Transforming the system, working from within
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On Republic Day, Pune can take lessons from some youth trying to bring in transformation in society by working in tandem with the system and not outside it, unlike many activists who always seem to be on a collision course with the system.
A young techie is trying to shake off the electoral apathy of young colleagues in the IT industry. Deepak Tawari, however, has chosen to work in tandem with the system.
His worry has been low voter turnout.
"Although we talk about criminalization of politics, educated people, especially software professionals, refuse to participate in the electoral process. Most point out that their names are not in the voter list but they do not make any attempt to get their names added either," Tawari said.
He approached election officer Apurva Wankhede and she agreed to help him.
"I asked the officer to allow us to place drop boxes in software companies to help techies submit forms for registration. She was reluctant at first but finally agreed," he said.
Once the forms were collected, Tawari took them to the election officer and the staff gave receipts. He said he was able to ensure that many software techies got added to the voter list.
Tawari said his experience working with the officers was good but some staff in the office were not cooperative in the beginning. "Once I won their confidence, they extended all help. We citizens need to take initiatives and start the process of engagement with the system to start with," he said.
Accountant Suhas Shinde is working closely with the police to bring a change in the way people look at police. The rape of a minor in Hadapsar gave Shinde a chance to liaison closely with the men in uniform.
"The rape posed questions about safety and we decided to organize an interaction with local police to understand steps they have taken and how citizens could help them prevent such crime. We decided to approach the local police station for help," he said.
He said it was the first time he was interacting with cops, but the experience removed preconceived notions. "The inspector was ready to help us immediately. He said police are meant to help people but the wall between the two hurt their efforts. This coming from a senior police officer was an eye-opener," he said.
Local residents organised joint patrolling with police at night and started participating in local security initiatives. Talking about his interaction, Shinde said people should break the ice to make policing effective. "A proper dialogue is necessary between both to make the system work for us," he said.
Pratima Joshi of Shelter Associates is another young crusader. The area of work is slum rehabilitation and slum development. Joshi and her team had to face a lot of apathy and struggle to win over the trust of many. Sincerity and consistence finally paid off, Joshi said.
Known for their work worldwide in slum rehabilitation and development, Shelter Associates were the first to map slums in Pune using remote sensing in 2000-01. These maps help urban planners to plan a sustainable city. "We have to ensure all stakeholders are taken on board and there is transparency in our dealing. That way, we can ensure things run smoothly," she said.
A young techie is trying to shake off the electoral apathy of young colleagues in the IT industry
Accountant Suhas Shinde is working closely with the police to bring a change in the way people look at police
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