Anubhuti has added a new process this year to our Inter-College Constitution Literacy Exam, to be held in coming January. The Constitution Workshop that took place in October 2019, is now being followed up with focus group discussions in each of the 11 registered colleges with their students’ delegation – for more in-depth discussion on the Indian Constitution and how to study it. These FGDs are entirely youth-led with participants from last year’s exam and young members of Anubhuti team leading the discussions. It has been a pleasure interacting with each college delegation.
At this stage, they are deep into studying for the exam and they come ready with their questions such as – what is the best strategy to prepare, how to study history of Indian Constitution, difference between Fundamental Rights and Responsibilities, how to navigate the legal language which is sometimes difficult to understand, which parts to concentrate more on, etc.
The registered students are then also being oriented the code of conduct for exam, further opportunities even after the exam process – such as signing up for being ‘Constitution Friends’.
Responses of students to why they wish to study the Indian constitution are highly encouraging –
“It will prepare us to be better citizens”
“We need to know where our country’s laws and policies come from to follow them and use them”
“It is the Constitution that has given us women equal rights to work, equal wages, maternity leave and so much else that would have taken us years to achieve otherwise in a deeply unequal society like ours”
“We have heard of our fundamental rights but if we don’t know about them how will we attain them for ourselves or others”
“We only hear about democracy, political system and elections, but we don’t really know what they mean”
“Youth are usually not taken seriously – I want to study the Constitution because it gives me the right to express as a youth and so that I know what I’m talking about when I want to meaningfully participate in political process”
“The Constitution will help us understand how to organize for social change.”
“As believers of humanism – which we all are- we cannot possible say we are disconnected from the Indian Constitution. It gives us the values of humanity and therefore we must study it.”
It is really encouraging that the country’s youth are eager to study and prepare themselves to democratically engage with the nation’s socio-political processes. These are being carried out as part of founder Deepa Pawar’s work for Mental Health Justice for youth, as a GYAA Advocate 2019.