Let’s Start Discussing: Why You Must Create a Medium for Discourse

Vishal Shrivastava

“Our lives begin to end,the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Amidst all the hopes of “Ache Din” and the happiness over a new government, one important thing goes unnoticed and that can create problems for all of us in future i.e. discourse. India is a young nation which includes people like you and me and we will fail the dreams of our ancestors very soon because we have stopped discussing about things that matter the most. We have selected the path that is comfortable to us i.e. blame the government when something wrong happens and walk over it. But the blame must be equally shared by all of us because we remained silent when we were supposed to speak up for our rights, when were supposed to take part in the decision making.

For instance there have been laws that provide for better waste management, environment protection and right to information but all these laws are becoming ineffective because we have not questioned our authorities over their silence, we have not discussed with the government over the viability of such laws. It was a great joy to witness the “Swach Bharat Abhiyan” taking off with a dream to clean India but it was sad to know that no one decided to question about the status of existing dumping grounds and how are we going to treat the waste generated after such mass cleaning programs. The post of Chief Information Commissioner in India who heads the only law that provided power to citizens so that they can question the government is vacant and we all comfortably choose to remain silent about it.

We have started to accept whatever is being fed to us by the big media giants by way of sponsored journalism and the art form of protest cannot be seen anywhere. The only protest or discussion that we take part in is limited to sharing posts on facebook or signing an online petition. You might be thinking that why you must be the flag bearer of change? The answer is very simple, it is you who will suffer the most from the populous schemes of the political class, it is you who will be at the receiving end of bad policy decisions on education, and environment and it is you who will end up giving away your basic rights. And when I pitch the idea of debate and discussion between you I do not intend to wage a war against the state by telling you to distrust the state but we need to understand that not everything that happens in the society is always right and also it is not always completely wrong and the onus is on you to discuss, elaborate and spread this message to others so that a balance can be maintained between fanatics and monetarism

There have been laws that provide for better waste management, environment protection and right to information but all these laws are becoming ineffective because we have not questioned our authorities over their silence, we have not discussed with the government over the viability of such laws. It was a great joy to witness the “Swach Bharat Abhiyan” taking off with a dream to clean India but it was sad to know that no one decided to question about the status of existing dumping grounds and how are we going to treat the waste generated after such mass cleaning programs. The post of Chief Information Commissioner in India who heads the only law that provided power to citizens so that they can question the government is vacant and we all comfortably choose to remain silent about it.

It is disheartening to learn that in today’s world debate has died, and what is left behind is just loud voices which are transformed on national scale as the press, which was once free but is now being bought over by people who do not want you to form an independent opinion and therefore what passes for news nowadays can very well be termed as public relations.

Therefore I request you all to start discussing for a better future, for a balanced growth and begin to question about the basics so that our views remains apolitical and policies that will construct our nation’s growth are formed effectively keeping in mind the sustainable development and the thus creating a better nation.

(Author is Convener, Think India – Ahmedabad and Student of Law, Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad. And Tweets at @shrivastava_v)

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