Sunday, 30 December 2012

India: Give a Voice to the Rest of the World

Say what you may, but the uprising seen around India in the last week or so following the gruesome rape and subsequent death of the 23-year female medical student has helped bring to the forefront some of the issues that we face in society today.

What worries me though is that the people making the headlines in light of this are doing so for their own personal gain or image.  I'd put a tweet and Facebook comment yesterday that said the following:

Values are what we're taught at home not by lawyers and politicians. We need to realize that when reflecting on what happened in Delhi.

Having Bollywood stars, politicians, media personnel, lawyers and sports stars talking now isn't the solution.  They've got their own motives in most cases for showing up publicly.  This isn't to say that these people can't be effective in helping bring about a long term solution.  Actions speak louder than words and there is a way for them to use vehicles that speak to the people more effectively.

Social activists like Kiran Bedi
are at least willing to act and speak.
She's offered to help train police
forces into how to handle rape cases.
Bollywood stars - concentrate on making movies that address the moral and ethical issues that have been raised by incidents like this.  Let your art form be what raises awareness.

Media folk - focus on documentaries or news pieces that investigate, name and shame.  If a Bollywood star like Aamir Khan can headline a prime time TV show that does just this, why can't you.

Lawyers - work to get the legal system moving more swiftly.  Offer more pro bono time to the classes whose voices are never heard because they're too afraid or too poor to pay for legal representation.

Politicians - the laws are there but you have to lead by example.  How often do we hear about cases about an abuse of power at your level.  

Sports Stars - take advantage of your individual brand value and make visits to schools, colleges, community gatherings all over India and talk about these issues in your spare time.  I'm sure your sponsors would help fund you for your travels and collectively you could be seen to be involved in a CSR activity.

The unfortunate case is that when you have incidents like this that come to the forefront, there may be a few worthy people coming forward to highlight the issues without any personal agenda (e.g. Anna Hazare), but there are far too many who are out to grab a headline by taking advantage of an issue (e.g. Baba Ramdev).  

Being out on the streets and protesting has its merits but if we have to see a change in our society, we need to see if we're willing to commit to an issue and pursue it through whatever channels we have.  If not, save everyone's time and stay out of the picture.

India has a chance here to show the world that it is serious about tackling such issues and lead the world in creating a voice for the masses whose voices are never heard.  Take advantage of this and do us proud!