It’s been a bit of a rough week what with the sudden denouncement of INR 500 & INR 1000 notes as #ModiFightsCorruptions, and what with Trump having a completely surprise and unexpected victory to become President Elect of America. People everywhere are reeling, and social media has exploded. Some people are shocked and disheartened, while others are celebrating, on either sides of the globe.
In India people are worried about the loss of savings, the inconvenience of temporarily losing cash on delivery as a payment option, bad infrastructure to handle this denouncement, and the severe impact this is going to have on many many livelihoods, from domestic help to cab drivers to real estate builders. In America people are frightened by what is being perceived as “whitelash” and the extent to which a dialogue of fear has influenced such a large proportion of American people. Whether or not Trump will stay true to his divisive election dialogue remains to be seen, just like it remains to be seen whether or not Modi’s “surgical strike” on black money will actually have more long-term benefit than inconvenience. Regardless, what remains unshakably and unalterably true is that life as we know it, has now changed.
The question is though, how we’re going to approach this change. Are we going to lament inconveniences or celebrate decisive action? Are we going to try and get more involved in our countries (both India and America are democracies, and rightfully “for the people”) or stay (dis)content with passive commentary? What can one person do? Trump and Modi are both “one person” or single individuals. Yet each of them has effected unprecedented though contentious change. The next time you wonder about the power of your life, remember that. If you want proof of it, start by volunteering. It’s the quickest way to see your own impact. Both Trump and Clinton ran their campaigns on the backs of volunteers. The RSS (where Modi started) is a voluntary association that individuals enroll into. Start however you want, but start something. It’s important to recognize this upheaval as an opportunity for change, and move with it.
Shloka Mehta is one of the founders of ConnectFor and is patiently awaiting the episode of Koffee with Karan which has Twinkle Khanna and Akshay Kumar on the guest seat!