By Sanjana Sanghi:
With one of the largest populations of people living under extreme poverty, 1.4 million children between the ages of 6-11 years out of school, an exploding population, and frequent cases of human rights violations – India is in a rather precarious position. Realizing that the gravity of these problems is only increasing as time passes, 5 lakh Indians largely comprising of the marginalized sections appealed directly to the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi via the Post Card Campaign as part of the ‘Action 2015 May Mobilization Campaign’. More than 2.4 million people were also mobilized online. The hashtag #heatisOn is being pushed to encourage the public to know more about Action 2015 and bring it to the government’s notice ahead of the UN General Assembly. The average Indian is unhappy and dissatisfied with the state of affairs in our country and Action 2015 is giving us an opportunity to make change.
Amitabh Behar, the National Anchor for Action 2015, said that, “Given the sheer diversity in India, we wanted to unite and collectively send people’s voices and opinions to showcase global solidarity towards change.” The hope is that the honest concerns and voices of lakhs of Indians are heard via the Postcard Campaign and encapsulated in the adoption of the SDGs (Sustainable Developmen Goals) in September at the UN General Assembly. Realizing the urgent need for change, popular public figures such as Aamir Khan and Bill Gates also signed an open letter helping greatly in the process of creating accountability and awareness around the SDGs and Action 2015.
India’s Post Card Campaign, Uniquely Its Own
The postcard campaign which is part of the ‘May Mobilization’ chapter of the global Action 2015 campaign, conducted by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan and its state partners across the country has instantaneously provided a communication channel for the citizen to appeal for justice and demand change. In Manipur, 3000 children and several activists petitioned PM Modi to repeal the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which has constantly been a point of contention between the people of the state and the government. AFSPA accords limitless power to the armed forces, has led to the development of several underground groups, and has not been entirely successful in curbing cases of human rights violations in the North East. This is just one of the many crucial issues raised by the citizen through this campaign.
Amidst other states, Ranchi saw active participation with close to 50,000 postcards being sent out to the PM and thereby ascertaining that it is people’s voice which must decide the future.
It is hoped that the efforts of millions across the globe, and lakhs in India, will ultimately pay off as leaders from various nations meet at the UN General Assembly in order to move towards a more sustainable future where inequality and discrimination are eradicated in all forms. The Millennium Development Goals were to be met by 2015, however this has remained a distant dream both in India and globally. Therefore, the decision to adopt Sustainable Development Goals which are far more realistic and achievable has been made and will hopefully prove to be successful.
India’s efforts are part of a global movement of 21 million people, organized by 1600 organizations, from 140 countries. World over, people are striving to convey a united message – of an equal, just and secure future for the people and the planet. While each country has demands and desires that may be uniquely their own, but world influencers such as Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who initiated the Action 2015 campaign, believe that problems such as poverty, illiteracy and injustice defy the distinctions of race, gender and ethnicity and demand united collective action. It is currently the largest running campaign in the world with civil society organizations in various countries organizing rallies, events, and flash mobs demanding a better world order.