Kolkata: Do you have a friend on your school WhatsApp group who no longer is that friendly because of your identity? Have you ever wondered what Dalits and Adivasis do for a living? Or how do Muslims live? Well, then the campaign-
Mere Ghar Aa Ke To Dekho is for you. All that you need to do is get yourself registered at www.meregharaaketodekho.com and let the co-ordinators patch up a visit to someone willing to host you so that you get a sneak peek of what life is like on the other side of the meadow.
The five-month-long campaign, launched on August 15, has been initiated by ANHAD, a Delhi-based socio-cultural organization, and aims to build bridges between communities by tearing down walls of hate, prejudice and misconceptions.
Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad told eNewsroom, “In the absence of interaction, hate has mushroomed. So, the basic idea of this campaign is to initiate an interaction between people or communities.”
On being asked how they plan to take the campaign forward, she explained, “The idea is to break misconception and prejudice about people we don’t meet or interact with. On August 15, in Delhi around 100 people will be hosting visitors, who have expressed their desire to participate in this campaign. And the visitors and hosts are not just from the Hindu and Muslim communities. We want people to also know how Dalits, Adivasis and transgenders live. We want myths to be broken and that can happen only when people talk over a cup of tea.”
So how is the response in places like Uttar Pradesh? Poet and activist Deepak Kabir, who has been spearheading the initiative informed, “As of now we have around 1300 requests on the website of Mere Ghar Aake To Dekho for Day I. Gujarat has over 4000 requests. In UP we are approaching individuals in another way – circulating Google forms too. We plan to reach out to more and more families across the state.”
And how do they plan to reach the masses? Kabir said, “This campaign is for those people who have misconceptions about a certain section of the community and get swayed by information that they get on social media. These people sitting on the fence, need to know how those certain people are in reality.”
Adding that the interaction will not be only Muslim-centric. “We are urging participants to meet each other in the absence of ‘facilitating’ the meet. One member from the host and visitors will meet at the designated centre and then the host will escort the family to his residence, where they will meet and greet each other. After the meeting, if they are comfortable they can share a video of theirs with us. However, this is not mandatory.”
Praveer Peter, a social activist working with the Adivasis and minorities in Jharkhand mentioned, “The response has been good so far, much better than we expected. Even Christian families are opening their doors to visitors and will also be paying a visit to other families in their adjoining area.” He added that as of now they are trying to reach out to middle-class families as it’s such people who are often being brainwashed.
Sangita Jaiswal from Lucknow said, “The idea of this campaign is to build a united India. I have joined this campaign as I believe in a plural India, an India that is inclusive and proud of its diverse heritage. We are hopeful to make a positive impact on the minds of young adults among others.”
On Day I of the campaign the activists working on the ground level are planning to have around one lakh interactions taking place across the country.
A theme song has also been released for this purpose.
The campaign which has been flagged off on Independence Day will culminate on January 30, 2024.