Blog » Why ‘Becoming I’?
June 1, 2012
By Chandramouli Banerjee
Around the time that Tanvi came to me and a few others with the idea of creating an organisation that mobilizes young people towards social service and gives them avenues to do so, I was very disgruntled with some recent experiences in other youth organisations, wherein I felt critical thinking was not being encouraged but rather the emphasis lay on more of a superficial involvement in the problems surrounding our society, an interest that was overshadowed by a barrage of team building activities, that was lost in the technical jargon of soft skills development. The reliance was on being a family, working and enjoying together, and adhering to hierarchy and growing into pre-established roles, which I felt curtailed individual thinking in young people, people who are awed by the processes and the glamour involved in a big youth organisation. Above all, I personally felt that the reasons why one joined such an organisation (even I did so), was because everyone was talking about how great it is. Soon enough, I began to find it akin to a fashion trend, something I wasn’t comfortable with.
When the chance of creating a new organisation, and attached to it a new ideology came about, I was eager to voice my thoughts. Luckily enough, I found in the founding members a group of like minded individuals, who understood my viewpoint. As the ideology grew and began to take shape, and we started thinking of names for the organisation, I came up with Becoming I.
For me, Becoming I means realisation of the individual, over and above societal trends. Becoming I means having enough knowledge and experience to be able to subjectively judge every thing that society has to offer and then have a choice as to if one wanted to subscribe to it or not. I was very vocally critical of and sort of activity that stopped our members and volunteers from critical thinking. Given the debating background of many of our members, we made sure our meetings did not have presentations or speeches that preached virtues but that critically analysed an issue, and through dialectics, brought about an unanimous move. It was to be every individual’s thought that went into creating a decision, and not a decision that preceded thought. Becoming I for me was that personal growth of an individual, when he/she begins to question his/her ways after visiting a village and witnessing the stark realities of our society. Becoming I was aimed at breaking the trend of armchair moves at social development, and bringing one face to face with what they had been speaking about in airconditioned rooms. Becoming I was about “you” and the “issue”. No middlemen. No teams. No groups.
Even today, subconsciously, we look for what an individual can bring to the table for us, what talents he/she may have that can help us add another dimension to solving the problems that we have been battling. For us, in our history, the roles have developed with the people. This approach has, and I agree, created structural issues, with processes seeming haphazard, but, when one looks at the broader picture, one can proudly say that we may not be very popular, or very organized (in the strict management-b-school sense of the term) but we can proudly boast of members who are capable of critical thought, who are innovative, and who are eager to learn more and grow more. They are, in my view, in the process of Becoming I.