The biggest barrier to undertaking activism often isn’t a lack of desire. For example, India is a nation of desperate and disadvantaged children, but the apathy towards their dire situation isn’t based purely in a disinterested and uncaring middle class; it’s also the product of a society who have given up on idealism, perhaps wanting to help but not seeing any practical way to help, and ultimately hoping that somebody else will clean up the mess. With millions of children in need on the streets of India’s metros and all over the country, airline purser Rippan Kapur decided he wanted to do something about it. He decided to found an organisation that wouldn’t simply get their hands dirty for the sake of child rights; they would provide a base for volunteers everywhere to effect positive change. In 1979, with six friends and a base fund of just 50 rupees, he set up CRY: Child Rights and You.
In 1955, on a public bus in Alabama, a black woman named Rosa Parks refused to stand up when asked to make room for white passengers. Her action was seized upon by a young clergyman named Martin Luther King who organised the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which catalysed the civil rights movement and brought it into nationwide focus; segregation on public transport became illegal the following year. Further laws continued to be passed to make all American citizens more equal, racial tolerance came forward in leaps and bounds and black Americans began to get voted into public office – culminating in the election of America’s first black president, Barack Obama, in 2008.
In 2010, on a public bus in Dubai, an Indian family of four sitting in the front row of seats (marked ‘LADIES & FAMILIES’) was asked to move themselves – along with several large bags from Dubai Mall – to the back of the bus. They did so without hesitation, and none of the other passengers on the bus were moved to speak up, many of whom were also Indian. The event went unreported and the family got on with their lives.