I wrote sometimes back about how people in democracies, especially in India keep complaining and blaming politics for everything wrong in their life. We should look inside ourselves and think if we are doing our own part in this complex political process. You must have heard “Be the change, you want to see in the world” and “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for country” blah-blah. Let us leave those great people at rest for some time and figure out what we can do for this democracy in our own little ways. This is a fifteen step guide, beginning from easiest to more involved role for Great Indian People:
15. Go and Vote: The best and easiest way to contribute to your country is to go and vote for candidate of your choice, not only in big parliamentary elections, but local “Nagarpalika-Nagarnigam-panchayat” elections also. This process is the only way to bring the grass root change in the mindset of populous. Some critics argue that Indian people are not using their own rights because they got it without fight. Let us prove them wrong and use the most powerful weapon in the arena of politics. The so called “literate” section of our society is in worst condition in this regard. Come on people, election happens at max once a year, you can find 1 hour in a year for sure.
14. Read newspapers/magazines regularly: We need to update our knowledge base to understand the real problems and issues faced by our country. Read a newspaper or magazine regularly. Local papers are best for being better informed. Those who have access to net can use google news for online reading. Stop wasting time in front of stupid box watching other’s life on TV. Live your own life, watch news and various discussions on TV. You should know that 15 min of newspaper keeps stupidity away from you.
13. Read good books: A very good habit. Get a good book and just start reading, I am sure you will enjoy it. Don’t read cheap novels brought from railway station book stall. Books diversify our thoughts and give different perspective on many things. Best results can be obtained by reading non-fictions. Fictions are good for entertainment but non-fictions are essentials. I know many of my friends who always have one book in their pocket.
12. Discuss current issues with your family, friend, and coworkers: Once you have acquired some insight in political, economical, social issues, it’s time to propagate it. Discuss the current affairs with your family, friends and coworker. At the dining table, in lunch time at your workplace, in classroom backbenches, in social gatherings, hell anywhere you can find an interested person. Involve people by telling them solutions to their own small problems and guide them. Though it does not make any direct impact, but it does push the democracy forward. Any democracy is as good as the thought process of people.
11. Write letter to editor of your favorite newspaper: Every newspaper, magazine has a kind of column for “letters to editor”. Send a postcard and express yourself. Believe me they are waiting for quality letters. You can send them emails also. It is the best way to let them know about your feelings on any issue or article they published. You will probably ask what difference does this make. Let me tell you, all the local leaders read that newspaper, even prime minister gets daily update from major newspapers. So be heard, it will not take much time from your orkutting and chatting.
10. Maintain a blog and express yourself: If you are reading this article then you must have access to internet. Start a blog, it take very little time and gives you a lot of audience. It is very easy. Go to wordpress and start a blog right now, if you don’t have one till now. And don’t forget to comment on blogs you read. Resolve now that you will comment on this post after reading this article and subscribe to this blog here 🙂
9. Be citizen journalist: Big channels, magazines are constantly looking for content. Even they pour crap because they don’t have anything to show. Take a step forward and make a video about your local problem or write an article. Send it to your favorite channel. Sending it to local channel has better chance to get published or broadcast. Be citizen journalist.
8. Meet your local leader: If you have any problem like your local sweeper is not regular, light is getting cut too much, area does not have proper water facility, goons are straying around, then go and meet your local leader. They don’t bite. Go in group for your safety, if problem involve some big gunda of your area. Leaders are there for you. Sometime it may happen that they will not listen. But who knows, you can just wipe the problem out of your area or village. Many times leaders do not do anything about a problem because they think that there is not enough demand. So be heard, it is your right after all to ask for work.
7. Ask questions at the time of election: At the time of election, ask questions about what they have done in the past and evaluate. Don’t just say “I will vote for you.” Ask question, their mission and vision. This is a time they cannot say “no” to any voter. Don’t vote on the basis of caste or religion.
6. Volunteer for election duty: Take a step further and volunteer for the election duty. It is some time risky, but come on, no one going to shoot you, until you are supporting one of candidate. You can pursue other people to vote. You can distribute voting slips. You can even help older people to vote. It will be a adventure and picnic for you and a thing to remember for lifetime.
5. Contribute to your favorite party: If you want to make real difference then take active part in politics. All the above steps were passive participation. You should stand up for what you believe. Donate and help party you support. Paste their poster in your locality. Campaign for them. This will increase your weight in party; after all everybody needs money and manpower. Pursue your favorite candidate to take up issues that matters to you. You will be surprised to know that there are many people in USA who start to write postcard to their contacts as soon as elections are announced to support their favorite party. I knew a one old man in my village who take up his bicycle, wear a kurta and khadi topi and start to campaign for congress at the election time without any provocation. They are the real gems who made democracy possible in this country. Let us not let this spirit die, my friends.
4. Join a NGO: There are many NGOs which are working in needy areas, in villages for betterment of society. Go and register yourself for sometime of service. Some of my friends are utilizing their summer vacations by working in a NGO in Rajasthan. It is a work, you will remember for your life.
3. Join your respective association: Whether you are a student, worker, teacher, businessman, farmer or in any other profession, there are unions/associations for you. Take part in that process and contribute to your immediate neighbor. It is not very costly and in turn you will get a lot of respect from your coworkers. It is a great feeling that you can do something for your friends and their problems.
2. Join a political party: It is not the over participation of bad people that harm the society, it is the under participation of good people which costs us dearly. Join a political party of your choice. Most of the parties have 10 Rs subscription to become a primary member of party. Do subscribe and make a difference. If we will not clean our own mess then who will?
1. Run for a local office: It is very easy to comment on politicians without understanding difficulties of their offices. Stand in any election. I am not saying to run for the post of president or MP to start with. Start small, run for local bodies. Run for your ward member post, any panchayat post. Bring the benefit of democracy and development to normal people. May Force be with you.
Don’t tell me that you don’t care. Damn it, you care, I care, all of us care. We are just afraid of losing our comfort zone. That is why I am saying, start small. It is just like exercise, you will not feel the need until you do it. So take a baby step a time baby. Please suggest anything else possible for beginner that I may have slipped in comment area.