These are difficult times for our nation.
The Karni Sena is going violent over the release of a film. Various caste groups are protesting in turns for greater privileges. The judiciary is churning over controversies.
At such a time, it’s not difficult to wonder – were we even meant to be one nation? What is the basis of being Indian? What is this all about?
It is in the background of such historical darkness that young people across 20 states are on a journey to live and explore the constitution : as Samvidhaan Live.
Samvidhan Live began as an idea to revive the spirit of constitution (a place where Gandhi meets Ambedkar). Soon it turned into a playable game – to be played in pairs with tasks related to rights and duties.
Then, it went viral.
With support from donors and an underlying collective (ComMutiny, The Youth Collective) it moved to a 20 location exercise, pan India.
The Whatsapp group of Samvidhan Live is filled with inspiring stories, pictures and videos of Jagriks (Jagrik = aware Nagrik). Smiling young people from all over the country in one group, sharing how the constitution comes alive for them as they go about enacting the game.
As experiences come pouring in, each carries a small flavour of the greatness of our constitution. Together, it starts creating the picture that our founding fathers must have imagined.
It is very easy to break this down into numbers (400 odd Jagriks) and compare them to the 600 million young people in the country. In this contrast it looks very tiny and even trivial.
Yet, it is exactly the ray of hope that the nation today needs. In the deep seated divisions that wreck our society, if there is one place where we can all meet together, it is the constitution.
However “western” its values may seem, they aren’t too different from those espoused by timeless wisdom traditions and faiths. That of caring for another human being and treating them like your own siblings – the deep value of love, the reason of us coming together as one nation.
At the same time, the interpretation of the constitution, fleshing it out and answering what it means in today’s times is the work of each generation. The document is designed to be an evolving document – and that is the wisdom of our founding fathers that is enshrined in it.
As we contemplate those values and live them out, we move closer to co-creating an India of our shared dreams. We become more of a One Nation – with all its richness and diversity, yet held by this beautiful and deep commitment.
As a reminder of that Fraternity in acton, Samvidhan is a much needed reminder – not as much to the idealistic and starry eyed young people but much more to ourselves.
For me, it helps me silence my cynical jaded self and gives me many reasons to smile, many reasons to hope and reaffirms my belief in the power of good.
Abhishek Thakore is the co-founder of Blue Ribbon Movement, an organizational member of CYC – the Youth Collective.