Vote Wise, Vote Smart
He dreamt of joining the Indian Police Services or the armed forces ever since, youth and the desire to be of ‘use’ set in. Something triggered in him when he heard an Art of Living Faculty member speak in his college auditorium. He enrolled in the program and “life changed overnight”. Suddenly becoming a Social Reformer under the guidance of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was all he wanted to do. In a span of one year he became a Faculty of the Art of Living and was mentoring Youth all over India. A firm believer in standing for what is right, even if that means standing alone, meet Kapil Saini - a mentor to thousands of youngsters.
Towards a Collective Change
An entrepreneur from Bangalore, Kapil Saini, has taken a 6-month-break from his work to become a full time member with the Volunteer for Better India Campaign. “It is the participation of the educated and interested citizens that will encourage better candidates to contest in the elections, and that's why exercising one's franchise is very crucial”, says Kapil. He has personally conducted more than 600 seminars and trainings on Voter Awareness.
Kapil’s aim is to ensure that maximum number of people turn out to participate in the biggest democratic process in world.
Along the Way
Kapil and his team strategized their campaign to reach all strata of the society and motivate people to cast their vote. From residential communities, educational institutes and organizations!
This well-planned and effectively executed strategy resulted in registering 3 lakh people in just 3 months!
What did they do?
- Explaining democratic rights
- Helping people fill applications for voter IDs,
- Ensuring names are on the voter’s list for their respective areas
- Inviting others to do the same
How did they do it?
- Flash mobs
- Debates & Rally
Kapil believes that, the beauty of their campaign is the tag line that says, “Give One Hour a day to the Nation."
Breaking all Barriers
The drive was not as smooth and hassle free as Kapil describes. They did face a lot of challenges in getting government approvals and necessary permissions from corporates, societies and even educational institutions. Sometimes the application forms were not accepted by the government officials. The Volunteers did not give up and also helped government officials to enter forms in their systems and generate IDs for applicants. Their dedication and sincerity to the cause, inspired some officials to put in extra efforts, work late nights and help volunteers to segregate forms and make sure that all forms made it to the final voter’s list.
Another challenge faced by Kapil’s team, were the excuses people made to chose not to vote. The general population seems to have given up on the political system and do not trust the government anymore. The volunteers were back lashed about corrupt politicians, faulty governance and debatable laws time and again. People were also either unaware or “too busy” to deal with the application procedure for a Voter’s ID. Their easiest excuse seemed to be, “one vote won’t matter!” Yet with passion and commitment, these people turned around and saw the value in casting one’s vote.
And for Kapil and others like him, the work in building the nation does not stop here. This is just a beginning.