We are smart, impulsive, self-centered people .. What a way to describe ourselves .. but if we see the reaction to Mumbai terror and a series of sms and mails going around, we don’t look like this .. we seem to be very responsible citizens, fighting every moment for our rights and committed for a change .. Criticising every single person in the government & the system ..
After a few days – a new cricket series will change the priorities for the media, the newspapers will come out with half page luring and attractive advertisements for Christmas and New Year eve celebrations. When our children will get a winter break and we’ll start exploring the best deals for Manali & Shimla and we’ll be worried again for our performance in our respective offices ..
But what about the quintals of wax we burnt to show our solidarity, the disgust, the call for change, millions of sms of hatred against the political system which made the mobile companies a few crore richer or the series of endless chain mails of saluting jawans and throwing bricks on politicians and systems ..
And what about intellectuals who suggested boycott of polls and the system, as a solution to get rid of these dirty politicians . I salute these intellectuals; what a suggestion.. Don’t fight- run away .. go and have a picnic but don’t vote .. ESCAPE .. since every single person you vote for does not deserve it .. Let ‘s create a vacuum .. Let the country be governed by the people from their drawing rooms or coffee homes ..
I often feel why do we always need a disaster to wake up, that too for a few days? Why don’t we understand that there are certain disasters, which remain with us, which have become a part of our life BUT we don’t want to work on those since we are too comfortable in our cocoon ..
We would probably send a hate mail to anyone who said we are the most self-centered people on this earth. When we find our house full of mosquitoes we bring a good night, if that doesn’t work – we bring a spray, BUT when the municipality guy comes and fines us Rs.500/- for leaving some water in our cooler, in the name of breeding mosquito- do we ever question them on the drains maintained by them, with millions of mosquitoes ..
If you want water you buy a bottle or a cane, if you want in bulk you fix up an expensive RO system. Ironically the government sells its own brand of packaged water .. Have we ever questioned ” why is the tap water not drinkable? The water bill doesn’t say – “bill for washing and bathing water” so why should we pay separately for drinking water?
Good for us since we can afford all this .. I guess one of the reasons we the rich, the middle class don’t fight all these things is because we have no moral right since we are the ones responsible for many of these evils. How many poor people kill each other in over speeding cars? How many poor people have the confidence to jump red lights and break traffic rules since bribing a traffic cop Rs 100/- is the easy way out? How many poor people do you see standing in the middle of the road and throwing tantrums, blocking the traffic if another car make a small scratch on their vehicle and how many have motorbikes to overtake from the left at high speed???
For most of us showing concern about the country and its people means sending a chain mail of a well designed power-point, giving some ugly details or sending a series of sms and we the responsible citizens adhere to our responsibility by sending it further and further. For GOD’s sake please remember mere thoughts are not enough for this country to change .. What we need is an action.an initiative .. means you need to add an action to a thought ..
There is no dearth of people who have opinions, thoughts, and suggestions but how many of us take an initiative to do something on the field? How many of us are ready to act ..
Why do we need an incident or a drama to react? When the media shows dramatic pictures of a child drowning in a manhole, our highly responsible media and new breed of breaking news journalists break the news and all of us are ready to help .. but what about thousands of unnoticed open gutters across the country and scores of people falling in them .. a father throws his child in the river due to poverty and you get a new national news- but what about millions of children dying or deserted in similar conditions? How many of us know that 62 children of Korku tribe in just one block of Khandwa district in MP recently died of malnutrition .. due to lack of a few kgs of basic food material .. and what have we done ..
How many of us are raising a voice against the callous and highly unprofessional attitude of most of the electronic media, where a 20 years old so called journalist with no background knowledge shows you the live commentary of Mumbai attacks with ‘most important- first ever’ visuals of blood soaked faces of dead terrorists & mutilated bodies. I remember in my mass communication days there was a chapter on ethics in journalism and we often used to hate the preaching but to score marks we had to read .. and these days when most selections are based on ‘one’s acting abilities and voice quality’ instead of your journalistic knowledge, who thinks of ethics? But, have we ever told the channel guys that we’ll boycott your channel if you keep showing these dirty, misleading, dangerous and often fake stories?
Why don’t we put pressure on the authorities to cut the electricity to hundreds of offices and houses of big people for not paying their electricity bills for years.. When the same authorities fine us for a delay of two days.. Why don’t we ask the municipality the reason behind breaking the same footpath or road ten times in a year and rebuilding. what about the police stations across the country where we feel scared, to go and file a report? Why are we not raising the issue of police reforms and forcing our police to pay attention to the safety and security of people rather than hounding trucks for the extra bribe money ..
Its time to get up, wake up .. and change the way we do some things in our own lives. If you disagree with me on some points don’t waste your energy in replying back or sending a chain mail .. work on the points you do agree on .. It’s time to take a positive action. We can’t spend time in criticizing the system, the bureaucracy, the administration and so on ..
We all know the realities and we also know that the people behind these failures are enjoying themselves. They know us well, they know how good we are in criticizing them from a distance. They also know that we are busy people, we are too involved in our personal lives, office etc. Top of all they know that we are impulsive and highly self centered people .. If we are able to develop our own comfort zone, we will not confront with them for the life of others ..
I somehow see the biggest fault in ourselves, in the masses, in the so called middle/upper literate class .. We are not angry enough and even if we are, we don’t express it at the right place ..
In every field we need reforms .. even if we forget about the theme of India as a developed nation or a shining vision of 2020 .. first lets make it a normal nation where children stop dying due to lack of 100 grams of rice, where people are not forced to eat rats due to poverty, where a lady does not sell herself for 10/-, where countless people don’t suffer due to lack of a piece of second hand cloth, where children don’t have to walk 5 kms to school, with no notebook or pencil. Where a women does not become a bonded labor for a saree, or a lady does not die due to non availability of a clean piece of cloth to use as a sanitary napkin, where a family get at least a few litre of drinking water a day or where we have the basic medical facility so that people stop suffering due to non availability of basic medicines like Crocin ..
And believe me there are good hopes and chances rather a surety that all this can be changed .. We all have a series of success stories to follow- we all know a number of people who have taken initiatives and have changed the lives of millions. We are also familiar and were there, standing with the families of Nitish Katara, Priyadarshini Mattoo and Jessica Lall. Many of you were writing, walking and protesting in the heat, lighting candles, putting pressures on the authorities and the system and we all saw the results .. It was our collective power that worked ..
This is the time to do it all over again, the task is much bigger and the path is too long .. this time our target is not a spoiled child of a politician or a senior officer or a few terrorists who take us for ransom, this time we are talking about changing the system, the machinery, the way we all work and think.
And to start with, people like you and I need to start understanding our own power- the power to change. The value of our voice- the voice to scream on injustice, the responsibilities of a citizen- not just to live for self but to let people around also live ..
Its time to start using some of our unwritten fundamental rights-to get angry, to question, to raise a voice, to ask and match it with a fundamental duty: To ACT ..
With hopes & lot of confidence in us !!!
Regarding Bihar/ Orissa Campaigns and need of woolens/blankets
This is also the time for us to send you another update on our Bihar & Orissa flood relief campaigns .. I sat down to write a note on the report only but somehow I couldn’t stop myself from expressing my feelings on what’s happening around us. The campaigns are progressing well with your support. GOONJ has come up as one of the largest agencies working in these areas. A large number of corporates, institutions and individuals have supported our campaign and we are committed to be there till Dec 2009 at least. An updated report with relevant figures, photographs, acknowledgements, work so far and plans for futures will be up on www.goonj.info by 1st week of January 2009. We’ll be sending you a link and an alert for the same ..
WHAT WE URGENTLY NEED;
is a large quantity of cotton cloth (for making sanitary napkins) and woolens & Blankets for our annual campaign RAHAT WINTERS. This year the need is much bigger as lakhs of people in Bihar and Orissa are added to the already huge targets of various other states.
So get back to us if you want to organize awareness cum collection camp on this or if you want to contribute. Goes without saying- please spread the message .. all of us have a lot in our cupboards . Remember, winters are a much bigger and reoccurring disaster than earthquake or floods- if you have nothing to cover yourself ..
Please listen to this audio interview on Indianngos.com on Bihar floods-http://www.638387.org/audio/anshu.asp
Anshu Gupta (Ashoka Fellow)
Tel:- 011- 011- 41401216, 26972351
Add- J-93, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi-76