We had an amazing day this year on 26th November on occassion of Indian National Constitution Day at the communities of Netivali, Kalyan (E) and at Bamanwada, Vile Parle (E) in Thane and Mumbai districts of Maharashtra respectively. This is the day that the Indian Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, laying the foundations of the biggest democracy in the world.
We have already been working with the youth of Netivali since last 6 months through Constitution Literacy sessions. That itself had started as a result of our Inter-college constitution exam started in December last year, from which one of the experts Ms. Sunita Bhavar took the initiative to start constitution literacy work with youth near her community, that is, in Netivali.
That’s why we were doubly excited to see the journey progressing further with this campaign. Youth leaders from Kolegaon were there to support the youth in Netivali, while the all-girls youth group of Bamanwada led the campaign in their community. It was a unique ‘Door-to-door Constitution Conversations’ campaign to take the Indian constitution’s fundamental essence and values to every house. The campaign consisted of an explanation about the Constitution, distribution of Preamble stickers and booklets about constitutional values, and an activity of lighting candles of ‘Humanity’ that spread from house to house – illuminating the entire area with the light of humanism which is the base of the Indian Constitution. The fundamental rights and idea of social justice contained in the Constitution was one of the main points of discussion – which we at Anubhuti feel are fundamental to Mental Health justice especially of vulnerable populations. Anubhuti has been working under leadership of founder Deepa Pawar, who is a GYAA Advocate, for mental health justice of diverse youth – and this campaign was a part of this work where youth from our MH justice trainings led the campaign.
People’s responses were varied – with some easily accepting because they were followers of Dr. Ambedkar, some wanting to understand more and pleasantly surprised to get booklets with more information, some unsure of the program, but every single person we met gave their precious time to listen and accept the sticking of Preamble stickers on their doors. Like one woman said, “Why do you ask my permission to stick the Constitution’s Preamble on my door? Rightfully put it up – we are all Indians!”