Discussion on participatory planning inevitably invites a discussion on the deeper understanding and appreciation of participation. The understanding on participation has historical roots and travelled along many discourses in the last three decades. The idea here is not to present a full scale review of such discourses but to present an outline which has deeper connection to other concepts used in this research work.
Much of the discussion on participation in late 1970’s and earl y 1980’s was around popular participation variously known as participatory development, popular movement, people’s participation and so on. The centrality was on ‘conscientisation’ of the ‘oppressed’. Such terms were used by Paulo Frerie in his seminal work on “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”. A number of social activists started organising and conscientising the communities against the prevalent oppressions. This was reflected in a variety of movements around access and control over natural resources like land, water, forest etc. by the poor and indigenous people. Many environmental movements were developed putting centrality on people’s participation in struggle against monopoly of the State.