At a recent three-day workshop hosted at Bhagavatula Charitable Trust, participants from across South India convened for the ‘Constitution for Citizen Action’ workshop. Ms Vinita Singh, Managing Trustee of We The People for Action (WTPA) shed light on the power of the Indian Constitution.
She detailed how the Constitution in itself had a comprehensive list of wonderfully phrased articles, rights, duties & amendments and more serving as a guide for society. Along with co-trainer Ms Sana Siddiqui, the duo elaborated n the importance of foundational constitutional knowledge and its applicability across sectors. ‘Whether you are in education, health or even livelihoods, or are fighting an individual battle of personal prejudices and discrimination, this is your weapon,’ she said adding that one needn’t get aggressive in this fight, for the constitution lays it out in a logical manner.
The participants were leaders from different organizations as well. This included NGOs working for resource development and livelihoods of tribal people like ARTS, those working for women’s rights and youth empowerment like Chaitanya Sravanti, Kerela-based organization, Constitution Literacy Council working on council awareness, Vizag’s FluentGrid representatives, BCT KVK working for farmers, Kalam’s education welfare Trust from Bangalore working in education and Grameena Incubation centre working for rural entrepreneurship. At the start, each wondered how the Indian constitution could guide them in their particular cause. And at the end, each took away fascinating learnings.
From rights like the ‘Right to quality of life’, which could benefit many, to specific acts like the ‘Panchayat raj act’ for the rural and tribal populace, various aspects were discussed. The 3-day event set the groundwork for Training of Trainers workshops to follow. It enabled each to list the common issues they face, to identify the right people to approach, consider the right acts or provisions in the constitution, and then how to take the way forward. Success stories were shared by the trainers which showed how change was taking place at the grassroot levels as well.
And that was not all. The participants also learned to identify the issues they face at home, with family and relatives. ‘Those are the most difficult confrontations, for they are with the people we love the most’, shared Vinita, adding the need to speak up, be it with uncles or aunts, for you are backed with the Indian constitution in hand.
B Sri Ram Murty, Secretary of BCT the host organization expressed that the tool of the constitution could be utilised to let people know that what all governments are doing, is their right as enshrined in the Constitution and not the “goodness” of the person sitting in the highest chair.
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