Saturday, December 29, 2012

Don't just talk, ACT.

In the wake of this unfortunate Delhi Gang Rape incident, which has once again brought us face to face with the harsh reality of the mentality of people at large and India in particular, we cannot and should not just fret and get angry and discuss amongst people like ourselves who anyway disapprove of what is happening. Instead, we really need to do something about it. Saying this, I have an idea. 

Most people think education can help address this issue.. but I beg to differ. Education alone has no role to play in changing the way people think. I remember being interviewed for 'Teach India' initiative by TOI, and I remember telling the interviewer that just learning Sciences and History and Literature is not going to make any person a truly progressive and positively contributing person. Instead what India most needs is realizing what good conduct means -- understand what is correct and what is grossly wrong, appriciate that the skewed sense of ego, pride and honor is rubbish, derogatory, anti progressive, violent and simply WRONG. Other than this, what it needs next are skills which can help them earn their living -- carpentry, driving, sewing, music, dance, writing, farming, computers etc .. It is the harsh reality that text book education alone is not successful in making truly good and productive people.  

While we cannot address everything, I think we still can start somewhere. I had started taking weekly sessions with children and young adults in a slum close to where i stayed in Powai, where I used to engage in talking about conduct, women, cleanliness, religious coexistence and also engage in fun and games where boys and girls participated together and role reversal was played and enacted out.

It was very appalling to see how at first little boys thought its not important for women to excel in school and how they thought trousers should only be worn by boys and not girls and how there were games only meant for boys.. But after a few months, it was encouraging to find the same set of boys helping other girls with their class room work, playing cricket and celebrating birthdays together. It was wonderful to see how the lessons on conduct started being practiced when the boys complained 'Didi aaj isne mujhe gandi gaali di' and how the kids started taking a shower everyday and kept a check on their fellow friends sometimes informing me 'Pata hai didi aaj ye naali mein ghus gaya ball uthane ke liye'...

These are the signs of the changes we want to see in our community and our people. And I am sure, if I could start something like that, with help from friends, I am sure I will be able to continue these initiatives and not abandon it mid way because I am not strong enough to carry on by myself.

I need volunteers. To make a beginning, I need people in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Kashmir, Mumbai and Bangalore who would be ready to take on this initiative of choosing a locality and working to better the place and the people. 

A small team of 8 people for every location. Just a couple of hours of your time over a weekend, that too just once a month is all it takes to run this initiative. We would roster responsibilities amongst the team and have days based on our availability and convenience. The initial plan is to engage in talks and weekly sessions in schools - Pvt. as well as government, our community, and village panchayats. There will be 2 people from the group who would jointly take 2-3 hr sessions every weekend. If we have 8 people in a team, each person just needs to contribute 3 hrs every month. By experience I would say that if you tell people you want to give a 'Bhashan' on good living and high thinking, no one will come. What you need to say is that you will provide help in teaching and enter into their community, gain their trust and silently and effectively pass on the message of compassionate coexistence. 

If I see fairly good participation, we will work on the specifics together and make this happen.  

I request you to pass this message around and lets form a group and systematically plan this. 

I will start myself, but unless I have participation from people who say 'they feel strongly about this', nothing significant can be achieved.

Please remember, that if you cant ACT, you should not even complain, since you are not helping anything.

PS: Please reply with your nomination in the comment section and the area you are comfortable to work. By the end of January, I will collate the nominations and work out a proper plan. You can refer to the FB link to this note here:

This is a picture of some of the children I took sessions with in Powai.


saloni sikha said...

well said...and I totally agree!

saloni sikha said...

well said..I totally agree!