When someone asks us about our country, we define it in many ways. We may talk about age-old civilizations, our cultures, and the many battles we have fought to reach where we are today. We may talk of our recent progress, our leaders or the recent elections that seem to have changed the course of the country.
Today, I encourage you to think a while before answering this question. What is really, the idea of India? And how does it feel to be Indian? Wouldn’t it make us all very proud, if the response came – “ I am India ! ” and “ I am proud to be an Indian ! ”. If this is to be the case for all our citizens, a lot has to change. At the minimum, we need to reframe the civics education in our country. This is a journey from widespread apathy to involved ownership.
It is time we all take ownership of our country, and make it what we want it to be. There is no force more strong or resilient than a collective ownership, the first rule of which is a vigorous and collective involvement. One that emerges from the heart. It is, both, a joy and challenge for us to enable the youth today to identify themselves as Indians first through Desh Apnayen’s school and college level programmes.
But why redefining civics education? It is civics that gives young people a framework to think about the political, legal and social systems in a country.
The change in civics education would infuse an understanding of the interdependence of these three systems and bring out clearly that for a Democracy to succeed every citizen has to display character and responsibility. A citizen must possess soft skills as well to discharge his or her duty.
History is testament to the work great leaders in the past have done to strengthen India. Through this foundation, we are working to instill in school and college going students a WILL ( inspiration )to continue the great work, progress and unite. A WILL to be Indian above and beyond our other identities. Through programmes that help a child and teacher approach civics with a newer lens, through insightful and inspiring activities, audio-visual aids, well designed units and worksheets, we are hoping to institutionalise this change to make being good citizens a habit.
We belong to India, ours voice is the voice of India. Let us make this a voice of reason, of compassion, of unity.