A migrant labourer mentioned that he felt like a ‘50% ka nagrik,’ half a citizen, which made us think about the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen. Dictionary.com defines the term as:
a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection (distinguished from alien).
As the migrant’s story tells us, citizens aren’t treated uniformly; some are more equal than others. Those who are making policies, say, about the extent of the lockdown, the distribution of services during the lockdown and the long recovery that will follow all suffer from moral hazard: they are removed from those bearing the brunt of those decisions. Which makes it all the more important that they perceive their fellow Indians as 100% citizens.
As we thought of alternatives that treat citizens with dignity, we agreed that citizenship should be demonstrated in practice, by how we treat each other. Therefore, citizenship is what’s mutually reinforced by what I do with other citizens such as a cash transfer to fellow citizens in need.
Ek aur Ek is a platform for participatory citizenship in the spirit of equality rather than charity. We are in the very earliest stages of our journey, but we are making rapid progress towards creating a platform in which those who have resources can show solidarity with those in need.
As a product, Ek aur Ek should solve the following problem:
- Ram needs money to tide over the crisis and Rahim has the money to give. Can we make that transfer painless and seamless?
It’s deceptively simple. For example, we don’t want the money to be given in charity, but as a gesture of solidarity and long term support. Even more importantly, the transferred resources should lead to financial sustainability for the beneficiary. The long term goal should be to create a ‘community of dignity,’ of mutual recognition rather than charity.
We will be sharing our journey towards creating the Ek aur Ek platform on here. More to come soon!