As we approach Independence Day it is a good time to reflect on the distance we have come as a nation and the destination ahead. The India we want for ourselves and our next generation.
There is a lot of talk about the rights of citizens. As we approach this Independence Day let us equally, put the spotlight on the responsibilities of citizens. A popular and convenient definition of citizen responsibility is voting and paying taxes.
Until a few decades ago life moved at a far slower pace. Things changed over the course of years. The world we are in today is too complex and dynamic. This is not a world where governments or civic bodies alone can deliver a New India. India cannot be its highest self without your active participation.
The environmental challenges we face are enormous. Land, water, and air are polluted. These cannot change without the active and ongoing participation of citizens.
There are paradigms around giving and doing. There are people who feel that to be of service they need to be part of some organization. Or they have a benchmark of some amount (which varies from person to person) to give.
Participation in nation-building does not require you to take a sabbatical from your work or make enormous monetary donations or join politics. In fact, it can be easily integrated into your daily life.
In reality, all you need is yourself and the intention to be of service.
Most people can give either time or money or physical objects*
or efforts. *Donate something you have at home.
You can start with one action, once a week. Every week. It is literally as simple as that. One action a week done consistently can mean 52 actions in a year.
From a child of 10 years to super senior citizens everyone can make a joyous difference. You would be pleasantly surprised to know the many ways in which every demographic can make a positive contribution.
Diversity or novelty is not the name of the game. Consistency is. Your chosen action could be to give a meal to one needy person per week. And you do that diligently week after week. That is good enough.
Here are some India Positive action suggestions for different demographics :
Working professional / Entrepreneur
- Don’t litter ever. Inspire/invite all in your workplace to do so.
- Buy products that are ‘Made in India’ for your office supplies/gifting.
- Help someone develop new skills. Perhaps you can mentor as an individual or as a group.
- Reduce waste generated in the office.
- Ensure eWaste is disposed of responsibly.
- Look at ways in which you can help people through your work. E.g. A Lawyer provides pro bono help to a certain number of people per year who need the legal service but are unable to afford it.
- Carry a reusable bag while shopping to reduce plastic. Ensure a plastic bag free home.
- One a week give a meal to someone who needs it. Cook a little extra and give it.
- Reduce. Reuse. Repair. Recycle. Make this a family mantra.
- Speak about India with pride and responsibility. Your children will imbibe that.
- Be the India Positive Citizen champion of your home inspiring family members to take action and support those who do.
- Grow a herb garden at home - coriander , spinach etc. Healthier produce for your home and fewer food miles i.e. lesser air pollution.
- Be the #SwacchBharat champion of your home. Don’t litter. Don’t allow any family member to litter.
- Plant a sapling
- Provide food and water for sparrows.
- Give your old books and toys to other children.
Ideas for other demographics and different occasions are outlined in the books India Positive Citizen
and 500+ Ways to be an India Positive Citizen
. The joy of being able to bring a smile to another is priceless.
While our family nurtured us, we are equally nurtured by and indebted to millions of Indians who helped to build our culture and country. To every person who planted a tree, every teacher who instilled positive values, to every craftsman and writer whose work transcends time and space to inspire us today. We are indebted to the unsung freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives so that we may be a free nation, to the brave men and women of our armed forces who protect the nation 24/7.
Contributing to the nation is no anymore merely a ‘nice’ thing to do. It is the need of the hour as also our responsibility.
The outcome of millions of citizens doing at least one India Positive action a week will be a kinder, happier, more equitable, and sustainable India.
This Independence Day invites every Indian citizen to pledge to be an INDIA POSITIVE CITIZEN.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.