Sunday, December 21, 2008

Are we really M.A.D ?

Yes, we ARE mad about what 'they' did to our city - and when I say 'they' I'm not referring to the Terrorists - I'm referring to those who allowed this to happen to us.

Still couldn't figure it out? Well, its us !!!

Yeah, right! WE allowed this to happen to us! (To know why I say, this read my earlier post).

Well, now that you (and I) are really MAD - are we really M.A.D - as in Making A Difference ??

Everyday, I receive at least 4-5 emails on how the NGOs are 'getting together' to 'make a difference'. Cool - everyone wants to do something about it and the only thing that seems to be happening is more emails, more meetings amongst fellow-activists (God, I HATE that word - I'd rather be called an alert citizen) and more public meetings being called for and more letters being written to the Administration.

It's almost becoming 'trendy' to be associated with some NGO Group, or the other. It seems like people have even lost faith in the existing NGOs (!) and so are creating new ones - with a combo of pretty much the same guys (say what?)

It's bad enough that the Administration has enough of problems to deal with - and everyday they get 'hit' by a few dozen well-drafted (for the Media) legalese letters asking them for explanations.

Chill guys - let these guys DO their work!! Isn't THIS what we are p!ssed about in the first place? Just think .. if we have each NGO/Activist (aargh!) write to the same 10 Admin guys - how many letters do you think these guys are going to reply to??

Everyday a new PIL seems to be filed, putting additional burden on the already burdened High Courts.

Everyday there is a new public meeting being called for (and the Police are expected to provide security).

Leave the guys alone ... STOP these letters .. STOP these meetings ... (I know I'm going to be VERY unpopular for suggesting all this!)

In the aftermath of 26/11, we seem to mixing up a great many issues here and we will end up confused and defocused.

Terrorism, Internal Security, Good Governance, Poor Administration, Corruption, Politician-Business nexus, etc. are being rolled into one big smelting pot. No wonder that we are angry and want to do 'something fast'...

I've said this before and I'm saying this again ... there is NO instant-coffee solution to this!

It's a long uphill task and needs constant, concerted and consistent efforts over an extended period of time. This is a Marathon .. not a 100m dash. Treat it with respect.

If we are really MAD about what happened, let's use RTI for small things..
~Why is the road not repaired sensibly? Who was the contract awarded to?
~Why is there no complaint book in the booking office of the railway station?
~How many times are the Fire Brigade actually supposed to inspect buildings?
~How many times was a builder penalized for sub-standard material?

Ok .. these are just a few random (and maybe, poor) examples.

Forget the big questions about political-nexus and corruption - ask questions about things that affect YOU - your roads, your surroundings, your railway platform. If each one of the Gateway team sends out 1 RTI application to any one department just once in a month - you will have 12 lakh questions being asked - and asked about specific things - things that affect YOU.

YOU will feel EMPOWERED (Man, I love that word!)

Sure, you may not get all your answers - but someone somewhere in the Administration has started becoming alert - that he/she may be called upon to justify his/her actions - and that in itself will be enough to set the ball rolling for fixing things (I owe this theory to Shailesh Gandhi).

Let's all start taking our voting rights seriously and ensure Voter Registration. The only way we CAN make a difference, is by getting sensible people elected in the chair and taking our democracy seriously.

Let's all volunteer to start a campaign of getting all the eligible people around us to register to vote. Let's facilitate this - circulate forms - post them on various Facebook/Yahoo/Google/Blog sites. Let us start with our own buildings and society complexes - to ensure that everyone around is registered. And when its time to vote, lets arrange for cars to get these guys to reach the polling booth. Let's make it like a party!

Next time when elections are announced, let's give our electorate a choice of deserving candidates. Let's find the right people and make arrangements for funds for them to cover their costs of campaigning. Let's get detailed data on other candidates, compile that and circulate that across their constituency. (Using RTI for this may also work). Let everyone really KNOW these guys, who are standing for elections.

Whoever is elected, let's ensure that they know WE can make a difference and have them thrown out for non-performance. We need to coordinate efforts and set up a 'elected-representative watch' (much like a neighbourhood watch?) and let these guys know that BIG BROTHER is really watching them closely.

Now .. all of this requires time - which not everyone has - but if we were to coordinate our activities sensibly, we can ensure that we have a platform in place - a support structure - so that even those who can commit one hour a week, can DO so .. and feel EMPOWERED and participate in this 'movement' for restoration of 'normalcy' in our lives and restoration of 'faith' in our own strength.

There are enough number of NGOs and Associations and Groups who are doing good work. Let's NOT keep creating more (this may dilute our efforts). Let us find a way of EMPOWERING each individual to Make A Difference.

The issue is not just about Terrorism and Good Governance - it is about participation in the democratic process (for which our fore-fathers fought and died) and about individual EMPOWERMENT.

Think about it!

Let's make a REAL difference...

Well ... and that's how I feel ...


Anonymous said...

very interesting views.
most of us are fEEl the same.
& i agrEE to you.
im neil dantas~
9833 426 888
ya lots of groups have bEEn formed lately
i've joined 1 lately: JNM
i have a blog tOO:

paatya said...

Many of us would agree with your views. I would volunteer to support.No point in re-inventing the wheel.With the elections around, let us support a deserving candidate. Im Ashish Patankar.Juhu 9820063141.