“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” – Mahatma Gandhi
This quintessential statement holds more relevance now than ever. With the democratic process becoming unpredictable and skewed, there is a crucial need for more and more people to have the power to contribute towards the future of their own nation.
With rural areas developing at a slow pace, natives are migrating to urban areas for a better livelihood. A chance to get better wages, a shot at a better future – with such hopes, people are packing their bags and moving to more commercially dense areas in urban locales.
Almost 30% of Indians are domestic migrants. That is a huge proportion of the voting audience who lose out on their chance of being a part of their core society, and the country. In this situation, they aren’t able to raise their political concerns and have to take a backseat when it comes to making certain decisions. Some of them don’t get this chance in their entire lifetime.
The basic right of every citizen of India is to vote and identify themselves as Indian. But due to a lack of any direct laws or information on this front, these domestic workers have been forbidden to cross the lines of identification to make that judgement.
Finding a solution has become extremely important, given this scenario. How can we help these fellow citizens who have become victims of circumstance like this? What is the first step?
In this world, where we are dealing with one too many issues, a team of two girls have taken it upon themselves to help these migrant workers move one step closer to becoming voting citizens of India. Noor Takkar and Siya Malhotra, both current students of The British School, Delhi, initiated the “My Vote My Voice” program while undertaking a school project. As part of an after school activity, they started teaching underprivileged students living opposite their own school building. After several conversations with the parents and the family of these students, the realised what they could achieve by simply passing the correct information to these families, especially to migrant workers.
These citizens were unaware of the laws and formalities that encompass the voting rights of people living away from their actual homes. They weren’t clear about the procedure that could be followed to make themselves feel more connected with their democratic rights. This became the prime objective for these two girls – to create awareness amongst these people, and help them step-by-step to finally get their much-deserved Voter’s Identification cards.
Various workshops are being conducted at factories throughout Delhi to guide these domestic migrant workers and help them register for their voter cards in a systematic manner.
One such success story is that of Rangila Devi, who hails from Bihar. At the first Voter Registration Drive that was conducted earlier this year, Rangila Devi happened to be one of 54 workers present. After a rewarding session where the information was presented, 48 of these attendees were willing to go ahead with the registration process. Rangila Devi was the first one to get a voter’s ID. Eight others followed right after.
Though this may seem like a drop in the ocean, these young girls aggressively pushing their campaign and trying to reach out to more such areas in and around Delhi. And in this, they need our help and support. We have seen the big difference that can be made by just informing these domestic migrant workers of their rights! The more people volunteering to join and help, the more active and real voters we have.
Every vote matters.
Visit www.myvotemyvoice.in to contribute and spread the word to fellow samaritans.