HYDERABAD: Imagine you were shipwrecked with a hundred others on an uninhabited island - what would you do to bring in a system of governance to ensure equitable distribution of resources? Does one need a set of rules to abide by or is a banana republic the way to go? Faced with a similar proposition on Republic Day, a handful of Hyderabadis created their own charter for survival at a function at the Government School in Rasoolpura. What started out on a lighter vein with teams of nine thinking up a name for their island, took a serious turn as each team wrote down their own ‘constitution’ for the island.
“Division of labour is important. There should be an appointed individual for basic necessities, from fetching water to taking care of the medical needs of the residents,” said an unassuming Lavanya. A resident of Rasoolpura, she knew little about January 26 beyond the fact that her children had a holiday at school.
The issues raised by the groups, mainly women, dealt with issues of financial security and well-being of the residents, a reflection on the challenges they face at home. The common refrain across the groups was to establish a system of equal opportunities which did not discriminate based on caste, religion or economic status.
There were others like Arpita Upadhyay, an MNC employee and Jyotsna Cheruvu, a finance manager in a construction company, who wanted to be a part of an initiative for outreach or to ‘give-back’ to the society. “I wanted to see how does one mobilize people or become part of an organization working for social cause, and decided to come here,” said Arpita.
Organized as an initiative for spreading awareness about the Constitution and the importance of January 26 as the day the nation gained its sovereignty, by the city-based non-governmental organization Bhumi and ‘We The People’ which works from Mumbai, the programme was part of the citizenship-building mission by the Mumbai-based organization.
“The aim is to inform people of their constitutional rights and duties. We want to inform them of the provisions laid down for them,” said Kadambini of ‘We The People’.
A volunteer who lives in the Rasoolpura area which is largely an urban slum, Razia has helped the people congregate. “Many women work as domestic helps and the men run small businesses. Except for the school-going children, few know of what the Constitution stands for. The programme will help them know more about it,” said a cheerful Razia.
As they got together to celebrate the true spirit of the Republic, January 26, at least for them, turned out to be more than just another holiday.