India faces serious challenges as youth have become more opinionated and polarised, and informed debate has given way to name-calling and abuse. The echo chambers of social media reinforce entrenched positions, leaving little room to consider other honestly held views.
ComMutiny – The Youth Collective, Pravah and vartaLeap have launched ‘Samjho Toh – The Samvidhan LIVE! Dialogues’ to bring together polarised young people from diverse backgrounds, who co-create a common idea of India transcending singular ideologies.
Samjho Toh is premised on creating a culture of dialoguing by listening and understanding another’s perspective.
The vartaLeap Coalition, a cross sectoral group of over 150 organisational and individual representatives with a collective youth work experience of 2000+ years was incubated by ComMutiny – The Youth Collective and Ashoka Innovators for Public. The coalition aspires to move youth-centric development from the margins and make it a new norm in every space that young people occupy or that impacts young people.
Arjun Shekhar, Co-Founder, ComMutiny, Pravah and vartaLeap says, “10 years ago, we lamented that people don’t have a point of view. Now, we are bothered when everyone seems to have an opinion. Young people with their conflicting viewpoints must have spaces to interact with each other so that they don’t get stuck in their own echo-chambers of single stories.”
Shekhar emphasizes, “Staying in a non-conflict space or just not addressing these conflicts is like an ostrich hiding their head in the sand.”
Samjho Toh aims to reach out to young people with differing ideological perspectives and hopes to bring them together to dialogue and understand each other.
This initiative aims to create an environment where we are not talking at people but enabling youth to talk to each other and create a space for everyone to see a different perspective from what they closely hold.
The week-long social media launch between March 1 and March 7 saw engagement by thousands of young people and youth workers through social media posters, videos, announcements and knowledge partners hosting multiple Facebook and Instagram LIVE events across many locations.
The launch also saw the unveiling of the official Samjho Toh album, under ComMutiny’s banner. It is now available across all music streaming platforms like Amazon, Spotify, iTunes and YouTube.
27 knowledge partners, CSOs from different parts of the country are supporting this initiative inby creating opportunities for young people to experience Samjho Toh journeys. More than 60 diverse facilitators have joined the Samjho Toh team to implement the journey on ground with young people from in over 30 different locations with voluntary support from the knowledge partners.
64 cohorts of 1280 diverse young people will be a part of the workshops, dialogues, collaborations and co-creation of expressions, and build capacities on emotional literacy, deep dialoguing, narrative creation and empathy.
In phase 2 of the intervention, participants from phase 1 will be facilitated and mentored to set up Fraternity labs in their communities (Schools, Colleges, Universities, locally available community spaces). The labs will help bring alive the value of ‘Fraternity’ enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of India while young people will take up social action projects on busting fake news along their contextual fault-lines like gender, caste, religion, language etc. and re-interpret those to co-create and amplify authentic narratives that bridge those fault-lines.
The coalition aspires to set up 100 fraternity labs in different parts of the country by 2022. The labs are envisioned as spaces that get institutionalized in existing structures of institutions such as schools, colleges, universities for sustainability and to ensure access by all kinds of young people.