Monday, July 18, 2011

How Should Secular Indians Organise?

A previous post in June 2010 exhorted secular minded Indians to organise. The communal minded already seem to have, under the umbrella of a communal minded politician. The secular minded, on the other hand, are most disorganised. They are happy to co-exist and work or socialize with anyone they like, irrespective of the community they belong to. 

In today’s climate, with the hardened attitude of the communal minded towards anyone who is different or anyone who, from their own community, is ambiguous about those differences, our laid back, easy going attitude simply isn't enough. 

How do Secular Indians Organise in a safe and uplifting environment? My answer is guaranteed to surprise. It is simple, do-able and very effective.

Here are a few key factors to a good organisation

Accountability is important. It engenders trust. Take our politicians. We generally are wary of them as we feel their accountability to their electorate is lackingHere's a youtube video by Cass Wheeler and Ho Sun Yee on accountability I found especially useful.

Awareness: Whether through a blog, website, word of mouth, ads or fliers, letting people know we exist is important. It helps us meet other like minded people. 

My suggestion is, get involved with charities. 
How would getting involved with charities help us fight communalism - a problem exacerbated by racist politics?

Charities have both those characteristics - awareness and accountability. The members of any charitable organization will tell us how essential it is to put aside individual egos and work as a team for a cause. They will also tell us they
  • are normally there to right a wrong; to help alleviate pain and injustice.
  • are already organized into a formidable force that makes a difference.
  • are often under resourced but know how to utilise whatever is at hand to make a difference.
  • need all the help they can get. It doesn’t have to be monetary help. Morgan Hunt, in his article about the significance of volunteering time to non profit organizations agrees that donating your time is good for you; sometimes it is better than donating money.
And I cannot think of any other approach that lets us be altruistic as we simultaneously acquire the many vital skills of belonging to such an organisation.

This is but a start. This is what so many more of us than ever before, can do right now. 

In conclusion, the first step to making our communal minded politicians accountable is through getting organized ourselves. Let us give a small portion of our time (daily / weekly / monthly) and our trust to charitable organisations that already exist. We can help them even as they help us get to know and appreciate one another, irrespective of the community we belong to. 


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