what constitutes a civil society.

Chandigarh is thought to be an ideal-city in more than one ways, a city that stands on the dictum of ‘open to give and open to receive….’ Thus, Chandigarh can’t be imagined to pass any laws or orders against the citizens’ right to protest, as it’s a process of give and take of feedback between the state and citizens regarding issues that affect them. Shifting of protest sites from mainstream areas (like Matka Chowk) to secluded zones (like Rally Chowk )to suppress a mass-affect is equal to gagging the voice of the people.


The state’s attitude of paranoia towards protests must be changed and citizen-unrest, if any, must be brought under light and redressed, instead of sweeping in under the carpet. Public protests should be seen as the symbols of celebration of collective effervescence. They are the signs that the city is not only beautiful but also has a rationale…that keeps it alive, that makes it what it is. Hence, peaceful public protests must be welcomed in every city as a medium of awareness-generation and also as a mode of direct communication between the government and the citizens.