As we look ahead to what is needed in India to create an alternate socio-cultural platform to kindle an electoral and economic revolution, it is important to list out 10 characteristics of what such an organisation will need:
- Target audience: The focus needs to be on the two-thirds of Indian voters who are non-aligned and non-voters (NANVs). These are people not committed supporters of any of the existing political parties.
- Core Ideology: There has to be a unifying idea that brings people together. This has to centred around the idea of a free and prosperous India – a belief that none of the existing political alternatives talk about.
- Local: It has to have a presence at the neighbourhood-level. The polling booth with its aggregation of 250 families could serve as a good basis for eventual organisation.
- Meeting Place: What will be the equivalent of the public library or the shakha office for the people to gather and interact? A virtual interaction can be a start, but a physical meeting place will be important to reinforce the feelings of community and solidarity.
- Social Infrastructure: One of the best ways to win people over is to have a cause to unite them. Building neighbourhood meeting places (libraries, community halls) could be a good starting reason.
- Engagement: There have to be reasons for people to come together and then stay on. These could be meetups, micro-campaigns, debating clubs, tree planting, educating kids, mentoring youth, or other such activities. They will also help attract new people to the organisation.
- App: An app on the phones of members will maintain connection and enable co-ordination.
- Virality: An organisation like this has to spread person-to-person. Members have to get members. When local units become big, they should split like amoeba and begin their independent growth.
- Scale: Since the eventual objective is political power, this organisation needs to spread to every part of India. India has a billion (100 crore) voters spread across 543 Lok Sabha constituencies, 4000 Assembly constituencies and a million (10 lakh) polling booths. The eventual goal must be to have an operating cell in every booth.
- Political Entrepreneurs: None of this is going to happen automatically. It will need people with passion and purpose – a new generation of political entrepreneurs willing to think long-term, like the RSS founder Keshav Hegdewar did nearly a hundred years ago, and Balasaheb Thackeray did with the Shiv Sena 50 years ago.
Taken together, these are the foundational ideas for a national decentralised organisation of Circles and citizens who believe in a new vision of India and are willing to devote a few hours a week to make it happen. This may seem like a daunting mission, but as the Chinese say, “cross the river by feeling the stones” and “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
What are our stones and steps?
Tomorrow: Part 8