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One Planet Project in Delhi
- Parent Category: Main
- Created on Friday, 28 September 2012 09:23
- Written by CA Coordinator
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STREETWISE IN INDIA
A beautifully busy Sunday in the bustling capital of a bustling India, we simply had to be on the streets! - One Planet Project, New Delhi
As a culture, India loves to talk and share ideas. Given our population, finding people to discuss ideas with is one thing we never have to worry about. So we picked a specific target group, time, and place. And the rest was easy!
One Planet Project was conducted in the hubbub of a posh marketplace on a Sunday, the day that people from the middle-and-upper-middle class (the
social intelligencia, if you will) chose for relaxing, surrounded by the good things in life.
The idea was to provoke them to think by asking a few basic yet important questions about their life and world. Using a questionnaire based on intriguing statistics about India and the globe, we got our audiences “thinking without being directly pushed”. This was an approach led by pure inspiration, thanks to which people got interactive and proactive, seeking additional information on their own from our team.
25 questionnaires, 50 people, an 80-20 interest ratio and a few curious onlookers later, here’s what we found:
As a people, Indians are fairly aware of world events. Compared to the West, the media here is more open and free, in spite of having its fair share of propaganda. The Indian youth are increasingly aware of current issues, while the general public takes a keen interest in national and global affairs, from economics and politics to international diplomacy. Even as we speak, our country is in the midst of India Against Corruption, a nationwide anti-corruption movement on the lines of (but not identical to) Occupy.
Such factors made discussions on social and economic issues easier. But like any culture, we have our shortcomings too. While concepts of religion, capitalism and nationalism pose some obstacles to the free flow of information and ideas, the biggest problem that stares us in the face is apathy, or general lack of interest! Perhaps this is due to the indifference that comes from facing century after century of oppression, or having a strong connection to Eastern Mysticism whereby human suffering and social ills could be justified as fate. In other words, getting people to care is and will be our biggest challenge.
Ironically, this challenge gets even bigger because of how supposedly well our economy is doing. People have jobs, industries are growing, demand for skilled labor is rising, and we’re all making decent money. (Well, some classes are.) The overall sentiments here are very different from those of the West, because things are still looking good to our average middle-class urban TV-watcher.
Look at how India has unfolded over the last two centuries. Ever since the so-called economic reforms of 1991, the rich and the middle-class have done increasingly well and the future economy looks more and more robust, while the poor are only getting poorer. This ‘perceived prosperity’ paints an unjustly rosy picture for India’s educated class. The result is a complete absence of the ‘perceived urgency for change’.
The core ills of the current system are yet to dawn upon the masses in their entirety. That’s where we come in – for awareness, for inspiration, for change. And change has begun.
TZM Delhi, India