Can our children be the change our society needs?
I always complain about systemic changes not happening quick enough or policy changes taking too long.
The whole point of making laws is to improve our society. Bringing any change in a society, means changing user behaviour and being a startup founder I know that to be the most difficult thing to achieve.
Ask Ola, who succeeded in changing user behaviour → Even in tier 2/3 cities, which is amazing. But only they know the struggles they had to go through and how difficult it was to achieve.
Similarly, bringing a change in our society, be it through Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or campaigns to educate the girl child, is going to be extremely difficult. Will new laws be able to bring in desired change?
My grandfather's favorite quote was — "छडी लागे छम छम, विद्या ये घम घम।"; loosely translates into "लातों के भूत बातों से नहीं मानते।"
Many people today believe that our society can only change through fear of law, particularly the punishment which comes with it.
Case in point → People residing in Mumbai/Bangalore have mostly stopped drinking & driving, as fines have gone up to Rs.15,000/- per incident.
However, some also believe that our society is careless and brash, and does not fear the law. Why would anyone, when they can get away with bribes.
Laws don't necessarily guarantee compliance in our country. We either need strict / high penalty laws (which might attract corruption at lower levels) or have no laws at all, as they have no real effect on the ground.
What else can be done to bring about societal changes?
My uncle used to chew gutka (tobacco) till late 90s. My sister, after learning in school that chewing tobacco may cause cancer and possibly death, got so scared that she pestered him continuously for months to get rid of his habit. She threw away his stash whenever she could get hold of it, never let him chew in her presence and eventually wore him down.
Like all children, her persistent and stubborn nature won and eventually made him quit
The point I am trying to make is — Can our children act as a medium to bring about behavioural changes in our society? It is very difficult for a parent or an elder to ignore straight questions from a child; that too if asked repeatedly.
Our children, with proper education to back them up, can bring about a change in their own families, when it comes to socio-economic issues like proper disposal of garbage , defecating in the open, educating the girl child amongst many others.
New laws have proven to be ineffective in changing our society's collective mindset and behaviour. Over time, positive changes in our society can happen only through a well rounded education of our children and helping them become responsible citizens.
But, I also believe that our young generation has the power and capability to bring about a seismic shift in the way our society behaves today! I think this mode of "societal change" will be far quicker and efficacious than any law or special government program can ever dream to be.
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