November 25th, 2016
The public initiative will kick off today, 26th November, celebrating Constitution Day and will culminate on Republic Day, 26th January 2017. This project if adopted by youth across the country can act as a sound reality check and should not be dismissed as just another reality show.
Four hundred and eighty youngsters or ‘Jagriks’ (Informed citizens) will take on a journey of their lifetime to engage with the on-ground realities of our constitution. While playing a real life board game, these young people will endeavour to live, understand and own the constitution.
Owning my Samvidhan – A game with the young, by the young and for the young!
Could you survive on Rs 32 (poverty line cap) for a whole day on the streets of your city, town or village? Young people across 15 states of India (in the pilot) will embark on several such “reality projects”, like living in a homeless shelter and saving the life of an accident victim.
Ownership of common spaces is a crying need of the hour. The paradox of how we have become so self-absorbed and yet so suicidal has become a mainstream narrative. It’s time we reconnected the self to the society before it’s too late, and what better place to start this process than our constitution that governs these common spaces?
Ownership comes when you act in the real world, when you co-create, when you see the consequences of your actions. Ownership cannot be taught or handed over in classrooms. It has to be taken in the streets. Through this public initiative we want young people to experience how the rights and duties in our constitution are being lived, and report their experiences to the rest of the world.
With 50% of our population below the age of 35, young people are going to be at the heart of the renewal of society. However, with hardly any non-judgemental spaces for peer interaction and learning real world experiences, there is a need to create more and more self to society journeys that help them lead their development and growth. It is time for the youth of the country to stop blaming the system and government and to instead start claiming our common spaces.
By immersing themselves in the Samvidhan LIVE game and in the process preparing a young people’s report card of how we perform on the expectations set out in the constitution, we hope that not only the participating youth but all those, including judiciary, legislative, executive and media, who hear about their experiences, will be transformed forever into alert citizens or Jagriks.
And how is Rs 32 linked to the constitution? Under the right to equality, one of the sub rights is the right to equality in securing a job. More than sixty years since this right was written into the constitution, the number of the poor in India below the poverty line is still estimated to be about 363 million people (or 29.5% of the total population – 2011-12 figures) despite the high growth rates of the economy. In fact, between 2005 and 2010 our GDP grew at more than 9%. But we only created a million jobs a year, whereas the number of people who entered the workforce during that period was 55 million. So, a staggering 54 million people were added to the unemployed ranks despite such fantastic growth. And several of these became part of the 363 million below the poverty line (Rs 32 a day) figure.
On the other hand, the top 1 % of Indians own 50% of the country’s wealth. (India has climbed to being the second most unequal country in the world after South Africa.) As a result, we have 35 billionaires in the list of the richest people in the world.
Don’t you think this is an interesting time for young people to learn about how the right to equality is playing out in the streets of our country? Are people even aware of this right? And more importantly, do they know and act on the set of duties or responsibilities that they have as citizens? And even as young people try to fulfil their dreams of a better life, how far are they able to help the constitution come alive? We feel that in these times of self-interest, the biggest challenge that a young person faces today is how to walk the thin line between the nation’s dreams and their own dreams.
Com-Mutiny – The Youth Collective’s latest public initiative, Samvidhan LIVE – The Jagrik Project, will build young people’s capacities for meeting this challenge as they refl-act (reflect+act) in the real world. Using their experiential discoveries provided by a fun-filled game, played over six weeks in their neighbourhoods and cities, our young Jagriks will develop a Jagrik report card (the citizens’ performance rating on keeping the Samvidhan alive), as well as recommendations which they will share through nationwide public events. These will also be shared with Governors’ and President’s offices, with activists, civil society representatives, media practitioners, policy makers and politicians. There will be 40+ public engagement events over the course of the journey. The hope is to start a two-way dialogue between the state and young citizens, on improving and sustaining the health of the constitution.
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