We realized what ‘working on the ground’ really means when we went to the Villages of Faridabad district to create awareness about Jan Lokpal bill and rope in their support for Anna ji when he rekindle the ‘Satyagrah’ on 16th August.
It was the idea of Rajiv sir and Shriom and I was a late entrant (infact, a replacement! ). It was an impromptu trip, i.e., we didn’t have any idea of the villages we would be visiting; we just went with the flow. We used to ask on a divergence – “bhaisaab, is road pe kaun kaun se gaon padte hain”?
We covered a lot of villages which, in the first look didn’t look like villages at all. Some of the houses were palatial bunglows, giving tough competition to thier Sainik Farms counterparts. They might lose out only because of the abysmal condition of roads (if they existed at all) !
Wherever we could find a village, we used to stop our car and go door to door giving Jan Lokpal Bill pamphlets typed in hindi. from a central point we used to diverge out in different direction and meet up again after covering that road to the maximum possible extent. I used to open up with "ummed karta hoon ki aapne Anna Hazare ji ke baare main suna hoga". I wasn't wrong either; more than 97% of the people gave an affirmation! Morning hours were quite good for this aproach as people were availabe at home and open to intrusion!
In afternoon hours, the probability of finding homes with open doors and people moving around only kept on reducing. Therefore we switched on to a different approach. After distributing pamphlets to people available in the small marketplace of a particular village, we would head towards the Sarpanch's house. There are 50-50 chances that you will be able to meet the Sarpanch.
Rajiv ji's experience came handy while persuading the Sarpanch to help us convey the message of Janlokpal bill to his/her villagers. there were primarily three ways in which he/she can do it -
a) distrbute the pamphlets among his people.
b) show the CD explaining Lan Lokpal bill in the next panchayat meeting.
c) sit along with his people on a satyagrah in his village to show solidarity with Anna ji on 16th August.
Now, obviously this approach has it's own merits and demerits.
It's very fast and focussed and if we succeed to get the support of sarpanch, an entire village can be mobilised at a short notice. However, it's easier said than done. Most of the sarpanches are politically aligned and its difficult for them to go against the party line irrespective of their personal openion. Also, the Palatial houses of most of the sarpanches were a clear indication of their seriousness for a strong anticorruption law like Jan Lokpal bill.
But, being optimists, we considered this apprach to be worth a shot.
Some of the names of the villages where we met/telephoned the sarpanchs are Chandawali, Mujhedi, Dayalpur, Attali, Muchhar, Budhena, Mothuka & Nangal.
It was a fantastic experience where we directly interacted with the people for whom this bill is meant. The people also fealt good about the fact that someone has come to get their involvement.
I believe that this process can be improvised and replicated in other villages around Delhi or for that matter any group of Villages. Lets make small groups of volunteers who love meeting people and have no issues going to the outskirts of their cities. So if you got a Car or bike, just pick up some pamphlets and get going. If not, get hold of someone who has a car or bike! Lets educate the villagers about Jan Lokpal Bill and get thier support for Anna on 16th August. Because success is at the bottom of the pyramid !