I believe Citizens are mostly of 5 kinds :
(I am going to take a very Astoma Satgamaya (bad to good) kind of approach)
1. Those that are not in the system. People who are indifferent to governance.
2. Those that are in the system and realize there are problems.
3. Those that see these problems and complain about them. Just complain since they seem to have all the time in the world to complain but not to do anything to rectify them.
4. Those that see complain and wish to do something about these problems, but unfortunately either don’t know how to counter these issues or just do a bad job of it. But, potential are there.
5. Those that are the change they want to see.
I want to share one of my experiences with mentoring children for a civic project 2 winters ago. We were getting 7th standard kids to understand the concept of our neighborhood while most of us grown ups can’t even spell the word right!!
For one, I liked the topic better than the previous years’. It was very diverse & vague which meant a lot of freedom to experiment with ideas, etc. The project guidelines in reality could set fewer boundaries.
These children were given 3 months to work on their project. Each team consisted of 7 kids and there were 15 teams or so from 3 different sections of the Grade 7/8 from one school. Then the best team from each of the 8-10 different schools (different income level schools, aided & private) was made to present its project at the grand finale.
All these schools belonged to different wards of the same zone, mostly from North Bangalore.
You could see each of the above 5 kinds clearly among these groups.
There were ‘had no clue what the topic is’ group (but great presentation skills), cut copy paste group, ‘for the heck of it’ group, great research work group & ‘action with impact’ group.
It wasn’t surprising to see that schools from Malleswaram were the ones that stood out since there is a strong resident welfare association that has done considerable work in keeping the citizens well informed and driven by community work. Rajajinagar schools also did well since my team had worked with them very closely and we knew exactly how to get the expected results. The children didn’t let us down either. I guess I would classify them as type 4.
Anyway, there was this one group that particularly impressed me. Being a high income group school was an added advantage which meant that the worldly exposure & quality of education they receive is superior compared to the govt schools.
What impressed me about them : This group had walked the entire stretch from Navrang circle to Malleswaram circle surveying the impact of Metro & Underpass on every house/ shop on that road. Since most people felt that dust and traffic congestion took a toll on them, these kids did a cycle rally on that road and distributed hand made paper bags to every shop on that road to encourage pollution reduction. It was probably a one day effort and might not have contributed in such a big way to reduction of pollution in Malleswaram but I see it as a strong belief that they can make a difference and just a desire in every kid’s heart on that team to be the change they want to see!