A step-by-step guide for the awakened citizen
Outline of my video address to the Model Youth Parliament, September 2014
Transforming India is a marathon, not a 100-metres sprint. You can’t change things overnight or in months. It takes years, decades & lifetimes. So you need to prepare and pace yourself accordingly. It needs stamina, endurance, determination, patience and training.
I want to offer you an Eightfold Path to Transforming India, and you will realise, to Transforming Yourself.
Step 1. Find the Right Balance between your self-interest and public interest, between selfishness and altruism, between thinking for yourself, your family and for the nation. Swinging to either extreme is dangerous. You must find your own Right Balance.
Step 2. Have the Right Faith, in the moral legitimacy of the Indian Republic. It is the Republic that guarantees our Liberty, that upholds our Pluralism and that protects our Democracy. Do not believe ignorant or ideological critics who run down our Republic. It is not perfect, but it is better than other options. It is up to each generation to strengthen and improve the working of the Republic.
Step 3. Learn the Right Ideas. Take the effort to understand and promote good ideas. Good ideas in public affairs come from the scientific method, from economic reasoning and from open-mindedness. Not from dogma or authority. Beware of your intuition.
Step 4. Do the Right Politics. Politics is not a bad word in itself. It is Bad People who make Bad Politics. Good people can do Good politics. When Good people do Good politics, Politics becomes Better. Join political parties. But don’t give up your Goodness.
Step 5. Right Organisation. You cannot achieve public outcomes alone, by being a Lone Wolf. Gather the right team. Form the Right Organisation. Create and join the Right Networks.
Step 6. Right Contribution. Some people have knowledge, others have money, yet others have time. Contribute what you can. Stand for election. Join political campaigns. Donate money to political parties. Join NGOs that work to improve politics.
Step 7. Right Voting. Vote in Every Election. Every Time.
Step 8. Right Engagement. Keep in touch with your MP, MLA, Municipal Councillor or Gram Panchayat Member. Keep reminding them about the issues you care about. Use online methods, write letters and go and meet them.
I want to congratulate you on choosing to step up and do something for India. Reflect on the Eightfold path and act on it if it helps you. All the very best.
(This is a shortened version of a speech first delivered at the Mahabodhi Society Hall, Bhubaneshwar, at an event organised by the Round Table 53)