If Indians are concerned about poverty and indignity in the country, they must question the planning and development process which excludes and marginalises the poor and vulnerable, which creates acute disparities. They must envision and advocate alternatives. They must fight for transparent and good governance. They must be the living means of civic participation and action.
Activists must think about systemic factors, see through to the “political” at the heart of everything, and thus develop appropriate strategies of action.
Activists must work in the “public domain”. They must reach out to people, and try to be part of a public process. They must build public organisations, processes and movements.
Activists’ relations with the poor must be a means for empowering the poor to seek and sustain improvements in their stakes.
Finally, there must be thinking about the future. Voluntarism must be nurtured. And sustained. We have to think about how this can be meaningfully institutionalised, without killing the voluntary spirit. Voluntarism also has to be transferred to subsequent generations. Civic activity and capabilities must enter into the formal education of children and youth.
Seriously reflecting on such questions and addressing them through one’s work - could help to bring a much-needed spark of life to the currently blighted domain of public action in India.
Image: courtesy Navgati