Considering how we, as fellow commuters, have many a times turned a blind eye to those who may be in trouble in our attempt to reach a particular destination on time, it has often come as a sharp prick on the conscience on spotting someone else offering a helping hand to somebody we might have passed just a couple of seconds ago, and who was clearly in need for assistance.
This prick-on-the-conscience happened to me just the other day, as I was fighting against time to reach the place I was supposed to be at 5 minutes back. Practically haggling the auto wala to drop me off at supersonic speed, I was doubly irritated when he slowed down suddenly, in the middle of a flyover, for no apparent reason. At least that was how it seemed to me, before he drew closer to an aged uncle who was struggling to pull his wagon on the sleep slope of the flyover. Putting a foot at the back of the wooden wagon, he pushed the wagon till the highest point of the flyover, while navigating the auto through the traffic.
Once he knew that his help was no longer required by the old wagon-puller, he sped up his vehicle to an unimaginably high speed, but not before passing a sheepish smile in my direction. Intrigued and guilt-ridden, I decided on asking him a couple of questions. By now, all thoughts of being horribly late were pushed back to a secluded corner in my mind.
After a quick, but not really a pleasant, conversation with him, I realised that his daughter was suffering from what I gathered to be a very serious brain injury, and he could do nothing about it since a surgery was way out of his budget.
She has brief fainting spells at least five times a day, is unable to attend school or play with her friends, remains aloof most of the time but has her hyper-active moments now and then, and loves it when their pet dog nuzzles her lovingly.
He clearly has big dreams for her, and wants to fully invest on her future, but financial constraint prevents him from carrying his thoughts forward.
Going by his story, it is obvious that sometimes, an initiative to kick-start a social change goes deeper than superficial, trend-setting ideas.
How would Mr. Narendra Modi’s recently-launched #SelfieWithDaughter campaign help the little girl recover from her head injury? How will it help her father get enough money to see it happen?
When the aim is to bring about a social change, the idea should be to target the mentality, and at the same time, provide financial support for people to engage actively in the campaign.
Ironically, instead of hitting the bull’s eye, Mr. Modi’s campaign against female foeticide and infanticide boomeranged into targeting women yet again. A country that boasts of freedom of speech and expression abused and insulted a woman who dared to voice her opinions regarding the campaign. A country that aims to fight gender imbalance, tried to put a woman “in her place” – a woman who dared to speak her mind on a highly public forum, who dared to challenge a politically influential person.
Is this what we were aiming at, while showing support for the campaign, and posting self-clicked pictures with daughters on social media?
Mere words won’t help facilitate a cause any more than launching just an initiative will help bring about a change. And some of us need to understand that.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.