“I never thought that I would someday work in the social development sector” – Sanjay Kumar Verma (Zabardast Jagrik)

Sanjay Kumar Verma wanted to be an engineer but something within me nudged me to get associated with social work and pursue a career in it and hence, I enrolled myself in the Master of Social Work, at University of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. While I was pursuing my Masters in Social Work (MSW) at the University of Lucknow, I came to know about the program- Be a Jagrik, through the Badlav organisation. Being very honest I had initially very little knowledge of Indian Constitution and therefore, made up my mind to join the same. I was given the tag of a Jagrik when I joined this program at Badlav. Mr. Ramjee was the facilitator. I was told about the program which was based on spreading awareness about the Indian Constitution and our fundamental rights and duties. During the program we did an interesting exercise in which the participants were given the following task: Identify five personal superstitions that you regularly follow/believe in and abstain from them for a week, with three testimonials to verify your act. The peers listed out five superstitions that they used to follow: 1. If a black cat crosses your path, it’s a bad omen. 2. Twitching of the eye is inauspicious. 3. Praying while looking at a pair of common mynas will bring good luck. 4. Don’t get a haircut on Saturday. 5. Do not cut nails after sunset. The peers then had to restrain from following these superstitions for a week as per the task. In the beginning, restraining themselves was difficult as these were ingrained beliefs but later, when they started realizing that these superstitions had no ground, they came out of it. As a result I found that being superstitious influences our behaviour and state of mind, which in turn impacts our daily lives and ability to perform. I also completed many rights and duty based tasks and my own understanding about rights and duties increased. I took deep interest in these activities during the program and became more aware of my rights and duties as a citizen of India and this program also added to the extensive knowledge base which I gathered during the two years of my MSW at the University of Lucknow. Be a Jagrik Program helped me tremendously in advancing my practical understanding of the Indian constitution which motivated me to work effectively. In my personal life my family used to be bothered by many legal issues but now, this program has enabled me to sort many things out. I would like to thank Badlav from the bottom of my heart for providing me this opportunity. Currently I have been working as a Cluster Coordinator with Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group.