Looking ahead from ground zero..

One is often so engrossed in the now, that one forgets to delve into the realm of the after. Yet unless we take time to do that, we may remain frozen in time.

Spiritual masters often ask us to visualise the future if we want to see it realised. I guess there is some truth in that. We have many nows in our lives, each pertinent to a particular field of our activities and each requiring its own visualisation.

Maybe it is time for me to assess the now of pwhy and make some projections. Let us consider this instant as ground zero and dream a little.

A bunch of children of all ages and sizes were brought together under the pwhy aegis a few years ago with the sole purpose of trying to better their tomorrows. The first task was to keep them in school as education was often hailed as a panacea to all ills. We set about this task and completed it with success. Somewhere down the line we realised that what was offered as education was in no way going to make a difference to these young lives as much more was needed. So we set about qualifying and quantifying the missing elements or defining the true ground zero.

One common factor linked all our children: they belonged to an urban slum. That sole factor dictated the quality of their lives: poor habitat, bad education, abysmal medical health facilities, few employment options one one side and great expectations fuelled by urban dreams on the other. To lace it all a feudal attitude vis-a-vis those in power.

The fact is that most of what is mentioned - habitat, school etc - has fallen into this state of despair because existing government programmes have been hijacked down the road. And as the end beneficiary are often kept in the dark, no one is ever able to redress the torts.

Hence if we look ahead from ground zero and allow ourselves to dream a little what we see is a day when people will be in a position to ask for all that is rightfully theirs and has been lost in transition. We tend to forget or maybe do not give enough importance to the tools that we have been given. I refer to the Right to Information Act that enables every Indian to seek redressal for a few rupees.

If that day is to dawn, then one needs to empower people and teach them responsibility. And the only way to do that is to catch them young. It has now become imperative for us at pwhy to move beyond the books and curriculum and teach our children the art of being a citizen.