Empowerment is Key to Upliftment

I am writing about the You Tube video presentation of Ms. Mittal Patel as part of Idea Caravan Endevor sponsored by  Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.
Ms. Patel was talking on topic “Plight of Nomadic and Denotified Tribes”. It is unfortunate that even after 65 years of independence, these people do not have property identity in government records, these people are registered as criminals, traditional vocations of these tribal people are being lost and tribal women engage in prostitution.
The fact that tribals are in such a miserable state in a so called prosperous state like Gujarat, says a lot about their plight in states that are economically less progressive. In last sixty five year, government of India might have created a lot of schemes for the upliftment of people that are socially and economically backward. Apparently, such benefits have not percolated down.
What Ms. Patel is doing is empowerment of tribal people. She is getting them voter identity card. This will give them voting right. By forming a block tribals can demand their rights. An identity card is also giving our tribal population a  sense of dignity. Now their identity in government records will never be confused or misrepresented. They can always show their identity cards and knock the door of law and justice.
Education is being spread among tribals.  Education also gives tribal people that are losing their traditional vocations an oppurtunity for alternative vocation.Light of education awakens aspiration among kids. They now dream of joining maninstream by becoming a policeman, a doctor among other professions.
Marriage of tribal girls within community, will protect them from being engaged in prostitution. This will keep the community free from sexually transmitted disease. Community will be spared of illegitimate children. By becoming a housewife, tribal girls will be able to take care of family and community better.
Important point to remember, Ms Patel did not talk of inducement but empowerment. She had worked towards transformation of community of Nomads, so that these people became aware of their rights and wanted to adopt to change by their own volition. No amount of force, or inducement can achieve this type of result. Otherwise, after sixty five years of independence India will not have communities that are not aware what their government was doing.
Nomadic people have many innate skills, which should be tapped and preserved. May be depending on their skills, they should be adopted by specialised organisations that rely on such skills. These organisations should work towards education and upliftment of tribal children while nurturing their special talent.
Government may have good intention. However, to propagate such intention India needs people like Ms. Mittal Patel. People that work with empathy, that work with dedication for a cause can transform the world, let alone India. She has achieved what our trained and paid bureaucrats could not. Society must work towards empowerment of people like Ms. Mittal Patel, for them to work freely and help neglected segments of Indian people achieve their rightful place in the society. Ultimately, a nation is judged based on quality of her people.

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

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