Reclaiming their rights...

Sunday 13 May was an special day at project why. A Right to Information meeting was held at our Okhla centre. Santosh and Priyanka tow RTI activists from Parivartan and Kabir, came all the wau from east Delhi to explain how this Act could make a diference in the lives of humble Indian citizens. The meet had been organised by Amit and our community awareness team.

It was a hot sultry day and at first attendance was scarce as many believed that the meeting was dubious reasons ranging. A little prompting from Pushpa and Manju our Okhla centre teachers and numerous trips by kids to their home did the trick and soon some parents and bystanders arrived. As the meeting began more people joined in. Santosh and Priyanka introduced the RTI in simple terms replete with case studies and slowly the motley crowded got interested and started sharing their stories. The main theme was ration cards and ration availability, something that seemed to touch everyone. A palpable excitement pervaded the atmosphere as simple people slowly realised that they too had a voice, and one that could be heard.

Slowly people started to raise their own issues ranging from admission in schools to the precarious nature of their habitat and our RTI activists showed them how even such issues could be addressed through RTI.

The seed had been sown. And though there were a few discordant notes namely voiced by some drunken men, the general mood was one of optimism and hope. But we cannot rest o our laurels, this is just the embryonic beginning of what can be an incredible journey. We will help file some applications this week itself as the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Simple souls have short memories and the wretchedness of their lives may soon obliterate this fleeting moment of hope.

It is our duty to do so.