His group’s pioneering work was quite praiseworthy. They called their initiative Parivartan. It was non-registered—the members decided to call it not an NGO but a jan andolan—and ran on individual donations instead of seeking institutional funding.
In December 2002, the group organised India’s first public hearing on development works in the urban sector. Among the panelists for the hearing were Justice P.B. Sawant, former civil servant Harsh Mander, and activists Arundhati Roy, Aruna Roy and Shekhar Singh. The event proved a game-changer. Over the next few months, the group addressed itself to solving people’s grievances related to the PDS, social welfare schemes and so on. For the man who began the effort, recognition came in 2006: he was given the Magsaysay award in the “emergent leadership” category. The roots of what Kejriwal would go on to become, the underpinnings of his work and his motivations, must be traced to Sundar Nagri.
But Sundar Nagri today—ten years on—bears no sign of the change the idealistic group’s efforts should have borne. If it were the test case for Kejriwal, the failure shows. Choked drains, overflowing sewers, no proper water supply, a PDS system as unreliable as ever, long queues outside the welfare department office—nothing has changed.
“In fact, the situation is worse than before,” says Sonu, of Sundar Nagri’s F-1 block. “The administration is more cunning now, it knows how not to give information under the RTI Act. And now, we are left without any guidance or help.” The Parivartan volunteers are nowhere around. The office is still there, but neighbours say it’s closed most of the time. Parivartan still has two employees—Santosh, a girl from the colony, and Ramashrey—who get their wages from Kejriwal’s other organisation, the Public Cause Research Foundation, though it was against the original principles of Parivartan to accept any funding. In fact, based on a PIL, the Delhi High Court has asked the MHA to investigate by August 30 the foreign funding of organisations Kejriwal, Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and others are associated with and the government is putting these organisations’ FCRA licences under scrutiny.
Old associates, too, are disillusioned with the founder. “Parivartan is almost dead,” says one. “We wonder, if he can raise millions for Kabir (another NGO with which Kejriwal is associated) and India Against Corruption, why can’t he ask a few individuals to make donations to Parivartan?”
Some of his critics in the area are unsparing. At the time of writing, Kejriwal was into his eighth day of fasting with Anna Hazare. But Naushey Ali, an activist from Sundar Nagri, asks, “If he can’t bring change to a small area, I wonder how he’s going to change this nation?” As for Kejriwal himself visiting Sundar Nagri, locals say it’s about twice or thrice a year.
(The writer was one of the founder members of Parivartan and worked in Sundar Nagri.)
Apropos The More they Change, Arvind Kejriwal used Sundar Nagri to get himself a Magsaysay award and will use the Lokpal agitation to get himself a bigger something.
Kejriwal guided the people of Sundar Nagri in their fight with the administration, but the fight has to be continued by them. He cannot always be there for them. Instead of complaining, the people of Sundar Nagri should fight it out themselves.
Naveen Singhal, Rohtak
It’s sad that millions of people, like those of Sundar Nagri, want the fish, not the fishing rod. They want someone like Kejriwal to do everything for them.
Vikk Nayyar, on e-mail
If Kejriwal could not change Sundar Nagri, how will he change the nation?
Ganesh Natrajan, on e-mail
What a way to malign Kejriwal! Scrutinise Anna Hazare and Kejriwal because you cannot scrutinise the Swiss bank accounts in which black money is hoarded!
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
One need not to be a great analyst to see throw the mala-fide.
No, no one is claiming that everything is and was alright with Arvind Kejariwal.
Yes, as a journalist, one has every right and duty to question.
But one thing does make one wonder:
(The writer was one of the founder members of Parivartan and worked in Sundar Nagri)
What might be the reason of blaming all on Arvind?
Does Panini share his part of/in failure?
“If it were the test case for Kejriwal, the failure shows.”
I see a trend in media to discredit anyone who speaks against corruption or challenges congress.
How is it Kejriwal’s failure? He cannot clean every choked drain, every overflowing sewer, supply water, and fix the PDS system for ever. May be outlook should check with the political representative of Sunder Nagar and ask what they have done!
Also ask the locals if they have desire to sustain the improvement he started. I have seen in many colonies in Delhi, who trash their streets, steal electricity, and bribe to reduce electric bills. The just don’t care about all these.
What a way to malign Arvind Kejriwal. People want to be beggars, they dont want to do any efforts. Yes and the banks and sources of Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Anna Hazare should certainly be scrutinised. The Swiss bank accounts are out of scrutiny. The rampant corruption of corrupt minister even if caught goes unpunished. Great!!!!!!!
Kejriwal must be applauded for his efforts. The blame for the absence of sustained benefits cannot be laid solely on his shoulders.
Swaraj by Arvind Kejriwal
free download- http://iacmumbai.org/downloads.php?id=Tmc9PQ==
If we read Swaraj (in the first 10 pages only) Arvind has given this example with name and reason for its failure. He said that there are mutiple front( created by system) to be won for a sustainable improvement. With the limited bandwidth of NGOs it is difficult to engage all the fronts. It seems he meant to say that people should only expect NGOs to provide a guidance and take responsibilty of sustaining the improvement.
P.S. - This article was published after Swaraj's release. May be excerpts from Swaraj has triggered this detailed report/ article from Outlook on Sundar Nagri.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT