This post is in response to the ‘Movember post’ by A Regular Indian Girl.
Amongst the many nonsensical things present currently, Movember and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge tops the list of ‘Chutiyapa’ (pardon the hindi slang, roughly means nonsense). So basically these ‘challenges’ require you to do a certain thing, be it growing a beard or pouring a bucket of ice cold water on your head. The underlying logic being that it not only makes awareness fun but would help in raising funds.
Did that happen/help?
Absolutely no, I can’t comment about what happens in the other countries but here in India, it becomes a part of self-promotion and a way to increase “likes” on facebook. I know of people who have taken up the ice bucket challenge and put up their videos on instagram and facebook, dressed in the best of clothes against the best backgrounds with rehearsed expressions but when you ask them what ALS is, all that you get is blank stares or a couple of lines copied from Wikipedia.
With regards to Movember, the concept was basically about men not shaving their beard to help raise awareness on cancer, since hair loss forms a major side effect of cancer. Recently, I read in the newspaper that it helped to raise awareness about prostate cancer in men too, surprisingly a major 65% of men didn’t know what prostrate exactly meant!? I’m not even going to comment on how many women know about it.
Closer to home, there is the ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’ which is basically a drive for a cleaner India. There are loads of celebrities who have taken up this challenge after all; all that you need is a broom and 4 cameras. Somehow people don’t get it that cleanliness is not a one day one hour show but a habit that needs to be inculcated preferably drilled with the intention of permanency.
It is to be remembered that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand, together. Just taking up challenges for the fun part of it but not for the part that relates to spreading awareness about the same and raising funds makes no sense at all.
Like I always say, it’s easy to rant, talk or have a conversation about this over a cup of tea/coffee but difficult once you try to change the ground realities. Pick up a cause, anything that you are passionate about and do something for it, be it donating in cash or kind or volunteering/working for the cause itself.
In a country with a population of more than a billion people where majority of them have zero access to basic amenities like clean water, food or toilets; it’s time that we tried to at least make an effort for change. If me and you sit cross legged and blame the government, people suffering or fate then we definitely have no right to comment about the same.