Simplifying the Constitution

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The word “Constitution” reminds most of us of a boring Civics lesson. We’d yawn in the middle, and let half the information slip out of our head. Eventually, we write exams, get a degree, get a job, and forget all about it!As we grow old, we read the newspaper in the morning, watch the news, express grief and condolences, bang our fist on the table, seething with disappointment at the government. Wake up the next morning and repeat. Another day, different news, or the same prolonged one, going on for weeks and months, as life goes on.

Have we started living in paradoxes of being empathetic and yet so callous? Have we become more demanding and less responsible? Are we used to living in oblivion, rather than trying to be informed? Are we more focussed on rights than on our duties? Do we even have spaces to make us aware of these rights and duties?

Endeavoring to explore answers to some of these questions, ComMutiny –The Youth Collective has come up with Samvidhan LIVE – The Jagrik Project, a game “with the young, by the young, and for the young”. It’s a reality-check of the on-ground experiences of the people of India, living their constitutional rights and duties.

Jagrik is an informed citizen (jagruk+nagrik). They are someone keen to learn about their duties and rights, explore their potential as a citizen of the nation, and play a part in spreading that keenness to other people. Hundreds of such young Jagriks are playing this game and creating fascinating stories while performing their assigned refl-action tasks.

“The term ‘Jagrik’ itself pulled me to participate in the game. Learning about the Constitution is so much fun now. Had anyone forced me to sit and listen, I would have never enjoyed it. In situations, as such, we whine about how boring all of this stuff about the Constitution is, and we simply don’t bother. I am not participating because some tasks have to be completed, but rather because it’s interesting,” says Tanya, a Jagrik from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

A Jagrik’s journey in this campaign starts with an Orientation and the roll of a dice, where they select a refl-action task based around six Fundamental Rights and Duties. The Jagriks go on to visit their communities, meet people, and perform their tasks. While they do this in pairs for 5-6 weeks, they also meet once a week with all their peers to share their experiences and stories.

Ever thought of surviving a day with just Rs. 32 (the Below Poverty Line cutoff for rural India)? “It was not easy . But since me and my partner had to, we walked all the way from Rajaji Puram to Lucknow University, asking for lifts and food. We were a regular customer at an eating joint, hence, bhaiyaji let us have Maggi for free. But doing any of this on a regular basis is very arduous, and eventually hopelessness sets in. The Rs. 32 benchmark for poverty is extremely absurd,” says Swati from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

Through these Journeys, the Jagriks also explore and realise the fact that with Rights, it is imminent that we follow our Duties ethically. While we often hear ourselves talking about Rights, the Fundamental Duties are veiled behind our delusion of their existence. We have 11 Fundamental Duties in the Constitution, but we seldom talk about them. It’s convenient to harp on about the Rights, demand them, and fight for them, but what makes us a complete citizen is giving equal importance to fulfilling our Fundamental Duties.

The programme delves deeper into benefitting the ones immediately around the Jagriks. Jyoti Shukla, from Uttar Pradesh, has successfully managed to enroll two underprivileged kids to school in her locality. Such stepping stones lead to a large strong chain. The Jagriks experience many such stories everyday. They are utilizing this platform to its full worth and taking everyone on a journey beyond the calculated expectations. These journeys and experiences from all across India have the potential to leave an incredibly indelible imprint. Witness the impact these 480 Jagriks will bring when the Journey culminates around Republic Day, with thousands of stories and a report card of everyone’s Constitution-lived experiences. Will the journey really end there, or will a new one begin?

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