Association as a Means of Pursuing Ends:
Men have diverse needs, desires and interests and ends which demand their satisfaction. They have three ways of fulfilling their ends. Firstly, they may act independently, each in his own way without bothering about others. This is unsocial and has its own limitations. Secondly, men may seek their ends through conflicts with one another.
One may clash with another or others to snatch things or objects which one wants from others. Finally, men may try to fulfill their ends through co-operation and mutual assistance. On the basis of this co-operative effort each individual will be contributing to the ends of his fellow-men.
This co-operative pursuit has a reference to association. When a group or collection of individuals organises itself expressly for the purpose of pursuing certain of its interests together on a co-operative pursuit, an association is said to be born.
(1) An association is “an organisation deliberately formed for the collective pursuit of some interest, or a set of interests, which its members share”.
(2) An association is “a group of social beings related to one another by the fact that they possess or have instituted in common an organisation with a view to securing a specific end or specific ends”.
(3) An association is a group of people organised for the achievement of a particular interest or interests.
(4) An association is “a group organised for the pursuit of an interest or group to interests in common”.
Men have several interests. Hence they establish different associations to fulfill them. They have a number of associations of different kinds. Some examples may be cited here.
(1) Political Associations. The Bharatiya Janata Party, The Congress Party, The Communist Party, The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, etc.
(2) Religious Associations’. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, The Ramakrishan Mission, The Arya Samaj, The Society of Jesus, etc.
(3) Students’ Associations : The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Delhi University Students’ Association, The National Students Union of India, Chhatra Yuva-Sangharsh Vahini, etc.
(4) Labourers’ Associations: Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangha, The Hind Mazdoor Panchayat, Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress, etc.
(5) Professional Associations: Karnataka State College Teachers’ Association, Indian Medical Association, The Indian Bar Council.
(6) Economic Associations or Business Organisations’. Business Corporations, Hotels Owners’ Association, Chamber of Commerce. The Consumers’ Co-operative Society, etc.
(7) International Associations: The Rotary Club. The Lions’ Club. The Y.M.C.A., Y.W.C.A., The Amnesty International, Friends of India Society.
The Associations may be found in different fields. No single association can satisfy all the interests of the individual or individuals. Since man has a bundle of interests, he organises various associations for the purpose of fulfilling his varied interests.
It follows then that a man may belong to more than one association. He may be member of a political association, religious association, a professional association, a cultural association, an entertainment club, a sports club, a rotary club,. And so on.
Main Characteristics of Association:
The main characteristics of association are as follows:
(i) Association-a Human Group:
An association is formed or created by people. It is basically a social group. Without people there can be no association. However, all groups are not associations, because, an association is basically an organised group. An unorganised group like crowd or mob cannot be an association.
(ii) Common Interest or Interests:
An association is not merely a collection of individuals. It consists of those individuals who have more or less the same interests. Accordingly, those who have political interests may join political associations, and those who have religious interests may join religious associations, and so on.
(iii) Co-operative Spirit:
An association is based on the co-operative spirit of its members. People work together to achieve some definite purposes. For example, a political party has to work together as a united group on the basis of co-operation in order to fulfill its objective of coming to power.
Association denotes some kind of organisation. An association is known essentially as an organised group. Organisation gives stability and proper shape to an association. Organisation refers to the way in which the statuses and roles are distributed among the members.
(v) Regulation of Relations:
Every association has its own ways and means of regulating the relations of its members. Organisation depends on this element of regulation. They may assume written or unwritten forms.
(vi) Association as Agencies:
Associations are means or agencies through which their members seek to realise their similar or shared interests. Such social organisations necessarily act not merely through leaders, but through officials or representatives, as agencies. Associations normally act through agents who are responsible for and to the association. This fact gives association a distinctive character and its peculiar legal status. Further, association may have its own methods of operation peculiar to it as an association.
(vii) Durability of Association:
An association may be permanent or temporary. There are some long-standing associations like the state, family, religious associations etc. Some associations may be purely temporary in nature. Ex. Associations that are established to felicitate some great writers, scientists, and religious leaders and associations created for performing some social, religious or other ceremony or fair on a grand scale.
It is clear from the above, that an association is not merely a group, it is something more than that. It is a group expressly organised around a particular interest. The qualification “expressly organised”, helps us to distinguish between associations and other social groups. Social groups like class, crowd, mob, public, etc., in this way, are not associations.
In modern society, the number of associations is on the increase. Not only their numbers is increasing, but their varieties are also increasing. In almost all the fields of our social life we have associations. The rapid changes that are taking place in different fields of our social life have necessitated the birth of a large number of associations.
In modern democratic countries associations have a distinct role to play. Their role in strengthening the democratic set-up can hardly be exaggerated. The modern age today, is really an age of organisations or associations. Man’s life is, today, to a very great extent, lived and controlled by the larger association (The state).