Friday, August 30, 2013

Aam Aadmi Party volunteers- Misery or exhilaration?

A few months back, a wife of one of our volunteer came and requested that I close down one of our local offices, as her husband was neglecting the family and his earning responsibility and sitting in the IAC office, all day. Next day, another volunteer's daughter called me requesting that we stop her father from being part of the movement as he was neglecting his earning responsibilities. I have been hearing similar heart rending stories of our volunteers neglecting their family duties for the national cause. Yesterday, in the volunteer meeting attended by over 250 volunteers, I asked "How many of you have problems at home and work due to participating in the movement?" and over 50% raised their hands.

When I first heard of this issue, I could not sleep well for many nights, as I pondered on what to do. We did not start the movement to break families, nor cause misery to previously happy wives, children and in some case, husbands and in-laws. There is no tangible benefit of money, fame or recognition.

So why did Anna not marry? Why did Arvind quit his job? What propelled me to leave my employment? Why did so many give up their lucrative career to join? Why do thousands of ordinary people leave behind the comfort zone of family, social life and entertainment to spend time, effort and money on doing what normal people would call "crazy stuff"? What drives people to take such extreme steps? What is the future of these volunteers - more pain at home? And more importantly, what should be my response to those who come for guidance or solution?

Some say that all men are born equal. I disagree. Everyone is born different, with unique levels of intelligence, sensitivity, empathy, creativity. But, through free will and choice, people can either evolve or decrease. Looking at the broad spectrum of humanity, I have broadly divided people through their overriding characteristics and attitudes.

Level 1: People who live on a "I, me and myself" attitude. These are the people who are completely focussed on their own existence and own existential issues. All that he is interested is his own pleasures, material comforts and needs. When you hear of a father raping his own child, it is most likely someone living on this level.

Level 2: People living on the next level have expanded consciousness which encompasses themselves as well as their family and close society structure. Peer approval and appreciation, name, fame, money, entertainment, holidays, material show-offs are some their motivations. Most of humanity lives at this level.

Level 3: This is a level at which a small part of humanity lives, in which one has evolved beyond just oneself and close ones. This is the level that most of our volunteers are approaching or have reached. Someone who is at the highest point of this level, is listening attentively to the world and to the people. He is aware of their individual and collective problems. With a sense of objectivity and detachment coupled with involvement and participation, he can find out relevant solutions to their problems. Sensitivity to society, love for all and empathy for the needy manifests as charity and service to others are his characteristics.

Level 4: Who am I? What is existence? What is my role in existence? And, how do I play that role? questions like these occupy the minds and lives of people at this level. Not for them, the mundane issues of the world. Sri Aurobindo was a great revolutionary and freedom fighter at level 3, but soon his evolution took him to this level to explore the dynamic potentiality of the Universal energies and its workings.

Most of our new volunteers are generally the good, simple people, who have been living at level 2. While everyone has been watching the injustice and suffering around the nation, it is only these few people who are ready for transformation, that by force of circumstances and internal change are slowly stepping into level 3. While they may be consciously unaware, there is a great internal change happening within them. 

Transformation is happening in their mind, which manifests itself in different ways - some will come out on the streets shouting slogans, some will write poetries, some sing songs, some paint, some make cartoons and some just come and sit in the office soaking in the atmosphere. While they are bewildered and nonplussed with the higher calling, the exhilaration and enjoyment of being in the higher level makes them want to come back time and again. The earlier joys of family, evening with relative and friends and the entertainment pales in comparison. They want to spend more and more time and energy for working for others.

 It would be futile to expect their families and outsiders to understand their internal changes. Someone who is at a lower level will never understand the one who is more evolved, nor the process of his growth. Most of his earlier contacts will sneer at him, insult him and run him down - calling it a desire for money or fame or worse.

So, it is an evolutionary and life-altering growth that our volunteers are going through individually.  He is bewildered and in a strange world. His environment, his family, his friends and social is still the same, but he has changed and so have their reactions to him. He is torn between the changes happening within, the reaction of his near and dear ones and the feeling of wanting to spend more and more time with what is pulling him.

So, what should I advice him?

Best solution : Live in balance, share with your family and make them understand your predicament. Try to bring your wife in some meetings, avoid friends and TV and spend some more time with the children and family members.

Second best solution: If the above is not possible, then continue working with the movement, in spite of the home strife. You are evolving, and evolution process is eternal, not just of this lifetime. If your family is at a lower level, you need not go to the lower level. Try to pull them up, if possible.

What do you think?

Read in Hindi...


suresh mohapatra said...

very good advice to the fellow beings who r never before attached to any noble cause.

kishan13g said...

Nikhil said...

I completely agree to u sir.

Nikhil said...

but what about earning sir??? I am just passed out graduate Doctor and wish completely to devote myself to this work BUT....question arises of my income source then??? How my family will run without money??? Because its not possible to earn and devote to this work completely simultaneously.... please reply im in big confusion state....

Narayanan Rajagopalan said...

Thats a good advise. In most cases issue comes only when he is a bread winner of the family. In this case he has to go with his existing job and earn for his family and fulfill all his commitments. Parallely he can work as a parttime volunteer during weekends and fulltime volunteer during weekends.AAP is a lon lasting party. The person can anytime switch to fulltime mode of volunteering the activities once he fulfills his family commitments. Rest it is in the hands of the individuals to convince their family based on their needs.

Bharat said...

I agree with Mr. Narayanan Rajgopalan. Basically if one has totally surrendered into his commitment(this is tricky- as one should be at a level where he/she has the clarity not to misunderstand the passing emotion or a fad with commtment), doors open & universe helps. It is a hero's journey & there will be trials & tribulations.


Mr. Mayank ji is vague in his explanation since political ambitiousness stops him to explain the whole truth. Actually, earlier these people under the leadership of Anna ji tastes the opium of anti-graft syrup and shown dream but now they are divided and one became political and other opened shop of andolan. But volunteers are not in position to decide exact ways to get change in the present system. I was also with Mr. Kejriwal but due to politics in andolan, it couldn't succeed. Volunteers must work and take care of their family which is prime responsibility. 90% people are corrupt one way or other way. Change will come but not through politics since politics keeps issues alive to cater votes and same Arvind and his party will do to keep the issue of corruption alive.

Tejinder Singh Renu said...

In my opinion, man raping his own daughter is a maniac and cannot be considered in Level 1... family and earnings should be priority, because this is his responsibility. If there is no one else in such family except the male member earning then he should concentrate on family first. Some how I do not suggest, sacrificing your family responsibilities in the name of the nation.

Wear sunscreen said...

I am in Level 3.
need to try 2nd best solution.

Unknown said...

Most people (their relatives complaining) ignore the truth that if at all someone else or they themselves had already, years back, worked at transforming the corrupt "system" that is the true cause of their family sufferings (inequality of opportunity or income), then things would have been close to a paradise. At least the next generation need not complain about us having not done appropriate things for them and their future generations. And, from the perspective of karma or re-incarnation, the current conditions are also the effect of our own ignorance of such corrupt practices we had faced in our past lives. It is then time now to re-think and re-view the influence and result of our participation in such a movement on a long time period.

Unknown said...

A better solution to the complaints by ladies that their husbands/brother/fathers are neglecting work and attending AAP offices is to request the ladies to take the place of the men. We need to empower the women so much more.

jitshah said...

You are an Aam Aadmi if you don't have lakhs of rupees of bank balance. You have to take care of your family - we are in crores of people (Aam Aadmies). We have to give just a hour or two hours a day working with our comminity where we live without fear if united. In any election now these corrupt politicians should never win. UNITE and Give your TIME, SKILL and Money if you can. Jayhind.

Unknown said...

An efficient team structure which make use of the time available with its teams' members in such a way that no volunteer is burdened so much that it affects his/her personal life beyond limits and all the tasks are also accomplished timely... can be a solution. I think few volunteers are putting very hard efforts which is evem affecting their health even beyond falimy's expectation while others just wonder even they are avilable for few hours a week they are not able to find how to contribute constructively. A structure is being tried out in Navi Mumbai while addressing such issues. We need to work smartly while using management principles and technical tools along with our diehard zeals to filfill our goals because my friends the tasks is Himalayan and can not afford to loose our soldiers and/or waste our efforts. Jai Bharat. Dev Karan Nehra. Kranti ki Talwar Vicharo ki Saan par Tez hoti hai:Bhagat Singh

IDCA said...

I think AAP should raise funds to support the so called volunteers, so that they can also take care of their family needs.I am sure many who can not give time can give some funds to support this work.

Sanveer Mehlwal said...

I remember, reading a very detailed article, about how Gandhi was assisted, Financially, in the Freedom Struggle, by a lot of famous business houses. And, the British were Not unaware of it.
The Congress Government has created the ADHAAR, with many purposes, None of which is to allow legitimacy to Indian Citizens. One of its purposes is to blackmail citizens who contribute to Movements like Anna Hazare and India Against Corruption. The other, is to play Vote-Bank Politics, through making direct fund transfers, to the accounts of voters, mostly before elections, under the guise of various fraud government schemes

CM said...

Idiotic concept of AAP. Leadership is required. Make the leader a correct man and things will fall. The whole mass trying to lead is what we call chaos. Your AAP has created chaos and put Baba Ramdev into problem, who has initiated this movement. Leaving job is obvious as you are leading party now. And you feel you are at level 3 and 4 and rest of the world are all bad at level 1 and 2. Please respect India in its originality first. Please first understand what is in our roots - our culture, our traditions, our family values for which the world knows us better. But your AAP rejects them all. AAP has smaller goals like Gadkari. And people has larger problems like Coal gate. AAP has smaller goals like Electricity bill corruption. People has larger problems like money draining out to foriegn lands, thereby inflating prices here. You exist to confuse people and not allow them to concentrate on one single leadership, who can be then pressurized to work seriously and not rule us like current Gandhi family.

Unknown said...

It is question of balance at all levels. If one can balance everything there is can not be any further problems. After work if one gave 100% of its time level 1 will always exist. But, to reach level 4 will difficult task at least 4 many. AAP will get all types of volunteer that is what country also need. Transformation from 1 to 4 will happen in its own way as divine force will play his role in tranformation.

jagdish Fadnavis said...

I agree with most of ur has to balance both looking to the priorities of the shud do ABC analysis of the situation at hand both service to family and service to the nation selfless without expecting anything in return are of paramount importance..and act judicially and promptly to have a peace of mind at all times

Dr Rakesh Parikh said...

Very well written article, reflecting the state of mind of many of our volunteers.
The volunteers in level 3 are our assets. The least that we can do for them is to recognize their efforts, motivate them and assist them.
With this if they feel they are being of some use to society and nation, they wouldnt mind the cost that they have to pay at family front.
National leadership of AAP and guys in level 4 are failing on this front.

Unknown said...

Nice article,I am at level 3 & I strike the good balance between family life & movement but Iam completly agree with with Dr. Rakesh Parik that National leadership of AAP in level 4 are failing on this front.

Unknown said...

We are all having multiple facets within ourselves even now. The key thing is to be able to juggle our hats when the situation demands. For e.g in the morning when we get up, a lot of us read newspapers by sheer habbit which is how we enrich our level 1 and like this when we want certain food or see a certain movie or news on TV, we are telling others that "i" need some space for "my" individuality to grow and be yourself. A lot of people mostly start taking care of family after they get married and that becomes the level 2 and as rightly said by Mayankji, some people move onto level 3 when you think of the bigger family i.e the society when the basic needs of "roti, kapda aur makaan" are in sort of control. Level 4 is difficult for many people and that level is tending towards more philosophy. Level 3 which is where the bulk of us are now is a great stage of self actualisation. We are doing what we like and since we all used to waste time otherwise in our life doing lower level things which now seem irrelevant to the bigger good in life.Having done reasonably well for ourselves, we are now thinking how do we utilize our creativity or energy our experience our knowledge for the good of the society. We all know that if we do good to others it will reciprocate today or tomorrow. We want to offer opportunities for others which we received. And as far as family being neglected, we firstly need to be able to market the policies of AAP to them, especially to your wife and then to your children and make them see the bigger picture. Tell them that over a period of time, the time that we are investing in AAP will benefit the society as we want to change how the system operates. So instead of spending that 3 hours per week on movies we rather spend that time on doing something. And if we enjoy what we do then it is great. It does not cause any stress. We should also not expect others in our family and friends to work as much as we do or be as committed as we are because people have their own way of looking at life. If we can involve our family in AAP then there is nothing better than that as then the entire family gets aligned with a common goal. In the Anna andolan, i had got my 6 year old son also involved and dressed him as anna and he spoke quite nicely and it was a great time in 2011 on the streets. It reminded us of the kind of enthusiasm that must have been there in the minds of the freedom fighters. It reminded me about the phase in 1977 when janata party leaders like mirinal gore, george fernandes etc gave bhashan in goregaon and i was just about 11-12 and it was a great time. We need to tell our family that this is the time to 2014 is the 4th fight for independence. The 1st was in 1857. 2nd was led by Gandhiji for getting us independence from the british. the 3rd was led by Jayprakash Narayan to take the country out of emergency in 1977 and now AAP is leading the country out of corruption and total overhaul. It is a fantastic time and we need to pass on this enthusiasm to all Indians. Jai Hind

Unknown said...

I agree with the categorization but not the best Solution given by you Mr Gandhi. Jo Apne family ka roti kapda ka Jugad nahi kar pa raha use Desh ka sudhar kara rahe ho Sir Ji...We have to be more practical...Few Suggested those type of people should give their partial time one or 2 hr daily.

Jai hind

Agent H Chenthil said...

If everyone gives their 4-5 hours a week and say donates 10% of their income, we can consider the job done! However, when new people see older guys putting their everything and not getting the desired results, they get demotivated and dont step forward. So we should create a simple system of getting involved, with shared responsibilities which would really inspire more and more people to join the movement! There is no room for cynics in a revolution, we can just ignore them..

sandip said...

आज स्वतंत्र भारत मै पहेली बार जनता को सही ढंग से राजनीती समजने का और राजनीती की गिरी साख को उपर करनेका मौका मिला है..एक उम्मीद की किरण दिख रही है और खोने के लिये कूच भी नही है ..जानते है सफलता मुश्किल और नामुमकीन है लेकिन एक प्रयास मै मिल रही हिस्सेदारी कूच खास करनेका जज्बा पैदा कर रही है ..समाज के प्रती जिम्मेदारी निभानेका सौभाग्य प्राप्त हुवा है ..अब बलिदान की किमत नही होती परिवार मै असहज भावना तो होगी ..क्योन के सब काम तो पुरी तरह पागलपन जैसे लगते है परिवार का दोष नही उनका पूर्व अनुभव बुरा था और कोहि माता पिता अपने बच्चे का भविष्य खराब होते देख सकते नही ..लेकिन दिवाने समज नही सकते और परिवर्तन की बुनियाद दिवानगी होती है तो जो आज आप के साथ है सब दिवाने है ..इस बार अगर उनको चोट मिली आप से तो फिर भारत मै अगला आंदोलन खडा नही हो पायेगा ...(संदीप deore आप social मेडिया धुले)

Sureshkumar M said...

Dear friends,

There is no point in blaming others when we cannot change us. Most of the time we would murmuring about the current situation like garbage around the dustbins, poor road condition etc.. If you think properly, we would play a major role for this pathetic condition. Now it is our time to think about our generation and take a step forward to provide them a beautiful world.

Might not you to leave the whole family in street and come to party/movement etc. At least you could do a bit for nation is not atleast for your Kid.

Power of one:
What can I do alone? I am just one among 1.2 billion. Even if I change, what good will it do? What about the rest? Who will change everyone? First get everyone else to change then I too will change. These are some of the most negative thoughts I have heard all through my life. The story of Dashrath Manjhi is a fitting reply to all these statements. It tells us what one man can achieve. It tells us about the power of one.

Don’t miss to read the full article which has wonderful eye-opener moral:
Full article:

Many people can ask
1. What you people have done so far, We are saying that at least we started now whereas still you are talking.
2. What are going to happen by all of the above, we are asking what needs to be done? What you have done for that? We are trying our level best.

Bharat Matha ki Jai, Jai hind!!!!!!!

Sureshkumar M,,
“Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Anna Hazare, Kiren bedi, Arvind Kejirwal, Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein etc, - Something is better than nothing”.

Unknown said...

Mr. Gandhi as you know I have been fighting for past decade against the corruption in Indian Legal Enforcement & Judiciary system. I read your article which made me think about your statement “Most of our new volunteers are generally the good, simple people, who have been living at level 2. While everyone has been watching the injustice and suffering around the nation”.

Well the “everyone” you have mentioned in your statement are struggling, fighting every day & every way so she or he could live dignifying, (relatively) happy life. What are you guys doing to resolve their everyday issues or problems…..nothing, because you guys are busy exposing Gadkari & Ambanis. If those” everyone” approaches you or your team members with their grievances then you tell them you guys don’t deal with individual cases so basically you too watch them suffering injustice. It’s a fact then why you guys are fulling aam admi by calling your party AAP? You also mentioned in your article that you, Mr. Kejriwal & others have left their jobs or monthly earning source to enter in politics (what you guys are doing that is not “ Deshseva or samajseva”) then question arises who support you guys & your families ? I was born & brought up in Mumbai & have relatives staying in Delhi so can say with firsthand experience that it’s very difficult to live in happening places like Mumbai with the family without having steady hefty monthly income or (inherent) hefty bank balance. What do you think, volunteers who are involved in AAP for full time or young graduates wish to involve in how should they support themselves( leave alone wives or kids) ? If AAP want them to join (the politics) as volunteers then how do you plan to keep them motivated, happy & positively involved ? Who are going to provide them with their basic survival needs ? And if you are not there to help aam admi with their grievances then what would be the difference between AAP & existed political parties ? I would really appreciate getting response on my personal email. You, Mr. Kejriwal, Mr. Bhushan do have my cell & email but still forwarding once again

Warm Regards,

Jyoti Ghag
Seattle, Washington.

Sumeet Khetal said...

Its a good advice to start involving family members so that they understand the passion for which we go on streets and want to work for betterment of our society.....welll i have a difficult job which makes me live far from my family itself but whole heartedly i support this movement and whenever i am on leave i like to amke more and more people aware of this movement

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Anonymous said...

1) The example given for Level-1 people is not fair. Only people with criminal or perverse mind commit such crimes. But people classified by you as Level-1 can be found everywhere around us. They are only selfish and narrow minded but cannot be compared to criminals. Please remove that example if possible.
2) Second best sollution given to Level-4 people is ok but please also advise them not to totally ignore their dependent family members. It is also the duty of an householder to take care of his dependent family members till such time they become independent. It may be possible that in due course they may get convinced or inspired to join him.


Anonymous said...

"If your family is at a lower level, you need not go to the lower level. Try to pull them up, if possible."

What is this supposed to mean ? don't u even have the decency to say that their level of thinking is different and if possible to pull them towards you ? please dont post like this and demean other ppl who don't support ur cause at the cost of their lives. U r illtreating other people and pulling down your own party's support among people !!!!

पुनीत ओमर said...

अंग्रेजी में लिखे गए इस सुन्दर और विचारोत्तेजक लेख का जिस किसी ने भी हिंदी में अनुवाद किया है, निश्चित ही उसे न तो अंग्रेजी की कोई जानकारी थी और न ही हिंदी की. मेरा सुझाव है की कमसे कम आलेख को हिंदी में लिखने के बाद एक बार तो किसी ने पढ़ा होता...

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Unknown said...

Pandit Umesh Sharma is a Member of Aam Aadmi Party and He is standing in election of MP at West Delhi. He is a social worker in his area and do more worke for neede people.
Umesh Sharma Aam Aadmi Party

Unknown said...

खतरे मे है आम आदमी पार्टी के 21 विधायक, चुनाव आयोग में सुनवाई आज
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