Opinion:Let Us Take The Lead
You can stop INJUSTICE
Intro: It’s never too late. We have lots of hope from the new Government of India. But, we also have to play a constructive and active role in governance and that too each one of us.
When we say ‘democracy’ what comes to mind immediately? Hectic campaign, polling booths, people proudly displaying their inked finger? Certainly there’s more to it than that! What about the will of the public, after voting ends? Isn’t it all about ‘power to the people’?
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When the governments don’t run the way we want them to, what do we do? When systems fail, when our chosen representatives become our lords and masters, what do we do? Every relationship is a two-way game. With one hand you can only slap, but to clap you have to use both hands. How many times have we taken active role in governance?
Since you are reading this article, you must be an educated person. I ask you. When the road outside your house is dug up and left in that condition for months on end, have you ever gone to the concerned office or officer and given a written complaint? Have you ever initiated a community gathering to figure out how to get some work done in your colony? Have you ever stepped in to save a girl who is being harassed in public transport? When was the last time you alerted the public works department about a dangerously open manhole on the road?
These are just samples of the hundreds of situations we come across everyday, where it’s convenient for us to blame the government machinery. Our usual complaint is: they don’t work, the entire department is corrupt, so-and-so is minting money at our expense at all.
Haven’t we suffered enough? It’s been almost 67 years since Independence and we’re still dreaming of that perfect road outside our house, of regular water and power supply, and basic amenities and securities! Our elected leaders have failed us. But don’t you think we have also failed? Failed in ensuring compliance to our wishes. It’s we who gave ‘leaders’ the opportunity to get away without delivering the promises. Well, it’s never too late. Let’s get going now. Yes, we have lots of hope from the new Government of India. We have the right to expect lots of things from the newly elected leaders. But, we also have to play a constructive and active role in governance and that too each one of us. Let us clap.
If the authorities don’t work, we have to make them work. If the leaders don’t listen, we need to make sure they have to. Let us make 'them' deliver.
The latest election results are the world’s best testimony that power resides with the people of India. When we think collectively, we can throw powerful governments into the minority bin.The first lesson, therefore, is that there’s power in collective decisions. And the first step is to educate ourselves on how to take those decisions. We need to gather knowledge of simple things such as which office deals with what issues, who is the concerned person, who should be approached for a particular problem, how to ensure systems work. In short, empower ourselves.
All government departments have provisions for public complaints and redressal. Let us learn to use these frameworks to our advantage.
Then there are social issues that have been tearing at the very fabric of our everyday life. Women safety issues are hogging the headlines daily. If an important section of the population is unsafe, what kind of society are we living in? Let us, as a community, decide not to take nonsense anymore. In a society where women are worshipped as ‘Devi’, where every religion preaches respect for women, we will not allow a few antisocial elements to make life hell. Instead of blaming the police and the government for every incident, let us create an environment where everyone feels safe, regardless of sex, age or community.
We must now speak up when we see injustice, crime or corruption. We are not the weak and the downtrodden anymore. It is we the people of India who have to strengthen the nation’s social fabric – whether it is through our own efforts or by making the government of the day do its bit. Let us lead from the front.
-Abha Khanna (The writer is a senior journalist and social worker)