My notes and musings …

Lead with slogans

with 6 comments

Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sanghatan (SKMS) has a presence in some 60 to 70 villages in Mishrikh and Pisawa blocks of Sitapur district. There are village level committees which hold regular meetings to discuss issues of concern and chart a course of action. Once a month, sanghatan ke sakriya saathi (active partners of the Sanghatan) represent their village at a kshetriya baithak (regional meeting) where regional issues are discussed and strategies worked out. At these regional meets there are also people who are just becoming active and / or seeking to know what happens at the regional meetings.

During our 6 week stay earlier in the year (Apr-May) we had attended a few village meetings and two rounds of the regional meets. In June capacity building trainings were conducted for the emerging leadership and after getting to know more about the details of the workshop, Sudha and I were looking forward to see the difference during the regional meetings this time around.

The first regional meeting was in the Aant region. The mobilization in the villages here is still picking up steam and the leadership too reflects its nascent stage. The next meeting in Qutubnagar is almost an exact opposite. The Sanghatan is very strong in many villages here and the local activists are real firebrands. At the Qutubnagar meeting earlier in the week, it was decided that each sakriya saathi who turns up late would get a punishment – to lead the group that had already arrived with slogans and songs. The number of slogans and songs that they would have to lead would be dependent on how late they arrive. (Most of the village activists walk or cycle for a few kilometers to get to the meeting place.)

Sunita from Husseinpur was one of the first late comers. It was decided that she had to lead with five slogans before she could sit down. Hesitatingly she lead with two, Ladenge ! Jeetenge !! (We will fight ! We will win!!) and Kamanewala khayega! Lootnewala jaayega!! Naya zamana aayega !!! (workers will eat; looters will go; a new era is coming). As she tried to sit down, Surbala one of the representatives of the Sanghatan and a regional level mobilizer, stopped her and reminded that she still had three more slogans to go. With just this bit of an extra push was sufficient to melt Sunita’s hesitation and soon she was leading with her full voice and fire. One after the other she lead with not just three but five more slogans ! The effects of the training was right there for all to see.

Written by Dwiji

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 at 07:28

6 Responses

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  1. dwiji,just a little abt the capacity bldg trainings.Who does it & how do they build trust with people.The villagers can be weary that it cld be some poltical party with its own agenda,hence asking



    Saturday, August 30th, 2008 at 01:14

  2. Hi Leena, That is a good and a pertinent question. The training I referred to in this post was for those emerging as leaders within the Sanghatan. Saathis from over 60 villages actively lead different local efforts and have shown the potential for a bigger role within the movement and in some cases at an individual level as well. Such individuals were chosen from villages in each region and trainings were conducted. Some of the points covered in the training were, (a) body language and eye contact (b) opening up one’s voice and speaking out loud (c) trying to give the ‘babu’s perspective and get they to come up with effective ways of overcoming the obstacles they typically pose for the Sanghatan and its efforts (d) how to shout a slogan and when to use it, and many other things. I did not attend the trainings and all these points I present above are based on discussions we had during and after the workshop.

    And yes, villagers do typically have a talent for identifying, availing, and discarding trainings organized by different NGOs. The political parties typically don’t bother with trainings. They either offer cash or in kind incentives, typically a day or two’s junket to the nearest town/city for a big rally or something. But NGOs on the other hand organize trainings for the sake of organizing them and the local population knows how to make hay when the sun shines !



    Saturday, August 30th, 2008 at 02:10

  3. Does the Sangathan provide corporate training as well? We could use some of these aspects (except for the slogan shouting piece)… 🙂



    Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 at 12:44

  4. not as far as I know ! And I don’t think they have any such plans … thankfully !!

    I realized I didn’t answer another part of Leena’s Q – who conducts these trainings. Richa, Surbala, Reena and Mukesh are the resources people within the organization when it comes to mobilization. Typically, two of them together conduct the training sessions. There are a few saathis who are at the stage where they can also start training. One or two from this bunch help out organizing the logistics and the material. So in a way the training sessions double up as a learn-on-the-job time for these folks.



    Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 at 18:06

  5. Thankfully kyon? Have you turned anti-corporate or something in Sitapur???



    Sunday, September 14th, 2008 at 12:02

  6. They have such a full schedule that they are able to conduct only about half the number of trainings that the members of the Sanghatan could use, in my opinion. So if we added training other organizations, it would only be to the detriment of the Sanghatan. But more importantly, I personally feel there is a much stronger need for leadership training and perspective building in the social sector than in the private sector.

    As far as turning anti-corporate, I am sure I was anti-big, whether corporate or govt., even before going to Sitapur. After going there I was able to see the effect that such trainings have on the activists. I can now confidently say that there is a potential within these individuals that can be realized through such trainings.



    Sunday, September 14th, 2008 at 13:16

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