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Politics of Courage by Bibhuti Routray, Odisha


Stepping in to the 21st century, India reels because of an acute dearth of integrity in politics. The idealism is now on fringes and conviction is struggling to find its way in. It is indeed true that when we arrive at the precipice of devastation, we develop an affinity for change. The day I signed up for Democracy Express 2019, I submitted myself to the idea of ‘manas-manthan’ as an instrument of change.


Our diverse polity is a just reflection of how diverse India is as a country. Being a melting pot of cultures, traditions and languages, the diversity of India is also an actor in the democratic processes and sometimes poses challenges to the Constitution as well. Somehow, it did not manifest itself in vile ways during the Democracy Express, lending it both credibility and sustainability.


ISD’s love’s labour was never lost in the journey, be it the stirring internal sessions or anecdotes from capable leaders belonging to a wide political spectrum. The energy from the speakers was met with equal enthusiasm and inquisitiveness from the cohort which made an impression on every speaker that graced the journey.


This journey helped me realize the power of communities and how a potpourri of political disciplines could provide path-breaking solutions to many issues of governance and politics in the day. The cohort blended itself into the strong parts of each one of us, burying our personal shortcomings and biases. Doorways to rational and sensitized decisions-making opened up for us as did avenues for collaboration. It was particularly heartwarming to see how invested everyone was in each other and how every single member created a stake in every other member’s journey. It will not be a surprise to anyone if one of us were to cruise to electoral success, banking on support of this cohort or probably sowing seeds of a revolution together that takes this country to a new paradigm in social activism.


Each one of us has a distinct ‘idea of India’, which led me to thinking if there ever was any ‘single’ preamble for this vision. Maybe it was always supposed to be ‘ideas of India’.

I will take a while to reflect on everything we saw, heard and felt on the journey. I would like to relish it, savor it, and cherish it.


It is not usual that 30 people from 18 states get together on a journey of nation building. At least, it has not happened in a long, long time.

‘What we do in life, echoes in the eternity.’

That moment is here. And we are prepared.

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