Girls from Serisha village in Gujarat are helping in the betterment of their community and breaking their orthodox cages by playing simple games that help them understand the constitution.
Bhavik Sharma, a graduate in Gujrati Literature, first started working in the field of education when he joined Sauhard – a non-profit organization from Ahmedabad working on youth development with an aim to promote and establish peace, harmony and equality through creative media – as a fellow. He eventually started working on girls’ education in his own village Serisha, where he found a high drop-out rate amongst girls.
He was one of the Jagriks who conducted Samvidhan Live! The Jagrik Project – a nationwide initiative designed and anchored by ComMutiny – The Youth Collective (CYC), in collaboration with 22 organizations in 14 states, that is engaging more than 600 youngsters by making them live the Constitution for 5 weeks through various social action tasks – on behalf of Sauhard in his village. Talking about how the tasks were imbued in the girls there, Bhavik talks about 2 specific incidents.
In the first case, 3 girls – Shahida, Zulekha and Farzana – were asked to file a petition to the local government about a pertinent problem faced by their community. The girls found out that there was a filthy pond in the area that eventually became a landfill for garbage. They filed a complaint with the Sarpanch and to their surprise, their appeal was heard and an awareness campaign was started to awaken people about the vices of littering. The girls also took a session on the importance of cleanliness in a local primary school.
Talking about another task, Bhavik mentioned how 2 girls – Paras and Jaya – were asked to stay mute for 24 hours, that metaphorically symbolized the importance of Freedom of Speech. It had been an enriching experience where they realized that if they are not allowed to speak, the harm is done not only to themselves but on others around them too.
“Coming from orthodox families, these girls were always kept in a cocoon. Most had dropped out after their 10th standard. Girls coming out from such backgrounds and taking actions like filing a complaint or taking sessions on cleanliness; understanding their rights and duties and much more was unthinkable for me. But Samvidhan Live! Helped them and me to pull it off” says a gleefully shocked and simultaneously proud Bhavik.
According to Bhavik, the experience came out as self-learning for the girls that were complaining about the government and not taking initiatives to create cleanliness is not right. It is more important to be aware about their duties first as responsible citizens. They learnt that the true essence of Samvidhan is not speaking about their rights by completely forgetting their duties. On the contrary, it is about taking action.
Bhavik also shared his learning as a Jagrik that these girls have given him confidence that changes in our society can be brought by working on ground as well. “Not only I have a greater understanding of our constitution now by witnessing the social action these girls have taken, but I am also going to include my experience, in constitutional learning from Samvidhan Live!, in the educational module for the other girls in the education centre too.” Says Bhavik.
He further gave us a powerful message that if we want our rights, we shouldn’t neglect our duties at the first place. If we perform our duties, we will eventually get our rights. A balance between the need of rights and following our duties is essential.
Through their campaigns, Sauhard has successfully been able to focus on the importance of living the constitution rather than just making people aware about their rights and duties. In an era where workshops can be easily conducted to create awareness, the Jagriks are exposed to the reality by actually performing the tasks and living the experience of the constitution; thus, leading to their self-development as responsible citizens.