ComMutiny—the Youth Collective (CYC), recently hosted an event to celebrate “Samvidhan LIVE, The Jagrik Project” in the national capital. The initiative aims to take the Constitution of India from text books into the lives of young people, and has already engaged with thousands on the ground. Nearly 3,000 social- and self-action tasks have been executed across 24 organisations at the state level across 14 states of India over a period of five weeks, prior to the “National Celebration” event held in Delhi.
The initiative’s format is unique, in that each “Jagrik” Samvidhan LIVE (jagrik stands for jagruk + nagrik) was paired with another jagrik from a different background but near similar in age. Both embarked on a five-week journey to discover their dreams, values, question their responsibilities, and performed several duties as tasks to explore their youth leadership potential.
Karishma, 20, a college student from Assam, spoke to Guardian 20 about her tasks at Samvidhan LIVE. “Our first task was to talk to a street hawker or a beggar and ask them about their work and what freedom means to them,” she said. “So, when we went to them and told them that we are from an NGO, the first question they asked was that if there is any new government scheme for their benefit, if there is any financial assistance. It reflected the hope they had from NGOs and government and we really felt bad over the helplessness which made us realise the condition of those who are less fortunate than us, and so we wanted to be more responsible citizens.”
Monmi, another a college student from Assam, said, “When we told our parents that we want to work with Samvidhaan LIVE, initially they were not supporting us as they were not able to understand what it is all about and wanted us to concentrate on our studies. But when we made them understand its importance they supported us, even we hadn’t had thought that we would be doing something like this. In one of the tasks we were made to spent time with a rich person and a poor person, being from a middle class family it helped me realise about their lifestyles. This project is really helpful.”
Another young volunteer, Mudit Rathore, 17, a student of class 12 from Harda, Madhya Pradesh shared his experience. He said, “Vishnu bhaiyya, who is our anchor, came to our school two months ago for Samvidhaan LIVE where we had to perform various tasks, and ever since I have been associated with them. Through those tasks they taught us about the constitution, our rights, our duties. We learnt practically about the Constitution, before that we had been taught theoretically only. Under these tasks we also went out and told other people about our Constitution.”
“We conducted similar workshops for rural and tribal youths as they have little knowledge of our Constitutional rights and duties. One of the examples I would like to give you is of what happened during one of our literacy workshops. We had a disabled tribal child, Vivek, and after our workshop, he wrote a letter to the collector demanding ramps for the disabled at government offices and institutions. Even though no action was taken, at least he raised his voice for his rights,” said Vishnu, who is also associated with the project.
Vishal Bhati, 17, a school student from Harda, Madhya Pradesh, talked about his takeaway from the initiative. “ In one of our tasks, we went to a family of a small girl who was not going to school and we asked the parents why they are not sending her to school. They told us they have financial problems. So we asked them to get her enrolled in a nearby government school. Being uneducated they had no knowledge about anything and were thus hesitant, but finally the girl was admitted to the government school,” he said.
Many such school and college students had their stories to share about how being part of this initiative was making them become more responsible citizens.
Lokasish Saha, chief executive officer of the CYC, said, “Samvidhan LIVE, The Jagrik Project has been a successful experiment that has taken the Constitution from text books into the lives of young people who have demonstrated and lived its values as active citizens. While we were always confident of the success of the initiative, we are overwhelmed by the support this initiative has garnered from all kinds of stakeholders—youths, parents, legislators, educators, media and more from all across the country.”
ComMutiny aims to facilitate the engagement of our youth in transformative social action through building understanding, acceptability and demand for empowering spaces across stakeholder groups. These are safe spaces beyond the four legitimate social “spaces” of family, livelihood/education, friends and leisure/entertainment that equip diverse youths to understand themselves, address conflicts, build cross-border relationships, clarify values/stances and develop leadership skills. The CYC Forum is a collective of over 35 civil society organisations.
Among the organisations represented at the event were, Agrini (Seoni), Bharat Calling (Itarsi), Synergy Sansthan (Harda) and Anhad Pravah (Indore) from Madhya Pradesh, Diksha Foundation and Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion ( Patna), Prantakatha (Kolkatta), Yeh Ek Soch Foundation (Lucknow), Urja Ghar and Sauhard in (Ahmedabad), We are Young Foundation (Guwahati) and Farm to food (Jorhat) in Assam, Pravah Jaipur Initiative (Jaipur) and ALFA Educational Society (Udaipur) in Rajasthan, Inside North-East in Manipur, Rubaroo ( Hyderabad), Blue Ribbon Movement (Mumbai), CAN Youth (Dimapura), People for Change (Jamshedpur), Pravah and Aagaaz Theatre Group (New Delhi) and Audacious Dreams Foundation (Vellore) in Tamil Nadu.