Saturday, May 21, 2011

India Redefined (IR) a Long Term, Citizen's Action Plan

IR is a movement started by Ranjana Kanti to give our desire to do something for India a structure and a plan. IR believes we can be effective only if we are actively involved ourselves. That is the only way to hold our elected representatives accountable. Ranjana is right. We cannot leave governance to people who we cannot hold accountable. When we see the rule of law broken with impunity by those in power, when we face people who constantly fudge the facts and are not transparent, who take their cut, are corrupt, self serving to an amazing degree and arrogant, what should we do? To date we’ve simply grumbled, raved and ranted but eventually sighed and said, “Never Mind Yaar”. This waiting for our knight in shining armour, that one honest and honourable person who will right everything for us, hasn’t worked. As Amit, one of our IR members rightly points out, there comes a time when a tolerant and easy going people erupt.

But when things erupt ordinary people have no chance. People with their own agendas who are thirsting for someone’s blood come out of the woodwork to take advantage of the chaos. A better strategy is to unite. After all, whose voice is stronger? A billion lone individuals or a billion strong force?

So at the risk of sounding repetitive, our only hope is to get involved ourselves. There is so much Ranjana and IR have planned to give structure to our desire to do something. She has laid out simple initial steps – identify and do something about any three small, very small, things that ail your own locality. Then inform IR about what you did, what challenges you faced and how (or if) you overcame those challenges. I know she has more planned. But first, she wants to foster our spirit of volunteering and discovering for ourselves we can be effective.

It is obviously a long term plan. Some think it’s a pipe dream. A pipe dream to want ordinary Indians to live in a safe, clean and secure environment, to want to lift the appalling standards of living, health and education of poor Indians, to want to live in harmony with other cultures even while we are proud of our own? Let them call it what they will, I hope we never forget what we are all trying to achieve. I hope IR’s existing members, who are in their thousands, don’t lose faith.

So many of us have joined the movement because we are fed up of the indifference of some politicians and we are clamouring for change. But it won’t happen overnight. The problems are huge.

I know Ranjana is working on a document to outline some of the ideas she has. In the mean time, if you have any ideas, write and tell ALL of us on our Facebook forum, not just Ranjana privately. (I know she is inundated with phone calls, emails and Facebook messages. So much so that she spends most of her time answering those. Sorry Ranjana, the price of fame!) Our Facebook forum is either "Ranjana Kanti" or "India Redefined". Please join only one and not both forums. If your name appears twice, it denies one more person the chance to join. Everyone in India or abroad is welcome to join.

Also, your thoughtful comments on others’ posts are what we need to make our forum vibrant, alive and active. As Aparajita, another IR member, commented, “talking & talking of problems is better than shrugging them off in indifference.” True Aparajita. It is certainly a step in the right direction.

Once we identify those problems, ‘solutions’ is what we all in IR want to, and will, see.

To our continued success.


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