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You May Think ‘Why NOTA?’, Hyderabad Artist Couple’s Campaign Asks You ‘Why Not?’

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The hype and hullabaloo created around the upcoming 2019 elections undoubtedly indicate that the event is going to be a spectacle this time. Political parties are coming up with ingenious campaigns to woo the new age voters, ranging from promotional rap songs to releasing mock manifesto of the opposition party, thereby harnessing the power of social media to the fullest. An alternative trend is also visible amidst the mutual mudslinging by ruling and opposition parties, which involves experts from different domains like academia, science, theatre, art etc. appealing to people to vote sensibly this time.

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In South India, an artist couple is scaling the parameter of innovative campaigns a notch higher, with their one-of-a-kind campaign that urges voters to opt for NOTA (None of The Above) option in the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), if they find none of the candidates worthy. Titled ‘Missing Honest Politicians’, the campaign by Hyderabad-based artist couple Swathi and Vijay highlights the absence of honest leaders in the present political scenario of India. They started the campaign a few weeks before in and around Hyderabad, and later ventured into parts of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra as well.

Hyderabad NOTA Couple

The ‘Missing Honest Politicians’ campaign

For Telangana, where polling starts from April 11, Swathi and Vijay’s message reads:

“Note: Persons having no information concerning this are requested to think of NOTA and report at your polling booth on 11th April 2019.”

The message is accompanied with the headline ‘Missing Honest Politicians’ in bold capital letters, and consists of the hashtag #findhonestpoliticians. The message alters according to the polling dates for different constituencies, but the main narrative remains the same.

Where are the honest politicians?

Speaking to Efforts For Good, Vijay clarifies, “As citizens, most of us are aware of the dwindling scale of honesty for most politicians, irrespective of which part he or she belongs to. What we wish to ask the people is to not waste their vote. We are not outrightly saying to go straight for NOTA, but to avail that option in case the voter fails to find any of the candidates just, honest and faithful.”

The artist duo had previously turned heads in the recent past with their bold graffiti where the vote button in the polling booth was depicted as the flush button on a commode, signifying how thoughtless voting is actually a precious opportunity gone down the drain.

“People often find none of the electoral candidates worthy, yet they either settle for one of them randomly or worse, they skip voting. We are trying to build the idea that casting their vote is indeed a necessity for every citizen. In that context, if the democracy is allowing you an option to reject all the candidates, then definitely you should cast an honest vote in NOTA if you are displeased with all your local leaders,” explains Vijay.

Why NOTA? Why not?

The general misconstrued notion about NOTA that prevails among voters is that voting for NOTA is actually wasting a vote. But Swathi and Vijay feel that it is still a better instrument of democracy than going for a candidate with a known shady background. He elaborates, “We got independence after 200 years of struggle. So, it is obvious that the results of voting for NOTA would not emerge into prominence instantly. But, that sends a message to the authorities that the people are rejecting the present prospective lawmakers. In future, this may pave the way for a law that excludes dishonest candidates from contesting the election.”

Hyderabad NOTA Couple

So far, the artist duo has not faced any major political or administrative objection seeking to curb their creative freedom. They are happy with the positive and curious response they are receiving from the public, which is why they have now elevated their campaign with interactive lectures and other modes of raising mass awareness. “But, one thing is for sure, we have managed to initiate candid political conversations among the public,” shares Vijay.

Efforts For Good take

Till a few years ago, politicians with convicted criminal records would continue to enjoy parliamentary and legislature seats and associated privileges. However, Kerala lawyer Lily Thomas’ nine-year-long fight finally culminated in an amendment of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, thereby barring such politicians from being MLAs and MPs.

A similar logic holds true in Swathi and Vijay’s appeal. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, over 60 lakh voters went for the NOTA button, clearly showing their disapproval of the political scene in their respective territories. While voting for NOTA might not magically transform Indian politics into a utopia devoid of corruption, it might actually prompt the political parties to reconsider their candidates and think more of what people actually seek in their leaders.

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Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns

Rahat COVID: Relief Work by Goonj

81,887 Raised
Out of 50,00,000

Share

No To Hunger : COVID Relief In Rural India

4,36,30,5.5 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

Provide Ambulance : Help Them Reach Hospital On Time

3,77,370 Raised
Out of 62,50,000

Share

Support Pranitha To Donate Oxygen Concentrators

8,30,193 Raised
Out of 30,00,000

Share

Bengaluru Needs Oxygen

6,33,448 Raised
Out of 25,00,000

Share

Help Them Breathe : Provide Oxygen Cylinders

34,79,668 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

Project Annapoorna : Become A Hunger Warrior

7,582 Raised
Out of 1,50,00,000

Share

The Stray Project : A Thought Of Humanity

41,094 Raised
Out of 25,00,000

Share

Ended

Stand By Ladakh

40,962 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

Closed

Support our Frontline COVID Warriors

25,615 Raised
Out of 20,00,000

Share

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

97,02,146 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

Campaign Closed
Brought machinery

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,544 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

Share

9 Happy Fridges Installed
Ordered a minivan and sent for modification

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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