Troubles of change-making!

Abhishek Gupta
3 min readJan 27, 2018

Change-making is clearly a complex phenomenon, and various articles and arguments cover the topic. I am going to share my personal experience here, or in some words personal struggle.

As part of NavGurukul, we teach underprivileged males and females to learn Software Engineering or Data Analytics and get meaningful jobs. If we restrict our vision statement to this, it works out quite fine. But our dream is more aspirational, it is to enable these students to be able to go back to their communities and continue forward the change. We believe such a chain is important given the size of the problem at hand. No one organisation can do the mammoth task, and hence we need more people to grow the movement of giving back.

To enable this, we are working on multiple interventions to promote a nature of self-inquiry and a sense of responsibility to give back. These interventions vary from some facilitated sessions, a curriculum which subtly touches this, and full-time internships in the domain.

Yet, we are far from our goal, and that bothers me. Not just because of the situation, but because of a philosophical/spiritual question, or a series of them.

  • In each of us, lies a perpetrator and someone who is sufferer at the hands of some other perpetrator. The students that we work have both sides as all of us have. To what extent and which all dimensions should we necessarily need to work on during the course — understanding of consent, body image issues, understanding of gender, homophobic nature, casteism, environmental issues (personal as well as public), domestic violence, violence on children, sexual abuse, mental health, et al. And if we are to prioritise, how do we prioritise?
  • In a lot of these areas, I am myself learning and evolving. What right does it give me to work on it on others while I am myself into an active journey of learning which is far away from where I imagine myself to reach.
  • Does it even make sense to make people employable if they continue to perpetrate? Or should it always include a strong basic human transformation.
  • Where do we spend more time — alleivating monetary poverty or helping people at a slightly better level to realise their potential and come out of the cycle of perpetrator and sufferings.
  • Does anything less than coming out of the cycle of perpetration and suffering even makes sense? How?
  • Should giving be a norm expected from all of us, given we take so much in various forms. Or is it a choice that we can opt to not participate. Or the fact that we pay taxes absolves us of our duty to give back.

To be more specific — it bothers me to think that the students that are being taught at NavGurukul may end up doing the same mistakes as everyone else. Some of these mistakes are globally accepted mistakes — like dowry, eveteasing, etc. Some of these mistakes can be controversial ones — big fat weddings, no waste segregation, smoking the cigarrate and leaving the butt anywhere on the road, marital rapes, be callous with nature, not help someone lying on the road having met an accident, et al.

I wish I had answers, but I only have questions right now. Some of the questions may find an answer with time ahead while some others I may end up taking to my grave ;)