Change Benefits

obama1An international organization working in the tsunami affected area gave a CD to give opinion about their research. It was about the miseries of affected children. In one of the moving episodes a dalit child of 11 years said ‘We elected our own community man to improve our lives. But he is improving his own wealth without concern for his community people. One or two poor among dalits who were elected to the public office on reserved ticket are enjoying their power rather doing positive things for the community”. This moved me to explore the correlation between power and change.


Who benefits from the change? This is a very trivial question to answer. It is also difficult to provide an absolute evidence for the change brought in by people who were given mandate. Is it just enough to elect a black as the President of USA to ensure total justice for all blacks? Whether the ascendancy of woman to the top executive position of a country necessarily empowers women in that country? These are few fundamental questions keep cropping up in the minds during the high voltage talk about empowerment of underprivileged communities by electing one among them to represent in the highest power drivers.


One there is change at the structural and functional levels. But the increasing power of information reached to all sections through 24×7 media makes change invisible. All the negative aspects are projected. Rarely positive aspects of society are highlighted. Result of this is the circulation of frustration.


Political and personal benefits occupy the centre stage of change advocacy. There is no genuineness in advocating change. The gap between the lip and heart is very vast. When it comes to lip talk there is a free flow of rhetoric. In heart beats there are more personal desires than community development thoughts.


In India we had a dalit as the deputy prime minister. Babu Jagjeevan Ram occupied prime positions from ministership to deputy prime ministership. Yet he was not able to bring out revolutionary changes in the perception of dalits and also the others perception of dalits. We had Indira Gandhi the omnipotent woman Prime Minister for nearly two decades. Yet women occupy the down bottom position in the social strata. We had K.R. Narayanan the first dalit President. Today we have dalit chief justice.   


It is incorrect to raise this correlation of community person at the helm of affairs and their community development. Firstly they are limited by various permutations and combinations of the socio-political setup. Secondly, whether a dalit or woman or black or any underprivileged category person gets carried by the aura of power. He or she loses sight of community feelings and dons the mantle of power person. In this situation the focus of community development is lost.


For instance, for the past two decades railway ministers of the union come from Bihar. They favour their home state by increasing the number of trains and rail related factories. This burns the hearts of other state members of parliament. Kerala MPs always complain about the raw deal they get in the railway budget. They often accuse the monopoly of Bihar in railways concessions, opportunities and employment.


Both ways it is difficult for the community conscious power people to survive. If they work explicitly for community concerns they are branded as ‘community driven’ and if they don’t work their own people condemn them. A right balance that can bring true change in each one of the underprivileged person’s life can remove this dilemma.



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