Next Monday, for 24 hours, 20-year-old Delhi University student Anukriti Garg will live the life of a person below poverty line in India, and will try to survive on Rs 32. “This is the amount decided and I wonder how I will be able to fulfil the challenge, considering just my every day travel expense from home to college is Rs 150. And I use public transport! Maybe I’ll walk to college and survive on a banana,” says Garg, who is a final year undergraduate student of business studies in Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College.
Like her, many youngsters are engaged in different tasks and activities as part of Samvidhan LIVE — The Jagrik Project, an initiative conducted by more than 25 civil society organisations. In the run up to the Republic Day, this project has involved adolescents and youth from different parts of the country and helps understand the Indian constitution and its various articles. The endeavour is to impart practical knowledge about the rights and duties in the constitution. After experiencing a change in mindset, as part of the project, the jagriks i.e. jagruk nagrik (aware citizens) share their experiences on the project’s Facebook page.
When I wore a salwar-suit, the locals asked so many questions about why I have done so. So I can understand why girls have to face weird onlookers when they wear western clothes. -Abhishek Mishra, DU student
“I dressed up in a salwar-suit for a day,” says Abhishek Mishra, a second year student of Hindi (Hons) in Ramanujan College, DU. He slipped into a woman’s attire while participating in a cross-dressing task, among the many other activities that he experienced. “I purposely chose to be part of this task because I wanted to know why women in our country face discrimination on the basis of their dress. When I wore a salwar-suit, the locals asked so many questions. So I can understand why girls have to face weird onlookers when they wear western clothes. How does it matter to others about what one chooses to wear? Where is our right of equality then? We need to put ourselves in other’s shoes to realise the plight of others,” says Mishra.
To understand the rights of the disabled, 17-year-old Kehkasha Sheikh took up the task of knowing the life of a disabled girl. “I knew her as a neighbour but when I started my project, I got to know that life isn’t easy for her. Here I was pleading my parents to get me a new dress exactly like my friends have, and here was this disabled girl who wishes she could wear a simple jeans and top. Though her family has a comparatively stronger financial background, her dependence on her mother and sister to commute, takes away all her rights of freedom,” says Sheikh, a Std 12th student.