An Interview with Abhijit Alka Anil – A Humanitarian

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Abhijit Alka Anil, a social worker is working for innumerable social causes since the last 5 years. At 27 he is into grass root level work and has brought about a change. Salute to youth like him who re-define the word noble!

Q) First thing that one notices is your name. Any specific reasons for the same?

Yes I am a feminist. I believe a mother who nurtures the child in the womb is someone who cannot be excluded from his name – which is one’s sole identity. Also I don’t want people to judge me on the basis of my surname. It shows caste. And my caste, creed and race are all humanism. Although it raised quite a few eyebrows, who are they to deny my right to live my life my way and respect its dignity?

Q) When did your career as a full time social worker start?

A) The Kherlanji issue was something which was an eye opener and made me see the world from close. We did a signature campaign with a whooping 1113 signatures mainly those of the youth. The letter was then sent to our former president Mr. Abdul Kalam gaining support of many sporadic groups. The Jessica Lal murder case had finally got justice then. Our question was if Jessica Lal then why not Bhaiyyalal? This is when it all started.

Q) What were your further projects?

I worked for an extensive area around the circumference of the now so popular Jaitapur project. We created awareness among the locals regarding the ill effects of the nuclear reactors. There the kind of mentality people had was a little difficult to change as they were in some kind of shell not ready for a change .I did some NGO work after that.

Q) Can you tell the exact cause?

A) The NGO Balprafulta is a child rights protection organization. I was the co coordinator for their campaign of ‘talaash’ for identifying runaway children mainly found on the railway platforms and the vicinity. After identifying them we put them in the children’s observatory at Dongri till they were assisted either by the parents or a guardian. The NGO also works against child labor.

Q) Considering your work one might look at you as a leftist. Are you one?

No I am a humanist. And have always tried my best to strike a balance between human rights and humanitarian approach. even while working for these causes was selected as an intern for the NHRC summer internship program among the 55 others all over the country and among the sole 3 from Maharashtra.

 

Q) How was the experience there?

It was fabulous. We discussed several issues from poverty to juvenile delinquency. I won an award for my overall performance and mostly for my project on ethnic and caste conflicts. I feel the caste structure is quite solid here in India. And till it vanishes, changes or progresses are all superficial terms.

 

Q)What are the problems for a budding social worker today?

They are just endless. Even a patriarchal and so called male dominated society doesn’t take these things well. Shivaji is better born in other’s house even today. Although I am from a well educated background my family was not receptive towards my profession. So I can understand how much the girls have to compromise professionally.

 

Q) What are your future plans?

Well many to mention. I want to open my own college (the only one of its kind in Maharashtra) which would offer MA in human rights. What I am going to concentrate on is constantly keeping a track of my work and regular follow-ups. I am just a drop in this ocean like world where so much more needs to be done. I feel charity begins from an individual and not just the home, it is my honest effort to bring about a change. Together let’s make things possible!

 

Ankita Bhatkhande

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