Monday, October 25, 2010

Social Entrepreneurship - Guest lecture by Nikhil Dey

Social Entrepreneurship in the 6th term has become one of the most interesting, thought provoking subjects I have taken at IIMB. OB classes made me take a look at myself, but SE on the other hand, is making me think how I should look at the world around me and how I can make a difference. In the journey called Social Entrepreneurship, we have come face to face with so many people who have selflessly dedicated their lives to making others lives less of a struggle.

MKSS - Nikhil Dey(Right) with Aruna Roy and Shankar Singh. (Photo Source: Tehelka)

One such person is Nikhil Dey. Founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghathan, a non-party peoples' organization, held a guest lecture at IIMB - PGSEM Social Entrepreneurship class yesterday. MKSS famously used the right to information as tool to draw attention to the underpayment of daily wage earners and farmers on government projects, and more generally, to expose corruption in government expenditure. Initially, MKSS lobbied government to obtain information such as muster rolls (employment and payment records) and bills and vouchers relating to purchase and transportation of materials. This information was then crosschecked at Jan Sunwais (public hearings) against actual testimonies of workers. The public hearings were incredibly successful in drawing attention to corruption and exposing leakages in the system. They were particularly significant because of their use of hard documentary evidence to support the claims of villagers. 

We live in our sheltered world, have all the right answers to our problems. But what about the 60% of our population, which doesn't even get a Rs.100 per day? What about them who have no money, no power, no education to guide them through? Take a look at this video and you will know what MKSS is accomplishing in Rajasthan. 

We are all political. Right from the way we treat womenfolks at house, the way we treat our domestic help, the way we see what is going on around us. We are deeply political. But when it comes to doing something about it, we raise our hands and say "what can I do?" or "Our country has gone to the dogs. Only God can save it". We have abstained from the political process all together and have left it to the gundas who are our so called 'leaders', who are only interested in making money for themselves and people who elect them are jokers to them. Have we tried to find out what our elected representatives have done for us? Have we tried to get information about what development works are going on in our area? Can we find out who laid our roads that develop potholes every 3 months, and who was the engineer who okayed it and passed the payments? Do we try to get information on why all the greenery of Bangalore is being sacrificed in the name of development? 

But can we really make a difference? 


The right to information act is truly powerful. The government has never been accountable to the people so far. The government is ours, the MPs and MLAs are our servants. We chose them to do our work for us. RTI is that tool with which we can ask them what the hell are they doing, how they are spending our money. The money that we earn by travelling to the other end of the city - day in & day out, the money that we earn by slogging every weekday of the month.

Today, I invite all of you to give it a thought and to participate in our democracy. Try to get involved. If every informed citizen like you and me takes the responsibility to get involved in our democracy, we can make our society better. Especially at the time when our MLAs are ready to be sold for obscene amount of money due to their greed for power, position and wealth. Especially when the legislature is a place for goondas who have made a mockery of democracy. Especially when the elected MLAs have brought shame to the state.

Links: Longer version of the video is available here.
A video that every Indian should watch: Aruna Roy at IISc, Bangalore

1 comment:


Get Our Latest Posts Via Email - It's Free

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner