SOURCE: Hindustan Times
Alarm Bajne Se Pehle, Jaago Re
Anyone who has snoozed the alarm one too many times, and then missed a crucial flight, must be familiar with how no amount of pleas, threats, or arguments before the airline staff can reverse your fortunes once the plane has taken off. What's harder still is shaking off that sense of regret for the rest of the day — the one where you wish you'd woken up just 15 minutes earlier.
It is no surprise that recent events in the country have seen more and more people take to the streets—and others to their Twitter and Facebook accounts—to rally behind causes close to their hearts. After all, we Indians are a passionate lot, prone to protesting fiercely and persistently by way of expressing our love and support. Thanks to social media, it's now easier than ever to organise marches, walks, and peaceful gatherings, or simply expound one's opinion — be it the protests on Marina Beach, Chennai after the Jallikattu ban, or the nationwide #IWillGoOut rally to protest crimes against women, after Bengaluru's most recent NYE embarrassment.
In fact, as per a survey of police data byIndiaSpend, protests within India rose by 55% between 2009 and 2014. Within these six years, 4,20,000 protests were held across the country, amounting to a nationwide average of 200 protests every day. In addition to these numbers, social media ensured that whether or not you take to the streets, you can continue to be indignant online.
SOURCE: Hindustan Times
Too loud, too late
What's common to most cases of social protests is that these demonstrations are largely reactionary in nature, organized after a mishap, a crime, or an event. For instance, candlelight vigils against India's rape culture can be a significant and cathartic gesture after a violent crime is reported. And, yet, how often do citizens in the same numbers participate in dialogue against the very mechanisms of society that make such crimes possible?
In a democracy as complex as ours, activism is an essential tool for raising awareness about a society's issues; however, it's hardly possible to eradicate those issues by protests alone. Creating actual change and reform is a long-drawn process, requiring patience and persistence, as well as self-examination and dialogue between a nation and its citizens.
Unfortunately, it lacks the charm of a candlelight march; nor does it grab media headlines.
SOURCE: Hindustan Times
Not enough action, plenty of reaction
As an overly emotional nation, it's understandable that we are given to passionate demonstrations, often in the middle of a working day. However, for those who are really interested in solutions, the course (much like true love) doesn't run smooth.
Consider these two hypothetical examples: As a staunch animal lover, would you rather protest once www.jaagore.comthe rare Indian Pangolin is declared extinct, or work towards ensuring that we save what little numbers we have left through active policy changes? Similarly, why wait till the next report of sexual assault when we could be discussing civic solutions in our neighbourhoods and cities from the get go, given how women's safety has been a problem in India since prehistoric times?
The answer here, as the Bee Gees once famously sang, likely depends on how deep your love is. On Valentine's Day — a date which, in India, is at particularly marked by several protests of its own — it seems only fitting that we ask ourselves the same. Are we satisfied being armchair warriors who react and rage once the damage is done?
Or, is our love deep enough to drive us into making essential changes every day, tirelessly and often without acknowledgment, until a solution is in sight?
Today, more than ever, it's important to talk about issues before they turn into disasters—to watch out for warning signs, to wake up before the alarm rings. #JaagoRe, a TATA Tea initiative, encourages all citizens to strive for change before it's too late. Join the conversation at www.jaagore.com
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