Skip to main content

Youth can be activists even by stapling papers, getting photocopies done: PUCL leader

By Pramod Meena* 

Kavita Srivastav, national secretary, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), in a conversation with me has said, she has been fighting for issues of social importance without any boundaries, insisting, young students can and should contribute to activism in whatever way possible. "There are no boundaries to human rights, and so to activism", she believes.
Indeed, Kavita has choose a road less traveled, which is what many human rights activists do. They fight for the rights of people who sometimes don't even know they are entitled to get. I got an opportunity to connect with her when she was on the field with an honour killing case victim.
Interacting with me, she told me the story of how the victim's family was shattered and devastated after the incident. It is not the first time she saw something like this. People approach her doorsteps to seek help, and she is willing help in any manner she possibly could.
Violence against women and minorities and atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis are some primary issues she has majorly been dealing with. There are other issues she identifies and works on, such as supporting Rajasthani folk artists, who lost their livelihood during covid and lockdown, financially as well as emotionally.
The domain of human rights as an activist is wide enough to cover the political, socio-economic, and legal rights of all human beings because they are all interconnected, be it the new IT rules or be it the aadhaar privacy issue, which are in some way or other, a threat to our freedom.
How they pursues a case would depend on the situation, there are times they can get involved and investigate the case; in contrast, there are even times when they can only issue a statement to condemn an issue, but during all these, they try their best to support the victims in one or the other ways.
She mentions that there are no boundaries to human rights, and so is the case with activism; we can't act upon one issue and sit quietly on another issue, we need to protect not just humans but flora and fauna around us, the environment around us, because we live here and we are part of it.
Working as an activist since 1994, Kavita has faced multiple challenges throughout her career, be it a threat to arrest, sudden raids by police on the house and office, and significant threat from the opposite parties in the case while fighting for victims of honor killing, rape, cast based atrocities, among others.
She insisted, with the current government in power in India, any challenge to the government for any of its action or policy is propagated as a challenge to national integrity, all thanks to the mainstream media, be it through avoiding telecasting of government criticism, or making adverse remarks on ongoing court cases.
On the question how young students can contribute to activism, Kavita answered that the only way to learn and contribute to this area is by getting into it with whatever time and skills you want to contribute, "we don't need to be full-time activists to make a change."
PUCL, one of the largest human rights groups in India, works with no paid employees, and volunteers do the entire work here, Kavita said, adding, she started her work with stapling and getting photocopies of documents, but even that counts as a contribution.
Young students and even professionals should join activism in any manner possible because even a small article or blog online would be counted as an involvement, she believes. After all, it's not about the amount and nature of work, but about being part of a culture where questioning happens, where you develop an outlook to understand the social issues and raise voices.
---
*MBA student, Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore

Comments

TRENDING

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

India 'neglecting' air, water, vegetation as its world air quality index ranking decelerates

By Dr Gurinder Kaur* The World Air Quality Report 2023 , prepared by a Swiss technology company IQAir, was released on 19 March 2024. According to this report, India is the third most polluted country in the world after Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the capital of India, New Delhi, is the most polluted capital in the world.