As the clock hits 5 in the evening, you see a bunch of individuals in their late teens, leaving their hostels and moving towards the gate. A journey that, for most of the BITSian population, seems equivalent to Verne’s travel to the Earth’s center. But, just like professor Lindenbrock’s driving force, these students sure must have a reason that helps them work for the society, something that pushes them off their seductive beds after a long, tiring day and into the irritating Goan heat to achieve something that only a handful of people can ever wrap their heads around. With this inspiration in mind, Nirmaan adjured its volunteers to introspect. We asked our team to look within themselves and find a reason as to what keeps their heads down and their bodies moving, in a world where being ignorant and apolitical seems to be the trending attitude.
Following are the responses we got from six of our volunteers after we interviewed them on what they feel drives them to work for the society. The answers range from a sense of self-satisfaction to moral obligation, depicting clearly as to how there’s no one ‘kind’ of people that have it in the hearts to help others.
In simple terms, I feel social work is nothing more than a symbiotic entity. I believe that along with the one being helped, the one helping the society also gets to rejoice in satisfaction and happiness. I tend to follow the principle of doing well and receiving better in return. Moreover, I feel that the society continues to cater to the general misconception about social work having no material returns, whereas everybody just fails to look at its moral and motivational outcomes. Being introduced to the field of public service at a young age, I believe that my early experiences surely paved a way for me to join Nirmaan after coming to BITS. For me, personally, the acknowledgement and appreciation received for the work done by a social worker is the ultimate satisfaction and that is what has and will always push me and a lot like me to do our bit for this society we owe so much to.
I strongly theorise that the idea of a give-and-take relationship among the occupiers of this ever-changing society is what forms the basis of every social work. As far as the popular view of public service is concerned, I feel that having fewer monetary benefits maligns the primary image of social work. I don’t really accept this common stand, and for me, the non-materialistic outcomes of taking part in social service is reason enough. I realised this a while ago that belonging to a privileged class of the society, it is our moral duty to help those who, due to several reasons, don’t have access to basic necessities. Other than this, the satisfaction and happiness everyone receives for being a part of a change-making process is something that caters to our inherent human need for appreciation and this, according to me, is what will finally clear the path for the betterment of an environment in terms of growth and development.
When I was a little kid, there was a lesser privileged family who moved to our neighbourhood. After interacting with them and inspecting their situation, I realised soon enough that being economically helpless might not be a direct fault of the person/family, and honestly, this fact changed me from within. I sincerely respect the right to equal opportunity, and so, I feel that it is our moral obligation that all of us who can afford the basic necessities must step forward and take the charge in supporting those who can’t. There are countless situations where a bunch of setbacks degrades an individual’s lifestyle, without any actual fault of their own and this, according to me, is an unfair consequence of living in an unequal society. My interest in Shiksha (a vertical at Nirmaan) and towards teaching, in particular, stems from my belief that primary education is the most basic of human needs. I strongly believe that a feeling of giving back to the society is something that every public servant must keep bound to their hearts and remind themselves of every day.
I’m one of those people who desperately wants to see the society change for the better. I’ve been a huge proponent of the deed of imparting education and my experience here, teaching kids around the college campus has been nothing less than an eye-opener. For me, the inspiration to be a part of this comes from the feeling of self-satisfaction and happiness that I receive from helping and being a part of a change. I strongly feel that keeping myself aware of the world around and doing deeds of contentment form the basis of my happiness. According to me, a need for social welfare is what needs to be imbibed in every citizen’s mind. That combined with a spectrum of opportunities to bring about change, can empower anybody and help them become an important addition to the process of upliftment.
I visualise public service as a form of social responsibility of all those who bear the resources to help the less fortunate in every way they can. In these summers, I had a chance to visit a resort, and the visit made me reflect on the level of privilege most of us take for granted. While my family and I continued to enjoy proper resources limitlessly, I could see local villagers walk miles to get water. It isn’t like development in the region is a problem, the resort being the case in point. Yet, the ability to make this development available to the common villager is a problem we must work on. I believe that everyone is equally worthy of living a good life, and each one of us can do our part in uplifting the less fortunate. If I had to suggest something to my fellow volunteers and social workers, I would request them to step forward and make a difference and that is exactly how I feel that we can develop a set of strong and determined young workers that can bring the required change.
During my childhood, I was influenced by the lives of the underprivileged, and that is partly the reason that I have this inherent desire towards enlivening the situation of those who continue to stay deprived of basic needs. Nirmaan, for me, felt like an instant connection because of my deepest desire of seeing an equal society, wherein the privileged won’t hesitate to go out of their ways and provide for those who deserve to live a life of dignity. I feel that widespread poverty and our backward mentalities, that too in a developing country, is what continues to deprive generation after generation of basic necessities. To be honest, I often wonder as to how a lot of us just fall upon undeserved prerogative whereas a large chunk of our nation lives without basic fundamental rights. What drives me forward towards bringing about change as a part of Nirmaan or otherwise is the need for a balanced community. A society wherein fighting for basic rights is something the population won’t need to worry about, and wherein the phenomena of class separation would fail to demarcate the society more than it already has.
This piece aims at talking about the kind of mindsets that most volunteers have towards social work. Along with this, it focuses on expanding an outsider’s view of what public service means to those who actually put in their time at making the world a better place. Nirmaan takes pride in all its volunteers and appreciates each one of them for being responsible citizens in a society where turning your back seems like the easiest approach towards solving a problem.