Did you ring the bell?

Really,did you ring the bell? When Boman Irani gathered his scattered guts,made his way to a screaming next door and rang the bell,there was pin-drop silence.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published: February 12, 2009 3:10:47 am

Finally,a bunch of people are campaigning for the right causes,those that push passive to active & empower the powerless

Really,did you ring the bell? When Boman Irani gathered his scattered guts,made his way to a screaming next door and rang the bell,there was pin-drop silence. Someone was literally saved by the bell. The Bell Bajao act had made its impact. And post this on screen life-saving gesture,a thousand bells rang,probably more. Meanwhile,down south,a different kind of bell is ringing,and it has a naughty little Pink Chaddi tagged to it. This Valentine’s,Muthalik of Sri Ram Sena is going to get a taste of Munna Bhai’s Gandhigiri. After the Managlore pub attacks on women,the ladies have decided enough is enough. What began as a facebook group,‘the consortium of pub-going,loose and forward women’ and one red undie from Nisha has spiralled into an underwear ammo. Apparently,women across the country are already mailing their pink chaddis to ‘Senapatis’,“because this is the most effective and innovative way to get your point through,” says Nithin of the Pink Chaddi Campaign. “You cannot drag women out and beat them up,there has to be a open face for dialogue…they could’ve given them sarees,which they are now doing,pink in colour,” Nithin gets proactive and feels there should be a follow-up on such activities and groups. “They are growing and the media,the authority need to keep a check,” he adds. As for the chaddis,the legend is that women’s underwear saps men of energy! Way to go for panty power,check Panties for Peace for that.

When it comes to programming,the idiot box lives up to its name,but when it comes to campaigning,the tube’s started airing sense. And there couldn’t have been a better time to pitch in Aamir Khan to bash up hooligans on the Atithi Devo Bhava infomercial. Incredible India has certainly done an incredible job of making us feel shameful,and empowered at the same time. Reaction is delayed,proaction is the buzzword,and it stands true in Abhishek Bachchan’s ‘Idea’ which hits the nail with I-power. One SMS can make a difference. “So can one vote,” says campaign coordinator Jasmine Shah of Janaagraha,an NGO formed by IITians and behind the path-breaking Tata Jaagore ad. While the ad is quite an eye-opener,log on to the site,jaagore.com,and you’ll be enlightened. “Not many people know how to vote,whom to vote for and where to vote. We,through this website,are breaking zones into cities,districts,villages so that you can know which one you belong to and who is the contender there. It creates awareness and makes the voting task simpler,” volunteers help you register and bust many myths regarding voting.

“Interventions at the right time make a difference,” says Sonali Khan,director communications,Breakthrough Interventions,also the brain behind the Bell Bajao campaign. “It’s sad that women in this country have no right to be born! If they are alive,then they have no right to education or property. Once married,they suffer domestic violence,are unable to negotiate safe sex and are fearful most of the time. Bell Bajao was a way to get through to them,and this time,we are not showing the violence,or accusing men,” Sonali found out that men too take charge and stop violence. “All we need is to make them partners,our natural allies and turn them proactive,” she adds about the increasing traffic on bellbajao.org. We may have won the legal battle,we are yet to win the social war,she quips,as not far,city’s Youth United gear up and get cracking on their mission,giving a voice to the under-privileged. “Especially the girl child,” says Jyotindranath,explaining the concept behind project YUMEAM. “It aims at establishing a centre in Colony no-5,Chandigarh where free education,vocational training,health issues,legal issues et al will be addressed with the help of the administration,” for this,he adds,they are heading an awareness campaign,the first phase of which began on February 8 and will continue for a week. “After the sample survey,the problems that came to light were health,domestic violence,sanitation,water,family planning,legal issues,education of girl child…we are trying to First Time Resolutions (FTR) to their problems,whenever(wherever) possible,” Jyotindranath moves to next phase,‘Route to Roots’,“to uplift the of the weakest and most underprivileged sections.”

“Campaigns form ten per cent of the whole change mix. They are complete only when there is something concrete and strategic done at the ground level,” says Heman Goswami,the man behind city’s Burning Brain Society and the Citizen’s Voice. Working on civil rights and tobacco control,he’s positive that one voice can be the change. “Don’t fear retaliation,just speak up,” he blows the whistle.

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