Monday, July 18, 2011

How Best Can Secular Indians Get Together?

How do Secular Indians Organise in a safe and uplifting environment? The answer is guaranteed to surprise. It is simple, do-able and very effective.

A previous post in June 2010 exhorted secular minded Indians to organise. The communal minded already seem to have, under the umbrella of a communal minded politician. The secular minded are happy to co-exist and work or socialize with anyone they like, irrespective of the community they belong to. 

In today’s climate, with the hardened attitude of the communal minded towards anyone who is different or anyone who from their own community is ambiguous about those differences, our laid back, easy going attitude is simply not enough.

There are a lot of suggestions, some very good, about what we can do to stem an intolerant communal mindset towards anyone who is different. But our efforts will come to nought if we don’t learn to organize first. Who would be more effective in combating the supreme power our politicians seem to enjoy - a billion lone individuals or a billion strong force?

Part II: Accountability is a very important aspect of any organization. (A link to accountability at the end of this post) We generally feel accountability is what is lacking in many of our politicians - communal or otherwiseWhy is India-Against-Corruption effective? We feel it's leaders like Anna and Arvind Kejriwal have a possible solution to the blatant corruption and looting of tax payer money. They have taken great pains to show us why our current anti-corruption bill is ineffective in curbing the excesses of our politicians and they have presented another bill as a possible option to check these excesses. They have left all the points they've made open to discussion. They take great pains to clear our doubts which they encourage us to express. In every way we feel they are accountable. What have they achieved to date? They've managed to organise us into a huge mass movement. ORGANISE us.

How else could we acquire the skills of organising? We could work for a common cause. Once we are working for a cause we passionately espouse and meet others who feel as strongly about it, we tend to forget which community the individual members belong to. Our appreciation is for that individual’s dedication, wisdom, intelligence and other qualities. In turn there is something in us that they appreciate.

So many Indians already know the joys of getting actively involved with charity. How will that help us fight communalism or racial politics, you might well ask.
 The members of any charitable organization will tell you how essential it is to put aside individual egos and work as a team for a cause. They'll also tell you they
  • are normally there to right a wrong; to help alleviate pain and injustice.
  • need all the help they can get.
  • are already organized into a formidable force that makes a difference.
  • are often under resourced but know how to utilise whatever is at hand to make a difference.
  • need all the help they can get. It doesn’t have to be monetary help. Morgan Hunt, in his article about the significance of volunteering time to non profit organizations agrees that donating your time is good for you; sometimes it is better than donating money.
And I cannot think of any other approach that lets us be altruistic as we simultaneously acquire the many vital skills of belonging to such an organisation.

This is but a start. This is what so many more of us than ever before can do right now. In conclusion, the first step to making our communal minded politicians accountable is through getting organized ourselves. Let us give a small portion of our time (daily / weekly / monthly) and our trust to charitable organisations that already exist. We can help them even as they help us get to know and appreciate each other, irrespective of the community we belong to.

You might find this link to "Accountability" by Cass Wheeler and Ho Sun Yee well worth going through: 

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