Whenever we think about social initiative/entrepreneurship, we always love to think about it in terms of enormousness and a catchy focus area – that it must be a more or less huge organization with a number of committed people, working on a sensitive issue like street children or environment. While it is heartening to think big, that sometimes makes us overlook the simple ways through which we can provide apparently simple but actually valuable service to the common people.
And one such person who so successfully personifies it is Mr. Arjun Dev Gandhi of New Delhi. It was such a pleasure to read about this man and his initiatives in The Times of India, New Delhi on 25th January.
A former officer with CRRI (Central Road Research Institute), Mr. Gandhi regularly lights up candles at a newly renovated subway three times every single evening. He has been spending money from his own pocket to buy candles to light up a “powerless” subway at Masjid Moth in South Delhi. A sudden spurt of nobility that will soon fade out with time? No dear. He has been doing this for more than a year now.
So how did this idea of lighting up the subway come into his mind? Well, one evening he was walking through this subway. It was as dark as anything, causing huge inconvenience for all the pedestrians including Mr. Gandhi. He thought about the problem for few days, trying to identify a possible solution. Finally he decided to light candles in the subway every evening. Since then he has been regularly lighting candles in the subway three times in the evening at an interval of one hour.
Mr. Gandhi’s initiatives seemed to be successful when lights were installed at the subway. However, the power connection has been disconnected more than three times in the last six months. So, ultimately it is this enterprising old man that the pedestrians find to be their only refuge.
What a nice lesson for all of us. No big plans, no catchy focus area. Just a simple effort powered by civic consciousness. And what a big impact. It is an eye opener for all of us, who only waste our time in complaining without trying to do something ourselves.
We do not need to be larger than life to do something constructive. We can do a lot despite being just common people. Let all of us take a leaf out of Mr. Gandhi’s book.