The Optimist Citizen
Jagrik Project Diksha

When a 13-year-old re-wrote the preamble to make others inclusive towards her fellow, minority, school mates

The Youth Collective’s Samvidhan Live! The Jagrik Project, 13-year-old Diksha encapsulated the values of our constitution by making a more inclusive preamble for her school mates in a tribal district in Madhya Pradesh.

Samvidhan Live! The Jagrik Project is 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. These tasks are innovatively designed and are centered around our Fundamental Rights and Duties.

Shirish Chouriya and Navendu Mishra are from the organization Agrini, which is based in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh and is a part of ComMutiny – The Youth Collective. This organization works to bring advanced learning techniques to the suburban and rural schools, transforming and refining government schools to provide children a better quality of education. Shirish and Navendu are currently working in Agrini’s base school which is located in Kurai, a tribal belt near Pench National Park, where they facilitated Samvidhan Live! The Jagrik Project and made students of their school play a key role in completion of the task by making them experience their Fundamental Rights and Duties.

One of the most active participant from that school was 13-year-old Diksha. Diksha was observant of the surroundings around her and was one of the many students who actively participated in the various tasks. Now, the task given to the participants was to redesign and reform the Preamble of our Indian Constitution as per the requirements of their own community or school. As Diksha is Prime Minister of the ‘Baal Sansad’ (Child Parliament) – a student union working in a democratic manner to solve the problems of the fellow students – she took up the responsibility in leading and completing this task with her other schoolmates. Diksha was a very vigilant student and a keen observer of her surroundings but when she thought about everything from a constitutional perspective, it gave her a completely new insight. Since Kurai is a tribal belt, the people there were not treated equally and some students in the school too felt left out. So, she and some of her fellow mates redefined the principle of Secularism and Freedom. “Every student has different patterns of learning and they should not be forced to learn only from books because it is expected of them. Instead all the students should be free to learn through whatever method they learn the most from”, was her statement when she was asked about what according to her is Right to Freedom.

“When I saw her learn and express the realities so beautifully, I realized the importance of our Fundamental Rights and Duties myself. It is easy to read about them in books, and it is easier to speak about them; but when you experience these rights and duties yourself, and see others around you experiencing and growing from the same, it is a different development altogether because this learning won’t fade away with another passing year but instead, would stay.” says Shirish.

In the beginning it was difficult for both of them – Shirish and Navendu – because children did not understand what this activity was about. They were not able to relate to the these words ‘rights and duties’ that were being projected. But after some activities, the children began grasping things and started taking leads and the result turned out to be great. Diksha’s attempt with her fellow students in rewriting the preamble, in terms of the present student community, is a testimony to that fact.

Shirish and Navendu’s experience with Diksha and other students is a clear indicator of the necessity for people, specifically children, to live the Constitution themselves rather than just reading and mugging it up. Constitution is not just a document, it’s a work of art, a masterpiece, which can only be appreciated when one lives it and experiences it. However emphatic or exaggerated this statement might sound but, this, in many ways is how responsible citizens of a democracy are transformed – through an experiential learning of their constitution.

Anshika Maheshwari | TOC

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