Many people i meet ask me what prompted me to bring out the book ‘i, the citizen’? It all started with the many campaigns that we ran -whether it was the right to information, or the campaign to make democracy work, or the marches for water and sanitation…or the long struggle for human rights of indigenous communities. One of the key lessons that i learnt from spearheading them was that these campaigns do have its own impact. Citizen engagement is neither a slogan for activists nor a fashion statement of the day. The long term dividends that citizens gain when they engage with the state and other forces impacting their development is there for all to see. Transparency and accountability of Institutions can significantly go up when empowered and enlightened citizens begin to engage with them. The narratives of the many people who quietly work to make a difference had to be captured and told…these narratives are not only inspirational but are case studies that will help us unravel the complex dynamics of citizen-centric development interventions. It was then, on the prodding of my colleague and friend, Rohit Shetti (who is also the editor of this book) that we decided to put together my many blog writings into a book.
A video explaining why the book was written is here: