Why 480 People across India Are Stepping out of Their Comfort Zones to Spark Change
Have you heard the song “Jodi tor daak shune keu naa aashe tobe, aikla cholo re” (“Even if no one responds to your call, have courage and walk alone”)? Similarly, the Jagriks participating in the Samvidhan LIVE initiative courageously started their journey alone. But now, almost in the middle of the journey, the project has over 480 Jagriks on board with on-ground outreach of 15,000 citizens, engages over 1 lakh young people online, gives 50,000 concrete voices a platform, and continues to grow. The initiative is building a strong human chain of awareness about the Constitution of India, intricately weaving in stories through a sense of belonging. It is the ownership of space and the funda of inclusion that is doing the magic.
Archimedes once said, “Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world.” Taking inspiration from this quote, these Jagriks are cracking some the most fiendish social stigmas. Overwhelming obstacles cannot stop these young Jagriks from exploring themselves and their preconceived notions, and venturing into the unknown.
“Before getting involved in the project, I did not believe I could do anything. I liked to believe that I am an individual, and there is a large number of intolerant people out there. How will I deal with them? But now, that shaky little step that I took in the beginning has boosted immense confidence in me.”
“Now I think that ‘I CAN do it’”, says Munna, a young Jagrik.
Some tasks involve exploring religion, a highly debatable concept. People have believed in supernatural entities since the world came into existence, and the concept of a Higher Power has been quintessential to civilization. But then why does this concept give rise to so much strife?
Talking about his experiences with understanding religion, another Jagrik, Kundan, shared, “As per the task, I was supposed to make five friends from different religions. The whole idea shot chills into my body. I was afraid. I have been advised to make friends within my community. No other religion, caste, or gender. I was hesitant to reach out, and the people I went up to asked why I wanted to become friends with them. I have been taught that Muslims are fanatics, and they eat all kinds of food. But, I crossed the line drawn out for centuries. There was a lot of angst within my family, and they were extremely hard to convince. But, I made sure that they give it a chance. Now I know all of those notions are just a heavy bag of beliefs which make no sense. People from all religions are just human, like you and me.”
Change is not always physical or visible. Striving to convince someone to have a conversation, and imbibing a willingness to listen, is a huge task in itself. Moving from “blaming” to “claiming”, Jagrik Gaurav finally crossed a hurdle to convince people from his locality to come together and clean spaces. He shared, “We all keep our immediate paces clean and dump the rubbish outside. Soon, the stale smell from the rubbish rises up, and with that people’s voices rise up about how callous and ignorant they are.”
“Rather than blaming, we did something about it. I could gather 10 people from my locality to support me with the ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’ and we managed to clear some parts of the area.”
Samvidhan LIVE is taking on issues close to the participants, and they are linking these issues to the Constitution of India. The participants’ activities are not mere tasks to be fulfilled, or topics and headlines of the newspaper. These are lives of actual people, and the Jagriks are learning how to associate with them. This empathy is not bestowed or forced upon them, but rather naturally adopted, because it affects them.
Finding it funny when people mocked her by saying, “she is a momo”, S. Abigail Chongloi from Manipur organized a discussion in her community regarding the Right to Equality. She says, “It’s all out there and happening. I heard so many people saying that they are abused because of the way they look and what they wear. Now they’re glad we have the support and love of so many people from all across the country. We are talking about it, and I am sure we will get the rights we deserve.”
The Jagriks are motivated and are impacting lives, inspiring others, taking action, and raising voices against discrimination each day as they spend and immerse themselves in the Samvidhan LIVE game. These enterprising young participants are creating magic by doing something new each week to help make our world a better place.