Home > apathy, be-the-change, blogplug, help, life, Ramble, responsibility > Apathy and the citizen – A call for help

Apathy and the citizen – A call for help

A few days ago, Purba wrote about a harrowing experience with the Gurgaon police. While an experience like that may not be something new to a lot of people, it caused me to stop and think about how much we are doing to improve the situation. The answer, unfortunately is, I think, not very much. I wrote her an email, which ended up being a blog post that she has very kindly posted up on her blog.

I am not going to reproduce it here. But suffice to say, the comments were interesting. Also heartening. It was nice to see that there are people who, in spite of the difficulties, do not give in to the temptation of taking a short-cut to get their work done. Here are a couple of examples.

I will admit, this is perhaps more than I would have done. I try and do my part. I avoid greasing palms to get work done. I stop at a red light even when there are no cops around, I am generally an honest, law-abiding citizen. On a personal level this works for me, and I have, over time, tried to recognize and remedy cases where I am personally failing in my duties as a citizen. Examples such as Rachna’s serve to renew my enthusiasm to keep up the fight at least at a personal level.

However, if I am really honest about it, it isn’t really enough. As I mentioned in one of the comments on that post, the country is my home. It is dirty and it needs cleaning up. It isn’t enough to just make my bed. I need to clean the room, the drawing room, and the kitchen too.

While I can do a bit more than what I am doing now (and I will), I am not sure if this is something that I can do alone. It is true that there is strength in numbers. However, I do not know how to mobilize the help. I need ideas on how to effectively organize ourselves to make an impact. I need help on (maybe) the use of technology to get a bunch of us together and make a concrete difference. I need pointers to something like this already being done elsewhere that I can contribute to. I need access to sources of knowledge about mechanisms like RTI that we can use as tools in this “cleanup” bid.

A part of the reason for that post on Purba’s blog is because my blog is read by all of 3 people. And the post was a call for help more than anything else. It was a call for ideas. It was a call for possible answers, or even pointers in the direction of answers. Because I do not have answers. Not all of them anyway. Not any of them, most likely.

To start with, I am going to refresh my civics, and dig some more around public policy laws that we can use, or that are, in theory, supposed to empower the citizen. I will find out more about avenues of information about what the government is doing with the citizens’ money. I will share what I find here. As a first step, the least I can do is increase awareness, mine and others’.

My request is, once again, for help. Spread the word. If you have pointers to this end, or stories, experiences, or know of programs that we can participate in … please, leave a comment. I will be eternally grateful.

I am resolving to be less apathetic, and more aware and responsible as a citizen. I hope you’ll join me.

  1. kayemofnmy
    April 5, 2012 at 04:33

    Pawan, I’ve just seen over 250 posts, each telling us what the author’s pet peeve about India is. Each person has one thing they’re passionate about. I would say, that is enough. Just decide on one thing you want to change and then, have the commitment, week after week, to invest a little time (a realistic one or two hours a week?) for it. If you can get together with other like minded people or NGOs, you’d have a support system and many voices raised as one for your cause. I’ll email you the link to those posts.

    • P
      April 6, 2012 at 18:02

      Thanks K. I’ll wait for your email. I’ve been thinking about this.

      I do not know exactly what, but I think i’d like to do something in the field of education.

  2. April 5, 2012 at 11:37

    I think the most important step is to be aware of our rights. It is surprising to see that the most educated among us also do not know their rights. Many times government offices will use this ignorance. So read up on the website about the timeframes when you go to renew a Driver’s LIcense, a Passport, a khata etc. And, also browse the websites to find the numbers of some superiors and anti-corruption NGOs. Ensure that your documents are in order and always ask for received signatures so that your records are impeccable. There are so many resources and experiences posted on the net, so use them and ask questions. If you see a line, don’t be daunted and don’t try to jump it. Most times, it will clear in half an hour. Also, the increased computerization is really helping. Look at how clean filing IT returns or paying taxes has become. Even passport applications are smooth now with PSKs coming in. So, let us keep the faith. With more technology coming in, procedures will become simpler, organized and less bribe prone. On our part, let us resist the urge to do unlawful things because the lawful ones take time. Yes, I demand better services as I am law-abiding. But, then I am pragmatic enough to understand the status quo and understand the fact it will require more work from us individuals to straighten this system. Let us not give up hope before trying.


    • P
      April 6, 2012 at 18:02

      Yep, I agree. We do not really know the avenues open to us.

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