Yesterday, in the course of a conversation, a friend shared his concern about an eminent social activist having changed tracks and moved from education to rights activism. The person he was referring to had started and successfully steered a very dynamic education support network till he decided to move away. My friend seemed a little disturbed at this. At the time I let it pass and we moved on to other matters.
It is only much later that I pondered about the whole matter and wondered why someone would make such a change. I guess the answer is simply because activism has greater impact and is more visible. Or is because working on the field makes you more aware of wrongs that need to be righted? Be it the skewed education system or the non-existent child protection laws. Or one is tempted to go even further: the possibility to change social systems. It is true that when you are engaged in imparting education to a handful of children, as no matter how many you reach it out, it only remains a handful in a land as large as ours, your vision is limited and your scope restricted. And its is also true that when you have done this for years, your desire to redress torts becomes more acute. So for many the time comes to move on to a place where you feel you can make a real difference. And the sphere of activism beckons you.
I wondered whether after 10 years of battling grass root issues I too could one day be so tempted. The answer was a loud and clear NO! I have my reasons and the one that stands foremost in my mind is that children cannot wait and need to be helped now as they sadly do not have time on their side. For them tomorrow is already too late. So no matter how small the handful, for them you are the only chance they have and for me each and every child has a right to that chance.