By Souvik Saha:
An industrial cosmopolitan town, with a majority of private schools where academics is given more importance and rights, duties and the Constitution is something that is relegated to the pages of a Civics book, which once the lesson is over is not thought of again.
This is Jamshedpur, a town known for its steel, green boulevards, wide roads, world-class schools and civic amenities all courtesy an industrial giant, which has several factories and businesses in the city.
This town was shaken from its slumber by a group of class 11 adoloscents from Jamshedpur Public School, through Samvidhan LIVE. The Jagrik Project is a public initiative by “ComMutiny – The Youth Collective” based in New Delhi, in association with People For Change.
Through weekly tasks of performing rights and duties and listening and sharing their experiences at the weekly Jamghats, these 25 pairs of adolescents began living the constitution and experiencing fundamental rights and duties for the first time.
“I had never known my rights and duties as given to me by the constitution and now I feel more connected to my nation and to its people through this game,” said Amrit Varsha one of the Jagriks. “We had a fabulous time doing all activities and while they were not easy I did them with my partner and now feel a sense of empowerment and duty,” added her partner Soumita Ghosh.
The girls spent a day on ₹32 and started the day without breakfast, to save money. They kept a portion of the money aside as rent for their house and school fees and by early morning were left with only ₹17. “We were at our wit’s end, as to how to manage the day with this money, and had also begun to understand that there was no equality within people in our own country. While some had everything, for others there was not enough even to cover bare necessities for life,” shared Amrit Varsha.
“We walked to school and back and then again to our tuition to save money. We were famished by the evening and could no longer bear the hunger. We ate a Dabeli for ₹10 and were left with only ₹7 which could not even buy us food,” she said further.
Soumita Ghosh also added that this was probably the first time in her life that she had experienced hunger and could actually begin to see inequality in our country, as a reality.
This tasks and the survey conducted by the participants also proved to be a reality check for teachers, parents and community. “I have been teaching history and civics since past twenty years, but this is probably for the first time that I have seriously looked into my rights and analyzed my duties towards my nation. It has been a wonderful learning experience,” shared Poonam, a teacher, during one of the Jamghats.
The campaign has made people sit up and take notice of the Constitution and has been instrumental in igniting a spark to help people deepen their understanding of a gift that we, the people of India have given to ourselves.
About The Author: Souvik Saha, is Co-Founder People for Change, Jamshedpur and invitee board member to ComMutiny- The Youth Collective.