The end, is never the End



It rarely ever is.

Sometimes you just wish things were simple and things were straightforward.
They rarely ever are.
Here you are, dreaming at the speed of a not-yet-existant super-rocket
And there it is, life pacing its hidden blows with a squeak that misses those racing dreams but you.

You pause, and you wonder
And you let that be your jig for a while
Thinking it would help, thinking that's the best way to be until it all passes and you can breathe free
Oh but it takes energy, that precious resource-
Which chooses to be at an all-time low just when you need it most.

Sometimes you find yourself trying hard, trying too hard
To make things work, everything!
And you think you can make it, you tell yourself so-
While from within speaks a voice calm- 'Is it worth it?
You can't have yourself in two boats at the same time Missy!'
And you nevertheless trudge on, curious and yet open, every second a moment of suspense

You stretch to the limit, defying all odds and erm voices
And there!
Poof.
You had it coming all along- It's this or that.
And you choose the one that hasn't had its worth measured as yet.
And you know it in your head, that same calm voice whispers- That's not worth it either!

And yet you trudge on, curious and open, not for this or that
Cos you always knew- neither was ever worth the effort
Oh but the Universe!
Which appears like a milkyway-smart dude-
Cleaning out the wrinkles in time and space
And you sit there oggling and waiting for more
Sinking into the star-dazed euphoria that only a die-hard fan could relate to
And the days that follow, pass in a quiet yet bubbling ecstasy- for you met your hero, for real.

Until it is forgotten
Until it is the end
The end which never is
Which does not exist
Only new beginnings
Of ever widening leaps of faith
Ever engulfing waves of love

With a passionate pour of tipsy moments
Enveloped in warmth and care
Of the very moment that seemed like the end
The end which wasn't
You look up sparkly eyed and whisper-
'Bring it on love'




Aloneness



One day Brenda came to me expressing her frustration with her daily life. She said, “Dada, I never have any time to myself. I can never sit quietly and meditate or do any of the things that you talk about. I just have so much to do here, with the ranch and garden, our business and the guests. Then I get tired, and Larry and I argue about what are the important things. Our relationship is suffering, quite a lot at times. I don’t know what to do.”

After listening to her, I felt sad about her situation because I knew her sincere urge for spiritual unfoldment. We discussed this issue by sitting together quietly on several occasions. Unfortunately this is what is happening everywhere with many sincere individuals. I have seen this pattern in countless families and with numerous seekers. They have an idea of what spiritual search is, make a plan, then try to meditate for an hour per day at least, do some yogic postures, eat organic food, etc. Thus begins and ends their day, mostly every day. It goes on and on this way to the end of life.

The modern seeker, so occupied with work, immersed in family, busy with projects and activities, finds it very difficult to save time to be totally with himself. He practically abhors being physically alone, and psychologically also he refuses to look inward, even for a short time. People are constantly occupied with their pursuits, doing numerous things. This busy-ness has become a very strong habit pattern, which continues from morning to evening. They refuse to entertain even the idea of some time solely for themselves. People come to think of this pattern as the normal way of living, and then teach it to their children by example. This routine of busy-ness becomes all there is to living.

When we begin to talk about aloneness, whether physical or psychological, most people become nervous. They think that aloneness is a negative state. However, the negation of busy-ness – the constant activity of the mind and body – is not the end of life. Aloneness is not a state of withdrawal. Rather it is the ability to remain free from the influences and pressures of our surroundings. Then, one can experience an intimate relationship with oneself, a contact with one’s own internal energy field. Such a living is a sensitive and creative existence – the life of an uncontaminated being.

The capacity to be alone allows the flowering of a deeper inner confidence, balance and security. The tendency of clinging to people and to material objects is an indication of insecurity. Aloneness – the state of psychological solitude – is a catalyst to develop one’s own inner potential. The creative capacity of man lies in his innerness. Only in aloneness can one remain in touch with the inner flow of Life energy, which is the creative element. But we have built life solely around external relationships, with their stimulations and excitements. There is hardly any freedom or space to invite creative action from the depth of one’s inner being. We rarely make contact with our inner being, with our center, the source.

Is not one’s own silent innerness an integral part of life? Do we even know anything at all about this part of us? Yet isn’t it actually the most important aspect of ourselves? Then why do we neglect it? Why do we refuse to even acknowledge our silent intrinsic existence?

Man carries a creative talent deep down in himself, but he has not recognised this fact fully. Only when he remains still and stops his ceaseless outgoing wanderings in the form of thoughts, emotions and pursuits, will he be able to gather his scattered energy to find balance and centeredness.

Aloneness is the state necessary to enter into this region of inner being. Only by coming in touch with your innerness can you discover this hidden potential, the intense sensitivity. This is fertile ground for the sprouting of creativity. Such a fertile unit of total-ness brings unique freedom and freshness to living. It also brings stability, peace and fullness. Every individual has to find this quality of fullness and stability, which comes into being only when he is in contact with his inner domain.

Such a natural, stable balance within himself is a state of psychological solitude. Only in such aloneness can man find his own inner touch. Herein he experiences what his own being is, his own uncontaminated existence, the life force uniquely his. He begins to feel some traces of a quiet energy below the usual agitated mind. He experiences a different quality of energy, feeling very much at ease and at peace with himself.

Without psychological solitude, man will never find the space to get in touch with the silent, non-thinking, non-verbal innerness. Aloneness is the gate to move deeper within oneself. It is the state in which to find the touch of one’s own uncharted existence.

Aloneness also means freedom from the environmental influences, the constant compulsions of living, and from all society’s conditioning. Such influences of the surroundings pollute our stream of Life energy, Anger, hate, violence and greed are all manifesting themselves around us. We are living in a commercial culture wherein greed and ambition are glorified. Such interactions of all human minds generate psychological and emotional contamination in the space around us. How can one remain uninfluenced by such strong contagious contaminants?

These psychological tendencies create their own field of magnetic influence because they are also living energies. Every thought and emotion creates its own thrust in space, affecting the life around. Like noise pollution, these mental/emotional activities generate their own contaminants, which then influence us in their own way. We may not be able to see or measure easily the degree of harm, but the psychological pollutants are there, affecting us, the society and the world.

Is it not necessary to be free from all such pollutants? The seen as well as the unseen? The psychological as well as the environmental?

Freedom from all influences – social, cultural, emotional and environmental, to name a few – is the state of psychological solitude. The sensitive and creative person eventually senses the emptiness of our usual living. Instead, he feels an urge to find fulfilment in relation with himself. There is this innate yearning, a silent non-ideational longing to be alone with one’s self, with one’s inner domain. It sometimes becomes strong and pulls him back into himself, leaving him psychologically alone and inward.

Through observation and with understanding, I saw that everyone’s mind is formed differently, not only with its hereditary, genetic predisposition, but also the socio-cultural conditioning, habits, preferences and conclusions heaped on top of them. In any contact between people these ingrained, conditioned structures called minds are trying to mesh, to get along, to know each other. But we see each other as if from behind a heavy screen or veil. Therefore it is virtually impossible to relate with total openness, to establish a harmonious relationship, even with the nearest and dearest people around. The perception of this fact pushed me back upon myself, wondering about the nature of all interpersonal relations.

Seeing this inability of communication and the inherent difficulty of harmonious relationships made me sad and thoughtful. I realised that one cannot really know or help the other, although the mind tries to do it. Our help many times becomes a hindrance. We may have an idea of what the other needs or wants, but it may be our subjective idea only. So we have our constant compromises, hurts, adjustments and amendments, and this becomes our way of living.

Many grown-up people find it difficult to establish a right relationship with people of their own age group. Then they get carried away by the thought of loving pets instead. There is not much real love involved in their behaviour, but sentimental and emotional attachment is predominant, more like a one-sided love affair. It is easier for a mind to love a cat or dog than to love people. Therefore such indulgence and escapist behaviour becomes convenient especially for adults.

The mind mechanism can only work very superficially on an external level. Man finds many things to do in order to indulge this limited and superficial functional ability. Constant activity is very easy and becomes a convenient way to avoid that solitary feeling.

It is difficult for man to face himself, his aloneness, which is the reality of life. Every human being is born and enters this world alone. At the time of death, he even leaves the world alone. Between birth and death, he constantly fills up his aloneness with some mundane superficial activities, calling them pleasure, love, social work or whatever. That is how he begins to think that he is created for helping and loving others all the time. This is only a pattern developed over centuries, in response to the mind’s search for convenient, socially acceptable activities and escapes.

Man is not born for romantic love and sentimental attachments alone. But now he has made it the central issue of his life. His everyday concern is to fulfil the emotional attachments to his wife, children, family and society. His whole activity is concerned with glorifying his emotional reactions and protecting this sentimentality towards the near and dear ones. Man is most of the time obsessed with his family and with having people around. Sentimentality and emotionality are nothing but the mind finding its security through attachment.

Men of genius, those with great intuitive capacity and creative ability, did not indulge much in family associations and involvement with friends and relatives. They were not like lovebirds hovering around their wives, children and friends. Their energies and sensitivities were not scattered wholesale in family entertainments and social excitements.

To discover one’s intuitive capacity and to reach the peak of creativity, one has to remain free from mundane and superficial emotional involvement. Such strong attachments toward near relatives, cats and dogs erode and consume the sensitivity and energy. The energy gets scattered, and one is prevented from peak performance. The arousal of one’s intuitive expression from within is the function of sensitivity, and this happens in the unattached state of aloneness and inwardness.

The purpose of human life is not to be busy with the sentimental activities of so-called love, which is mostly just attachment. Rather it is to discover the hidden, intrinsic state, which will bring balance, peace and fullness. The dormant, non-thought, non-verbal energy of the inner sanctuary is going to bring a new touch to the mental apparatus, which will result in the experience of true love and intelligence.

That touch of the benevolent energy will heal the person from inside out, inviting the inner experience of deep contentment and fulfilment. This will lift up and take man beyond the borders of intellect. The intuitive domain will emerge, and non-conceptual thinking shall become the way of living.

Thinking without thought and feeling without emotion will be the new order of relationship. One needs this touch of new excellence, which lies beyond the barriers of emotionality and mundane love.
To experience this new excellence, our constant occupation and busy-ness must slow down to create an interval or gap, which is psychological solitude. In the inwardness of aloneness lies the ethereal gate to go beyond the thought-infested mind.

Then we will experience what the spirit of universality is. We will receive the cosmic touch, which keeps us free from narrowness and self-centeredness. Only with that touch will we realise what real love, affection and caring are. Impersonal intelligence will establish a new order of relationship and will lend a touch of humility and compassion, even to our personal relationships. The limited and exclusive nature of human sentiment and attachment will flower into all-embracing Love.

-         --Dada Gavand, an excerpt from ‘Intelligence Beyond Thought’.






The End of Life


Everyone seemed to be in a hurry,
To get to the end of life,
To see what lay there.

It was a huge current-
They all knew what lay ahead,
So they said.

Boulders to surpass,
Falls that would have you break your bones!
And helplessly so.

Sun that would scorch so much!
That you would trickle into nothingness,
And you'd wonder if you'd ever make it to the end..

There were times, when the huge current did become a trickle,
And many chose then, to perish with the Sun..
It was better than enduring the pain, so they said~

These were the kinds of stories they shared,
These were the kinds of stories they warned us about,
And everyone around me, seemed to be okay with all that they said.

With a kind of an arrogance veiling our fright,
We just went about getting beaten,
Just like they said.

There were some, who got so wild at the seeming unfairness,
That they thrashed about wildly,
Causing a huge disturbance to those of us around-

Those of us, who still had the wits to carry on,
Found ourselves asking them to move to the side,
Because they broke our flow, like they'd said some would.

And then there were those, who drifted apart and away~
The lost ones, so they were called amongst us, who stayed the course.
They will not survive, they won't make it, so they'd said again.

One of them was my friend,
I always longed to know where they went,
For we never saw them again.

I feared for their safety,
And prayed long and hard for their well being,
While I stayed on in the huge current lest I be drifted away into nothingness too.

Years and years of falls and hits,
And years and years of fleeting moments of ephemeral joy,
I finally saw it coming.

The huge expanse, that it all led to..
THIS is the end?
So they exclaimed!

At that point, many wished to go back,
But there was no turning back now,
We were nearing the end.

There was no way to tell all of those behind us,
Where it was that we stood,
It was terrifying!

We were so insignificant,
In sight of the mighty expanse that stood before us,
That we all became quiet for a while just praying for grace~

And then, a most curious thing happened-
The expanse lit up radiantly as if in answer to our prayers!
And received us as lovingly as a mother would a child she hadn't seen in years~

I cannot explain what happened after that,
Because it was no longer we or them,
Astonishingly I felt, it was all me~

Perhaps it was a trick that the expanse played,
For I could no longer differentiate-
One thing from another.

Everywhere around us,
Lay a most blissful kind of peace,
At last we were at rest.

As the wondrous shock of that engulfing moment passed,
I began to see again,
The many parts of us-

Thanks be to grace, I saw among us,
Even those who had drifted apart and away!
The ones that won't make it, like they'd said.

They, particularly, seemed to be carrying a twinkle-
A twinkle I hadn't seen among us,
Those of us, who were carried in the huge current.

We asked each other what had happened to those who perished with the sun,
And a wise soothing sound would tell us-
They would rejoin the big current after having been held by the skies awhile~

We felt glad to know,
That all of us were accounted for,
And understanding pervaded us all~

A sense of sprightly joy then started bubbling within me as I floated about,
While the expanse ever remained a serene ocean of loving calm and rest,
This wasn't the end.



The Snail Story



There is something I need to share.



Say say



There are these snails that come out at night near our home in Sidhbari
And I have seen many crushed by people who walk over it
It's hard not to walk over it if you don't walk more carefully and with a torchlight to see the snails.
I happened to crush a lot of them when I came here first. But I tried becoming more conscious about my steps and was successful in crushing none tonight.
I feel so good.



Awww
That's really so lovely <3
Thank you for sharing such a heartful moment



I feel the same applies to everything... Consciousness and the right action can bring so much joy within



:))



It would be so much easier for me to walk over all those snails and save time and effort
But I did what my heart told me is right... and that I feel comes with genuine compassion for fellow living beings



It's so metaphorical
And very divine
Please go on
It's great to listen
You're putting to words such magical feelings!



That's the end of it... =D
I just felt like if everyone is more careful of their actions (steps in this case) then our planet would be such a wonderful place



Golden words <3
I feel so tempted to share with everyone, this experience
It's so important to remind each other
Of what truly matters
Of the preciousness of life
Of each other



It's something everyone knows deep within but tend to forget in our selfish pursuits



So very true!!
Awww thank you so very much Songbird!!



I am sharing this but I tend to consciously make mistakes myself
And I think I should be more careful too



You know, this reminds me of my own errors too



I need to walk the talk



We all do
Actually...



And I shall let this trail off right here my dear friend, for I shall reserve the rest of the conversation for another day as it ventured beyond the Snail Story into other things that plague us humans now and then, and thus, it shall be rightfully given its own space in a not too distant moment, so stay tuned!!

For now, I hope you enjoyed this mini (not so mini for many perhaps haha!) tete-a-tete and gleaned from it your own treasures, which were perhaps shone a light upon, through this spontaneous wondrous shared moment of humaneness <3

Most of all, thank you Songbird!!! For such a heartfully precious sharing of a warm moment (*)
You keep rocking thy part o the world as we know you shall, indeed :)
SEGOA's got your back after all hehe ~;)

And YOU,
O Dear precious-lump-of-meat-with-a-mind-and-heart-that-has-everyone-a-meltin-in-thy-stolid-presence!
YOU, keep shining a light in your part of the world too, while I, rock out here, in my own ~:)



Empowering People w/Mahhan Shafiq


Today, O dear fellow mates on Earth,

We shall delve into the world of Trafficking. It may be a new term for some of you as it was for me when it first jolted me out of my wits. Trafficking by itself means, dealing or trading in something illegal- Hmm. Not as bad as to have evoked such horror. BUT. Add RIGHT before it, another term i.e. 'girl' or 'bride' or 'woman' or even 'child' for that matter and 'human' essentially, it takes on a whole different swaroopa immediatelyHUMAN Trafficking exists. Selling girls exists. Marrying a woman only to sell her off only to perhaps be sold off AGAIN!?? EXISTS.

The day I became aware of this atrocity, I couldn't think of a worse thing that we could have so blatantly allowed on Earth to have continued. It was through an article shared by The Better India, featuring the work of Shafiq Ur Rehman Khan, the man, the face, the core spirit who is behind an entirely community-oriented and community-run organisation called EMPOWER PEOPLE (There's a cool anecdote to their choice of the name too, which you shall find as you proceed) that unveiled this portion of our world to me.


The next thing I do is immediately find them on facebook and put a 'like' on their page. This was worth staying in touch with. What gave me most hope was the fact that there was a live person behind this organisation who transparently shared his views most honestly and that really was another big factor that held my attention, that showed me that this was one genuine effort and that it was worth at the least, paying attention to.


Over time, I followed their work through facebook and other links it led to. Once they had posted about a need for volunteers and I wrote to Shafiq ji if I could help in any way. At that time, all I did upon his primary suggestion was, to go and register myself as a member and surf their website to see how I could contribute. And I continued to follow the updates and share them occasionally on my own timeline. Until recently.The intensity of the posts has lately been increasing and in reading about it all, I keep getting a rising urge to be able to do more than just follow the updates. I want to be able to DO something too! So I got in touch with Shafiq ji again asking if there was anything I could actually do and thus we come to this post.


I was a bit apprehensive for I wondered how I could really be able to contribute, some apprehension was also reserved for the moment of how I would if I could, handle any kind of field work, what kind of people would I be dealing with etc. With thoughts such as these and an eagerness to even finally get to know how I could get involved, we had our first official conversation to explore the options. What I love the most is the very transparent way everything was shared by Shafiq ji pertaining to the scenario, including his frustration at times, the challenges, the joys, their current scenario and where they wish to go. And that conversation, rather their story, is what I share with you here:




Confusion is my ideology.




That's the first thing he says. And it sets the tone for the incredible story that follows- a whole different world that majority of us would want to have nothing to do with, if we had the choice. In that very space of our precious Earth, that very hidden plane of existence in our World, presenting to you, right here, is a group of dedicated passionate Individuals, who have taken it upon themselves to make right, what others have done wrong; Individuals, who work day in and day out to make the life of another girl, another woman, another human, more safe and more hopeful, bringing to them long denied succour and giving them a reason to live on~


It is, as well, a story of the exploited, the unheard and how we, as a people, have failed to ensure the right to a dignified life for such a large, unseen portion of us.This particular post has been divided into categories, each of which could be read over time as it works for you, that is, YOU, you and You! Thank you (*) to have taken the effort to get to this point. Ahem. And stay tuned for more to come:



The Beginning before the Beginning


When did it all begin?


Empower People has been here since ten years.


The story of Empower People is my story~

I belong to a farmer's family. My family was part of the enemy class for Naxals (Maoists). Being a farmer, we have lands and thus we are easy targets for the landless. We had started a public library especially for students as there was no library in the entire locality. We were asking people to donate old books and comics but no one was interested. One man was regularly donating some books, novels. Their books were different and political so we were not interested in those books but we were greedy for the books. One day I told him that no one is interested in your books. We need some text books which can be used by school students who cannot buy text books. Then he started talking about his book and he taught why this was needed. He was part of the Naxalites and he started talking and teaching. I got impressed with their ideology and commitment and so I decided to be part of that.

I joined a Naxal party when I was studying in 8th class. This was sudden because I had no ideology or any other kind of a relation to things until then. After that I was working with that party but after four years, I felt somehow that this is part of the problem. We are not serving people who are suffering, rather we are using their suffering to put our ideology in their mind. The party had a history of violence so I decided to start something new and we started a new intervention in which we created a chain of people (young students) who came together to learn and teach each other. College students were giving tuition to students of 9th and 10th and those students were teaching 7th and 8th dropouts and parents were also engaged in this process. I was curious to explore the basics of discrimination and oppression but I had no answer. 


Meanwhile one of my friend and mentor was killed by the Naxals. After the killing, I realised that I was the target and they even mentioned my name in their pamphlet so I decided to flee. My family was in Delhi so I came here and wrote an email to Swamiji. I joined Swami Agnivesh. I knew him because I was a 'kitabi kida'. During his march against female foeticide, I realised that Gender is a primary unit of discrimination and oppression. I was not satisfied with existing things so I decided to march on foot against female foeticide and gender inequality. It was an attempt to explore a possibility of change. Across the areas of Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab and Assam, I assisted Swami Agnivesh and then realised that it was a popular way and I wanted to change that. Swamiji is a good man. I still love him but he is a little old fashioned.

The Beginning


We got together and made a group of boys and arranged a March against female foeticide in Haryana, having seen how Gender based discrimination was a primary discrimination.


We had limited knowledge on this and during the march, we were inspired from the whole lot of debates and many other things that happened. It was a training ground for us. We received our training among the people- Someone from the community would ask a question and amazingly another person from amongst them itself would give an answer. So we all learned together.


Then, we formally named us as Empower People. Earlier, we had thought of naming it as Empower India but everybody talks about country and we thus decided that we instead, would talk about people. That's where it all began.


At that time, the people who formed the group were mostly under 20 years of age and our work started in earnest. In the course of time, we found a girl who was a victim of Bride Trafficking and that's when we realised, that it was an even more heinous act and that nobody wanted to deal with it. Even after 10 years of staying with the community, we find that the NGOs are not ready to delve into this matter. Ours is maybe the only organisation that is working on this as far as I know.

The Approach


We follow a multi-dimensional approach. Anti-trafficking is our mainstay and there's also a focus on making leaders out of people. Girls who have suffered this menace and have survived are usually unable to become leaders. But at Empower People, we make them Leaders.


The field operations and the decisions/counselling pertaining to other victims, the entire process, is carried out by them. It is a more sustainable chain.


We have an ideology, a strategy that we wouldn't have any banner or poster. We do not want to ever enforce our presence so much that the local community thinks that 'they are here to change us.' 


A journalist once asked me, why on the website and Facebook page, my photo was pasted everywhere. The reason is that, when we are on field, an IPS officer with a sophisticated understanding may get what we are doing, but a ground level officer would create trouble for us. So it is to reassure them that we are working with the community against trafficking and we have been doing it for a while now. There is a lot of danger on field both from the criminal gangs as well as the administration. Lots of problems of the communities are increasing which in turn cause a lot of frustration which is then shifted elsewhere. It is fully complicated. To avoid all of this, it becomes important to establish that I am associated with this. Self promotion becomes an unavoidable necessity.

Another important component is that if an International Organisation gets involved, for example a UN agency etc, they start guiding your work. It becomes a top down policy where the root problems being faced on ground by the community never go up. It is those organisations that then decide if female foeticide is more important or child marriage. So we decided that we will not be funded by them but the people that we were working with. The important thing though is that when you break connection with the top, there is a lot of frustration.



Current Scenario


In these 10 years, we have started and closed many interventions. Currently, the people composing the central level team that formed the original group, have all settled in different places and I am the only one remaining from the old team. We do have new people though. Right now we are operating in North India- Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Western Uttar Pradesh.


Earlier there were many members and dealing with all of them was quite tough. Every action had to be told to every member. Even verification that he was not a trafficker became an added task. If we did not disclose certain information, a member would say you didn't tell us before. 


We have applied a lot of strategies but are failing all the time. In every work, money is required. When that money is denied from the top, it becomes very difficult. It is very tough to generate money because different people have different perspectives.


Trafficking is promoted in many ways by large sections of society. The middle class for example would not do away with their dependence on domestic workers. Their bias in turn promotes and sanctions trafficking. Almost everyone contributes in demand. The middle class need them as domestic worker and farmers or landlords need them as field workers just because they don't want to pay a satisfactory salary and the benefits of a worker.

The Frustration


After 2012, non-cooperation has especially increased. I cannot understand at all what is happening. Sometimes I get very frustrated and vent the same on Facebook and then my friends tell me why I indulge in this bewakoofi- 'Why do you write if you don't want to leave?'


I'm not a sadist and neither do I want any sympathy. Sometimes I do wish to leave all of this and go away but I cannot do it. People pull you back and it is simply not possible to leave.


As an organisation, if you want to do something but cannot do it because of lack of resources- it is pathetic. We had organised a March in 2012- against bride trafficking. It was organised from Assam to Delhi, 8000 km by car. (Marches on foot would never be more than 300 kms because the body would not sustain.) It was really amazing that people were there all through and they appreciated it and even participated. There was no celebrity, only us common men and women- no politician or leader- no one knew us yet there were at least 50 bikes at all times through the journey joining in and out.


After that time, when we tried to organise another march, we could not. There was a need for 1 lakh 20 thousand rupees in 2014-15, a basic amount before we start to march. We tried to get that amount but we couldn't. Even some companies who most of the time came to us for this or that, we approached them for spending some of their CSR for us and we would do everything, but they refused.


The Perseverance


Today most of the focus is on eco-development and not on human development.


Involving people has been good. One of them once suggested that we should organise a fundraiser. Fundraising is not an issue. Speaking ideas is more important, money comes second. The day I need money, I will leave this and open a roadside dhaba and start a business. Money IS an issue, but not a BIG issue. The big issue is how to achieve Sustainability and avoid Institutionalisation. So there is a big confusion currently. I do not want us to become an institution or a corporate NGO. I don't want us to lose our spirit of "Yo! We will do it."


Very recently a gang of 10 got arrested and we were able to rescue 3 girls. In the entire process, we incurred an expenditure of Rs. 55,000/- over 10 days. Our entire focus is to make the girl safe, if we try to fight corruption, the girl is surely gone. Rehabilitation is always a priority.  That girl is now admitted in a residential school in Assam. We will also provide her with para-legal or para-counselling training so she can help others in future. As for the traffickers, initially we do not contact them, but after the bail, we contact them and involve them in our field seminars and sensitization workshops. Some of them become our supporters and some of them don't accept us.

The Community


How cooperative are the communities? 


They are involved in each and every thing but only if our approach is favourable to them. Most of the rescue work is done with the community. We always use them in the rescue operation. No one is evil- everyone wants to be a part in this particular work. Most of the time they have been supporting the organisation. They have provided us with 3-4 big offices on field and have not asked for a single rupee of rent from us. They themselves come and change the bulb or the fan or the invertor. We do have their cooperation, especially in the destination area- where the people are demanding.

We are fighting more than 200 cases and each and everything is free of cost only because of their cooperation. I feel it is because of our strategies with the communities that they are realising that this is a problem and that 'we should support them for the good work they are doing.' Other organisations have not been accepted by the people.

The Way Forward


The cases are regularly increasing. While on one hand, more and more people are coming forward and reporting the cases, on the other hand, people are demanding more and more girls. 


Human rights debates have reduced in the last few years. Today you will either find a 'desh bhakt' or a 'dharam bhakt'. In such an environment, the individual takes the backseat and we cannot talk about humans.


I really don't know how to do something. I'm confused about everything. I think maybe that it is also to do with the fact that I'm neither religious nor spiritual. I am anti everything. Sometimes I get frustrated because there is no God or power to save me. I have a sense that I am God and that source of power is within me. 


So for the way forward, these are the options I can think of:

1. Compromise, and we allow UN to dictate the problem.
2. Work more. Get other middle class people also involved and find solutions.
3. Develop a fresh way on field to move ahead. 

Now, I am thinking to involve more and more people to reflect together and decide how to proceed with new ideas. That's why I am regularly talking about each and every thing.

The Challenges


I don't want us to become a corporate NGO or an institutional setup. We really need some mental people- what I mean by that is that we need people who can think extraordinary things. Balanced people cannot think anything new. We need people who can reflect together, think together and then plan, extraordinary people who can think about each and every aspect and then say- this is the way.


We were planning to launch a camp for normalisation of relationship between men and women. There are a lot of things to do and each and every thing is less. Someone is working somewhere handling 3-4 things at a time so it becomes difficult to think about other things and be able to execute. 


Many a times we organise meetings with our people and discuss and plan to develop things. There is need to focus on creativity and creativity and me are poles apart. On the other hand, there are criminal cases to be handled and then there are also social interactions to conduct.


Money is not a big deal- everyone is earning money, even the traffickers. Issue is involving people with great dedication- mental people. We really need those kind of people- the extraordinary, who can think and organise, have more and more conversations and start something with this. Those who have the spirit to contribute.

The Hope


Our girls are making something and we are now planning to launch a company in near future. They are making a kind of a slipper of wheat hair currently. It is traditional in Assam and those who have come from there know how to make it. There are girls who have come from Jharkhand, Assam and they bring with them their know-how and teach each other.


Last time they made baby booty for small baby's feet with big eyes etc and exported 200 of them to the US. We are trying to make it sustainable. Most girls are making berry, kaaleen, other kinds of things that villagers use, sewing clothes within the village although not yet selling in Delhi. They are making and selling within the community. They don't want a market. Yet they come forward and contribute to Empower People with their money, it is amazing!


There are a lot of positive things. We just need some capable people to think, reflect, decide and do something. We can do a lot of things.



On a Personal Note


How do you sustain yourself while all of this is happening?


I work to earn- I do part time research. Anthropology is my major. Some people like the academicians or NGOs or other groups have assignments that I complete for them. I was once involved in setting up CSR for an organisation and realised that I shouldn't be there, so I left it.


After the 8th class, I never attended any classroom, I attended open school and I earned masters from IGNOU. and I have always been a confused and isolated personality and I have come to love that about myself. 


There are about 30 people working as full time volunteers currently. Most of us do something to survive. We are a family of more than a thousand people. There are survivors as well. Now it is about new people who can come in and plan things and tell me- 'Shafiq, do this' - I will do that.


You should think something and involve people who can think. For starters, download zoom, we conduct our meetings on that mostly. Let's think together and plan together.



As an Endnote


Focus on work, not on me.


Well, like you said- Story of empower people is your story, so it's one and the same.


Haan true, maybe. I'm not sure. Sometimes I feel it's self obsession.


Well, if that means that other selves get to reflect on their own selves via another self, I don't see why it should be called self obsession, perhaps self transparence is a better term.


I appreciate this. Being part of the earth family, it is my duty to share the pain and suffering of people.

And my dear friends, I am sure each and every one of us feels a sense of gratitude towards this free spirited large hearted group of people, who continue even as you read this, to find a lead to the next lady to be rescued, to the next life to be saved from the tyranny of apathy, and the next part of the world to be lightened from the burden of this age old blindness that binds large portions of us within its fold making us inadvertently indulge in actions we would never otherwise have even imagined in the first place had we steered clear of its tangled net laid wide across all of Earth, our home.


Rest assured dear lovely being existing on earth right this precious moment, this is just the beginning. You can take a few teenie steps yourself, having come thus far for which we thank you much.


You can find their facebook page right here.


You can follow their work also via the Founder's facebook page right here.


And. Most importantly, if you think you are one of those "mental" people, please write to us!!! You can reach Shafiq ji at shafiq@empowerpeople.in or you can write to me at reemarchitect@gmail.com. We shall surely make some more noise over time and we could use your vocal chords too, ahem ~;-) Woohooooooo !^.^!


Back to Ourselves




It feels like an era
That's passed
From then to now
And here we are
Back again
Back to where we began
Back to ourselves



Time has told me
Not to ask for more
For someday our ocean
Will find its shore

Time has told me
You're a rare, rare find
A troubled cure
For a troubled mind

And time will tell you
To stay by my side
To keep on trying
'til there's no more to hide
So leave the ways that are making you be
What you really don't want to be
Leave the ways that are making you love
What you really don't want to love

Time has told me
You came with the dawn
A soul with no footprint
A rose with no thorn
Your tears they tell me
There's really no way
Of ending your troubles
With things you can say

So I'll leave the ways of making me be
What I really don't want to be
Leave the ways that are making me love
What I really don't want to love

And time has told me
Not to ask for more
For someday our ocean
Will find its shore

Time has told me
You're a rare, rare find
A troubled cure
For a troubled mind

Time has told me





Ordinarily Extraordinary






We are all ordinary as such

Yet,
There are moments bright
When we feel extraordinarily light
The source is always in sight
Yet we tend to overlook, try as they might

Yet yet,
Such moments over time, increase in number
And make us sit up, take notice and stare in wonder-
'They must surely be coming from somewhere yonder'
And we stretch and look afar even as we begin to rise from our slumber

Yet yet you bet,
They begin to pour in at a frequency so high
We truly begin to look around with an unbelievably relieving sigh
'There is something really afoot, a magical revelation is nigh!'
And thusly doth it reveal itself and we exclaim with an exuberant slap on the thigh!

Yes yes you bet,
It has always been that simple
That it takes not much to revive that twinkle
Just a teenie bit of a sprinkle
Breaking a smile deep into a dimple

Yes yes,
Now we see it bright and clear
It has always been oh so near
And something that we thought we must fear
Just turned out to be oh so dear

Yes,
It's just been about attention, love and care
Something all of us have and can share
And when to be a source of 'em we dare
The magic of this Universe is very simply laid bare

And you know,
Just like that-
We are all extraordinary as such





Appreciate




I have to learn to appreciate



Not appreciate for showing...



But genuinely from the heart



~Nurture life's energy

The suppleness of the love and flesh of God

In each of us

In our surrounding

In every bit

Of the Cosmos~



Developing the practice



Of Appreciating,



Kneading back into suppleness,



That, which may grow numb and worn



Appreciate back to that pulse



And thusly re-awaken



As if from a deep slumber



Widen the eyes



See it all afresh



With watered windows re-opening into wonder and renewed amazement :)