The students of Sri Venkateswara College took to the roads and metros of the city to spread a word of change.
Being the capital state of the country; the city of Delhi has all the rights in the world to flaunt its extravagance. It has to its attribution- a rich cultural heritage with a pinch of apparent haunting, a tumultuous yet boastful past, a humongous yet solitary diversity, and the tag of a metropolitan. A metropolitan form only the frame to the entire portrait of the city of Delhi; the colors and the strokes come from the lanes and the by-lanes that intersect life in the different parts.
To get a taste of the city and to improve it, the volunteers of ‘Parivartan’- the independent social service society of Sri Venkateswara College- carried out an awareness cum cleanliness drive in different parts of the city. The volunteers were divided into groups and sent to cover several areas in around the metros. Ten places were covered in total, including- Hauz Khas, Rajiv Chowk, Saket, INA, Chandni Chowk, AIIMS, Central Secratariat and Race Course.
All the student volunteers were armed with self-made posters, each of which had very strong messages pertaining to the two issues that were being addressed, namely, food wastage and the upcoming reiteration of the saga of bursting crackers; which at the end of the day leaves the city in deep despair, thereby, turning a blind eye to the blind city.
With the approaching season of Diwali, the amount of crackers burnt becomes quite evident through the aftermath- ‘THE GREAT INDIAN SMOG’ that covers the entire city till winter sets in. The other groups were involved in spreading a word against smoking and littering in public spaces. The presence of two different-coloured dustbins for wet and dry waste was acknowledged. The volunteers also urged the passers-by not to litter their own spaces, thereby, keeping the city clean. After all, Rajpath is not the face of the city!
Slogans like- ‘Burn your ego, not crackers’- were eye-capturing enough to draw a large part of the crowd towards the volunteers. Sharing his experience, Tushar Bhatia, a first year student states, “The drive was an interesting experience. Initially, everything did not go as planned and all of us had to improvise on the spot which made it even better”. From the metro station to the park and through the distributary lanes to the main road till the Red Fort and back; this was the exact course through which Chandni Chowk was covered. The Sun was at its peak and so were the volunteers. The weather only ignited their enthusiasm that could not be dampened by their perspiration or the scent that the hot breeze carried.
Apart from just the ambience, it is quite interesting to note that they got encouragement form the passers-by as well. Prateek Mittal shares, “I felt really good during the drive. I could see that our posters had attracted a lot of attention and people got our message. It felt very nice when a policeman walked up to us and said”, “achchha kaam kar rahe ho” (you are doing a great job)”.
Apart from just interacting, a signature campaign was also carried out- #NoMoreHungerNoMoreShor- wherein, volunteers were seen getting people to sign the chart that they were carrying. The signature campaign added further impetus to the entire drive with people coming up themselves and asking questions regarding the two issues. Slogans like-“What your tongue likes to taste, would you let it go to waste?”- were successful in garnering people’s attention as well as support. The volunteers were successful in dealing with the passers-by in a much matured manner, since, the entire thing was unplanned. The volunteers used heavy statistics that proved their stance like the number of bird-deaths and how it is harmful to the ecology as well. Aparajita Choudhary, a second year student shared, “All Delhiites have been experiencing the smog that covers the city for weeks after Diwali. It was enough to indicate the perils of burning crackers, peril for both humans as well as the ecology. Many people shared with us, their stories of mishandling of crackers that led or could have led to major accidents. Older people reflected apathy since they had lost interest over the years. They expressed that even though it made them irritable, they did not mind saying anything in the interest of the youth”.
Talking about the effectiveness of the drive; it was definitely a red-letter day event. But a lot of hands need to join to bring about a big change. As Rajat Sharma, a first year student from the same institution puts it, “I guess this initiative was effective as well as highly potential to bring about a change in the society. Those who genuinely wish for the betterment of the society will definitely put their best foot forward. After all, one is enough to make a difference, and we were quite a lot.
As Kamalika Anand, one of the executive heads’ puts it, “This was just the first step”.
Image Credits: Parivartan Society, SVC