I joined Facebook around the same time Youth Ki Awaaz started. i.e. when I was in Std. 8, only to play Mafia Wars and other such games. The next year, CBSE tried to experiment with the way we gave our exams and I made a group called ‘CCE suxxxxx’ and we all ranted in our echo chamber on how we will bring an education revolution and change the world.
It did not happen.
In fact, in my next few years of education, I went on to be bullied by the stupid system which by now I found too powerful to tame. And the people around me too scared to take over. That’s when I started writing public posts on Facebook about the issues I thought everyone needs to speak about, and why we need to change. I stumbled upon Youth Ki Awaaz every now and then and always thought I should write here too, and when I do I will be among the top writers ASAP.
But I stalked the people who brought change and talked about them on my Facebook wall. That’s how I made a collective persona of what an idol is and that the only way to worship that idol is by propagating change. The Anna movement may or may not have been a success at getting the Lokpal Bill passed. But the anna badge on my Facebook profile gave out the statement to my friends, I don’t like corruption. And to this date, that picture is on my profile. I am not ashamed of it.
Khemkas and other many upright officials I saw in my life, made me run to the RTO at least 5 times to get my duplicate license myself. Yes, I was kinda jobless. No, the only reason to do it was to figure out why people give bribes and why middlemen exist. (Also makes me wonder if our employment surveys count the crores of such middlemen that exist). I got my duplicate license without any bribes. I wrote about it. I wrote about all the kind officers who tried to help me.
I once got in trouble at a railway station, I wrote about the upright RPF guy who made it a point that no one escapes without a fine. I wrote about him.
Cut to 2017, I wrote about Gurmehar Kaur on Youth Ki Awaaz. About why Kiren Rijiju is wrong about her and people who are polluting her. I wrote about my personal problem with the goons that have messed up our universities. I wrote about environmentalists and the Save Aarey issue. That made me change things myself, rather than just write about it. I wrote about Sameer, a guy who changes people and situations with his poetry. That post must have inspired at least ONE writer to take their art/talent to a new level by helping the society.
I write about change and changemakers because the will to change is contagious. Just like the will to sit back and watch the world burn.
I believe if I can inspire through my words about the deeds of others, somewhere someone may look at a problem and say: Hey, I can solve this.
It has happened, be it giving blood donations, filing a police complaint about a child beggar, filing a complaint about forest fires, about open burning in Mumbai, about beach cleaners of Vasai, about traffic wardens, about wardens who fine people who spit in the open, about live electric wires, about dirty courts, RTOs, other offices, about potholes, about dump in the open, about overflowing sewerage. Words have the power to inspire, to bring change. I write about change and changemakers to inspire more changemakers who perhaps only wanted a Yash Marwah’s FB update or YKA’s article to stand up and bring change themselves. And I continue to write because I have seen change begetting change.
And I continue to be thankful to YKA for existing, and the community for keeping it alive. Together, we will change a billion things.