Community Organising: The Art of Grassroots Campaigning (Part 13)

My Story

I will end this series with my personal story. Why am I on this path? What is my purpose?  What is my calling?

My journey began in late 2008 with a question a friend, Atanu, asked me a question: “Rajesh you have everything. When Abhishek (who was then 3 years old), grows up, and asks you a question, ‘Papa, you saw all that was happening around you in India, all that was going wrong. You had the time, you had the money. Why didn’t you do something about it?’, what will you answer?” It was this search which started my journey into the political space. Friends of BJP in 2009, Niti Digital from 2011-14, Free A Billion which morphed into Nayi Disha from 2015 until its closure in early 2019. Ten years in various (and eventually failed) efforts to transform India. In my early years, I thought that just getting the right leader would put India on the road to prosperity. It was a mistake. I did not understand then that politicians are all the same – their self-interest lies in power and winning elections, not in dismantling India’s anti-prosperity machine which is still intact and continues to deliver perpetually planned poverty. We need to change rules and not just rulers if we want out outcomes to change.

In the past two years, I have had time to reflect on those years and also what I want to do next. One option is to just give up because it is mission impossible; 250 years of serfdom and mental conditioning cannot be undone in 25 months. And then I remember my blog post I had written in early June 2011 – outlining a roadmap for the BJP to win a majority in the 2014 elections, an outcome none believed possible. All it took was 25 months. Which is where I come to the second option. We have to try. We have to give it our best shot to make the Indian Revolution happen so a billion Indians have the opportunity some of us have had at creating dramatically better lives for themselves and their children. And for this, sitting still and staying silent is not the answer.

I have been an entrepreneur for the past three decades. Through these years, I have attempted many ventures. A few have succeeded, many have failed. I keep looking for the next big idea. And for me, in today’s India, there is no bigger idea than a future where every Indian is free and has an opportunity to pursue a life of choice. And what I can do as an entrepreneur is to create products which offer alternatives in the political marketplace. This is where ideas like Nayi Disha and UVI come in. I am not yet prepared to give up and call it quits as a political entrepreneur. The next 1000 days will determine much more than the fate of a few politicians and their parties; they will decide whether the India our children inherit – caged and poor or free and rich.

Nayi Disha and UVI are my answers to that question from 2008. And I hope I can one day tell Abhishek, “I did it. I transformed India. With millions of others like me. So you can have a life of liberty, prosperity and infinite opportunity. Not in America, not in Singapore, but right here in India. And not just you, but every child, born or unborn, now and for times to come. This is the New India I helped create.”

This is my story. What is yours?

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.