Imagine you walk into your classroom and your teacher gives you a choice – read a book, write a test or play a game. What would you choose? Let’s take a guess – play a game, right?!
Games win hands down because they are fun, they pump up your energy levels and help you DO things in real time. Who wants to cram a textbook when you can go out and play?
In some of the textbooks you’ve read, surely there was a chapter about the Indian Constitution. Throwback to the time when you were reading the Preamble in your Social Studies class. How much of it do you remember? Chances are you’re shaking your head from side to side and shrugging your shoulders saying, ‘I don’t know…’
See, this is why you need to get your Constitution game on! So, what exactly is a constitution game? It’s a game that helps you learn and practice the values and principles explained in the Constitution through real life tasks.
Since the past 2 years, more and more young people in India have been trying out a new and innovative Constitution game called Samvidhan LIVE! The Jagrik Project.
Started by ComMutiny The Youth Collective as a public initiative in 2016, Samvidhan LIVE! helps young people to understand and live their fundamental rights and duties which are explained in the Indian Constitution. The participants in this initiative are called Jagriks (a combination of the words Jagruk Nagrik, meaning Aware Citizens).
Pairs of Jagriks play this awesome interactive game by accomplishing a number of real tasks over a period of 5 weeks. After crossing the tasks off their list, every week Jagriks come together to share their lessons with each other in group meetings called Jagrik Jamghats.
Unlike a video game that makes you a couch potato, being a Jagrik keeps you active and social because you can play Samvidhan LIVE! in your school, college or community.
Still not convinced that such a game can be fun? Here’s a list of 12 rock solid reasons why you should play the Constitution game.
Let’s consider how the game benefits the most important person – YOU! This game takes your self-discovery and personal development to a whole new level.
1. It challenges you and gets you out of your comfort zone
Who doesn’t love being in their pajamas and watching their favourite videos on YouTube, right! But how will you ever grow if you don’t step out of your oh-so-comfy-cocoon? Cliche as it may sound, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesnt change you.
Samvidhan LIVE! challenges you and pushes you to check your facts, re-evaluate your existing beliefs and gives you a chance to explore areas within yourself and the outer world, which you may have never done before.
The self and social action tasks are designed in a manner that motivate you to think on your feet and quickly come up with ideas to find solutions. Right from dressing up as your parents and taking on all the tasks they do in a day to surviving on 32 rupees for an entire day, the tasks make you step into another person’s shoes and live their everyday reality.
Challenging yourself is a positive thing to do because it brings you closer to who you are as person and uncover your hidden qualities.
2. It develops your youth leadership capacities
Would you like to change something in the world around you? The starting point to bringing any change is to first look within and develop your capacity as an aware young person.
This involves discovering your values, attitudes and beliefs which leads to self-awareness. Another useful capacity to develop is reflection – when you play the Constitution game with other Jagriks, can share your observations with other Jagriks and reflect.
The Jagrik journey also allows you take action grounded in your beliefs and take full responsibility for it. Taking socially positive action and ownership are just a few of the many youth leadership capacities you can develop while playing this game. But wait, before this begins to sound too serious, we’d like to remind you that…
3. It is FUN!
Samvidhan LIVE! would not qualify as a game if it was not fun! There’s never a dull moment when you play the Constitution game. The tasks require you to be creative, make a plan, get out there with your friends, speak to complete strangers and convince them to help you carry out the task.
Nothing can match the exhilarating rush when you nail a task! Another exciting part is that you get to tell your story by taking photos and videos, which are then shared on social media with lots of other people, who cheer you on.
4. It makes you experience social realities & form your own opinions
Being young can be confusing at times. You’re surrounded by your parents, teachers, friends and media who’re all telling you what to do and sometimes you just don’t want to listen to anybody because it gets on your nerves!
There is no better way to overcome that frustration than playing the Constitution game because it gives you a roadmap to experience a variety of social situations. Playing with another Jagrik can help you look at things from her/his perspective. This gives you clarity and help you make up your mind and ultimately your own decisions.
For instance, Mamang, a Jagrik from Manipur did a task where he switched his gender role and performed his mother’s and sister’s chores for a day – he worked in the farm, cleaned and cooked. He says, “I used to think this work comes naturally to girls, but now I know it’s not like that. Even men can work like girls. We’re all equal”.
5. It connects you with inspiring youth in your community
We all yearn for a deep connection with others through talking and spending time with one another. Playing the Constitution game is a good way to meet other youth who’re asking the same questions as you.
Each year of Samvidhan LIVE! has seen the growth of new friendships, lots of inspiring moments, deep yet playful conversations and the creation of a vibrant community.
6. It helps you practice teamwork skills
No matter what your previous experience with teamwork has been, playing the Constitution game is a smart way to learn how to be a rockstar team member!
Did you ever feel bugged by how competitive sports and exams can be? Then you’ll love this game because instead of competing against each other, Jagriks share ideas and encourage their partners to accomplish their mission. This knowledge of real teamwork can be applied to any situation in your school, college, community or workplace.
7. It enriches your knowledge about a subject through practical tasks
Typically, students memorise the chapter on the Indian Constitution from the textbook to get good marks and move on to the next exam. “I learnt about the constitution, passed my exams and forgot about it. But I don’t think I will forget the lessons I learnt from doing the tasks during the Jagrik journey. This is how I truly understood the samvidhan”, said Maya, a Jagrik from Bihar.
Samvidhan LIVE! has a completely different approach to learning about the Constitution. It helps you go beyond the surface and dig deeper into its significance. There are no long boring theoretical lectures. Instead, you have a game board (pictured below) with rights and duties.
Jagriks roll a dice and wherever the dice lands, it is is their next task. They literally get to play out a right or duty by doing a self or social action task along with their partner. Each time they complete a task, they score points which take them further ahead in the game.
If you’re a student, school teacher or youth worker, you should take the opportunity to play the Constitution game because the focus is on doing tasks that are thought-provoking and enjoyable at the same time.
Now that you know how playing the Constitution game will benefit you immensely as a person, let’s look at how it also prepares you as an aware & active citizen.
8. It increases constitutional literacy & empowers young citizens
The makers of the Indian Constitution dreamt of an India that would be a free, fair, just and harmonious place. Yet many treat the Constitution like a dusty old book lying in a corner.
By playing the Constitution game, you take full ownership of the values enshrined within it and bring them to life. You move from being simply a nagrik (a citizen) to a Jagrik (an aware and active citizen).
9. It corrects the imbalance between rights and duties
As an aware citizen, you can be quick to demand your rights and protest against injustice.
But what about your duties? Often, we conveniently turn a blind eye to our duties which in turn, endangers the rights of other citizens.
For example, you might demand the right to a clean environment but it is no good when you’re the one who’s contributing to pollution.
Many ex-Jagriks say that one of their biggest insights from the journey was the glaring need to correct this imbalance between rights and duties. Establishing a balance between demanding rights and performing duties is essential for a robust and thriving Indian democracy.
10. It opens your mind to new perspectives and lets you engage in a dialogue with others
Whether we like to admit or not, every now and then we all tend to sit on our high horse and judge others, often without even knowing their point of view. This is the reason why playing the Constitution game is totally worth your time and energy – it will open your mind to interacting with diverse kinds of people and getting to know their beliefs and opinions.
The Jagrik journey prepares you to engage with others through non-violent communication. It creates a safe space where youth share their perspectives and hear each other out. You can choose to agree or disagree respectfully.
Take for example, Sneha, a Jagrik from Jharkhand. Based on Right to Education, her task was to find a family who was not educating their children and have a dialogue with them. She started a discussion with her neighbour who was not sending his kids to school and asked him to consider enrolling his children in a school. The neighbour agreed.
11. It gives you tools for activism and action
Not knowing the constitution is like living a dark room. The moment you start playing the Constitution game, you switch on the lights and start tapping into your potential as a Jagrik.
Things start looking up when you know your rights and duties. If there’s a civic problem at hand that needs to be solved, you can mobilise the youth in your community and approach local authorities to take action.
There are quite a few outstanding Jagriks who have used their learning journey as a catalyst to take action and bring positive change in their villages, towns and cities.
12. It helps you make informed electoral choices
The general elections of 2019 will witness votes being cast by 133 million Indian youth. That is double the size of France’s population! In a time where political campaigns are constantly in your face, how will you make a choice that aligns with your values.
The answer is simple – by following, living and practicing the Indian Constitution. And you can only do this if you truly know your rights and duties at a deeper level and not just superficially. This is one of the most important reasons to play the Constitution game because your choices will decide the future of India. Remember, the future is yours and it lies in your hands.
After reading all these reasons, we’re pretty sure you’ll want to play the Constitution game. If you want a first hand account from a Jagrik, read What I Learnt From Spending A Night Under The Flyover.
Are you ready to play the Constitution game? CYC has a limited number of Samvidhan LIVE! Game kits for sale which you can play with a youth facilitator. To order your game kit, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.