Three young women… what do they have in common?

The day before evening I responded to this tweet:

Yogendra Yadav @AapYogendra

To bring out more brave girls like these we need more women volunteers in gurgaon urgently. Call 9910589940 & join. Photo here

And so we landed in AAP Gurgaon office – a house converted into an office. There were other volunteers. One big reason to volunteer was to meet other volunteers. I wanted to know what motivated these women and men to step out of their homes, maybe put their careers and other activities on hold and work for a cause that the entire Indian media seems to either ignore or seems to find disappointing.  chhaya

Met Chhaya (above) and her husband Vikas, who had been following the movement since the early days and this October decided to take a break from their careers and move from Philippines to Gurgaon with their two year old baby.

Vikas goes back to work after the elections this May.

AAP topi These photographs were taken only at the end of a day of door to door campaigning, the children enthusiastically and chaotically (🙂 ) guided us and followed us everywhere.

As they demanded to be photographed I asked them if they went to school, most of them (almost all) said they didn’t.

They wanted my AAP Badge.

“You can make a badge like this. Do you like to draw?”

“But that would be a paper badge!”

“I have only one badge and there are so many of you! Let me ask a question, whoever answers gets the badge, okay?”

Did they know humans had gone to the moon? Yes they did. Did they know of an Indian who had gone to the moon?

A shy voice, “kalapanachawala” She got the badge.

* * *

For three out of four of us, this was the first time we had been to a village and interacted with village women in their homes.

Was I really surprised by the warmth? Charpoys were brought out, hot tea and snacks were offered, they even insisted we have lunch. One young mother handed me her adorable baby girl to hold🙂

I was also amazed because we had more in common than not.

Didn’t take any photographs of the women we met, I wasn’t sure how they would feel, maybe the next time I will ask.

Suchita had taken a half day off on the first day and then five more days, and is now willing to stay in a Mewat village to be able to give more time🙂 She had also joined the protests at Indian Gate last year and feels change is not possible unless we step out and make it happen. She is also a professional Kathak dancer and choreographer.

Suchita textingSanjana is from Mumbai but is working in Delhi, and she says as a policy researcher, she found AAP’s focus on decentralization the most effective for development.  Last evening she dropped me home and I found a packet of colourful Holi pichkaries on the seat, she said it was for the bunch of kids she meets every day at the traffic signal.

She also plays with the homeless dogs in her neighbourhood.

Sanjana

Reached home too late these last two days to find the time to share the experience, so sharing this (possibly full of errors!) quick post while some golden, and some green fields of Haryana pass us by.

Met many others too, and will share more about others who share the same hope – that if we all did our bit, maybe we can together, slowly (or not so slowly) change the way politics, elections and governance is seen in India.

Mewat Related Posts:

Anarchy in the Indian Context –  Ritu Lalit

Arvind Kejriwal.

Please don’t make it a circus –  Ritu Lalit

Where am I? My tryst with destiny makers  Ritu Lalit

Guess we can … find an Obama for India.

A bird on a tree outside Anna Hazare’s home in Ralegaon Siddhi.

Photographs: Protest March, M G Road, Gurgaon.

31 thoughts on “Three young women… what do they have in common?

  1. IHM your optimism is inspiring. The key is not, I think, to wait to become skilled or informed. The key is to get involved in some way on the ground. And what you say about the village life is also true… sometimes we forget that culture is a two edged knife, and just as the way women are treated in most villages cuts us, the experience of warmth that is lacking in urban individualism is also felt deeply.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this – so often the people remain faceless and nameless. Good luck to each and everyone who is making time for change and willing to fight for it on the ground.

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  3. I love this. Am out of leaves and can’t take time off this time. But my heart is with this movement even if the press blacklists it or the political powers vilify it. Good you went

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  4. Wow, it’s so nice to see this kind of activism in India – ordinary people stepping out of their homes and getting involved. In America, there is an unwritten rule, an instinctive understanding that, if you don’t like something, go and do something about it. If it doesn’t exist, create it. If it happened to you, then don’t let it happen to anyone else. When one person is angry/upset/dissatisfied about something, they will get out there and start an effort that will attract others and turn into an organization purely run by volunteers. It is wonderful to see this happening in India.
    abvblogger is right. It is not about being perfect or not making mistakes. If the values are in place, and overall, the path is pointing in the right direction, get started with something. And don’t complain unless you are willing to get involved. Looking down our noses and critiquing is not helpful. Hitting the ground and sweating it out, making mistakes, learning, working together is helpful.

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    • Most of the volunteers are simply talking to the voters about their rights and why it matters that we do not vote for money, alcohol, caste, religion, region, family tradition/loyalty, or because that’s who everybody else is voting for.

      About his opponent: http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/inld-declares-candidates-for-all-10-ls-seats-in-haryana-114031400818_1.html

      There seems to be mixed response, many people seem overwhelmingly in support, some argued why AK resigned as CM, some brought up communalism, some said ‘everybody is the same’. It’s not just about who wins elections, but why we have elections, why votes matter, what ‘Swaraj’ means.
      Chhaya has got us all to read ‘Swaraj’ – I had bought it on Kindle sometime back, have just started reading it today. Do read it.

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      • IHM, arent you being a little unfair in naming only Yadav’s INLD opponent.

        How about his main opponent Rao Inderjeet Singh, who used to be sitting MP of the Congress and is now running on a BJP ticket? And why did this Rao Inderjeet get kicked out of Cong? Because he complained against Robert Vadra’s corruption!

        Remember corruption? AAP used to talk about it…before they degenerated into an army of anti-Modi trolls.

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      • IHM, Let us hope Yogendra Yadsv will win. Presence of at least some AAP leaders in next Parliament is important for Indian Democracy. I am not sure Kejriwal decision to contest in Varanasi is wise. He should contest in a more winnable seat to ensure his presence in Parliament.

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        • The way I see it, he doesn’t think and doesn’t want his voice to be seen as more needed and more powerful, all those who understand what he is fighting for should be able to fight for the cause he supports. And he will still be there, win or lose. It’s the idea we are fighting for, not the person.

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        • IHM ,
          Problem with Kejriwal fighting in Varanasi is he may become tied up there. As the most popular leader of AAP it might be better if he reaches all parts of India, than being confined to Varanasi.
          AAP is the most credible platform for change, that is for sure. But change for each person means different things. AAP has attracted people from a wide variety of political spectrum. The challenge for AAP is to reconcile those differences by dialogue and carry all those people together post-election.

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  5. I’ve become so cynical that I completely believe in the adage: Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    I’m watching SMJ and am aghast.
    A village sarpanch denying an old couple in Rajasthan their full wages. The old couple waited for four years to be paid the remainder of their wages. They died, but never saw the money that was owed to them.

    I think politicians and government servants in India have sold their souls to the devil. They have crossed the limit that binds one human being to another. Thry no longer have the ability to feel responsible for their misdeeds.

    Corruption exists in most countries; but in India, corruption has real human costs.
    Due to corruption, poor children are denied quality education; pregnant women are denied health care and the country remains artificially poor and backward.

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        • In the previous elections we had to choose between the bad and the worse. And between “the greedy and corrupt”, and “the corrupt and violent”. Now we can choose from ‘corrupt’, ‘communal’ and ‘honest and clean governance’.

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    • “Corruption exists in most countries; but in India, corruption has real human costs.”

      Corruption, unfortunately, has real human cost everywhere.😦 In any society where corruption exists, its often the poorest and most at-risk demographic of society that wind up suffering.

      Like

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