Apart from my legal profession, I have been deeply involved in social work in Punjab in the fields of education, drug addiction and also protecting the farmers.
However, over the past year or so, I saw that people like me, those who have devoted their lives to social service, have entered the political arena. They started a political party and are working to bring a revolution in this country. Over a period of time, the system became so corrupt that no right-thinking individual would or could think about joining politics, but AAP has created a channel. I feel that it is these professionals, those who have worked a lot in their own fields, are the best people to bring about the required change.
I feel that Punjab is in desperate need of this kind of revolution. Politicians have paralysed the state administration; nothing moves without their nod. The state is crippled by a growing drug addiction problem, the farmers are suffering huge losses — many have been pushed to suicide — and education standards are low.
I have been working in these fields for a few years now. We have set up a community farming system so that farmers can buy high-quality raw material in bulk for cheap and then sell their products, mostly finished goods, together, ensuring a higher rate of return. I would like to replicate this model across the state as it has doubled the farmers’ profit margins. I also feel that we need to combat the drug addiction problem head on and adopt a combined approach of awareness programmes — including early symptom identification, a bigger network of rehab centres — as well as employment training.
At some level, being outsiders in the system and trying to change it will mean that we will face hurdles. The entire system is already working against us. However, we don’t want people who are experienced in the traditional system. Our idea is to change it and if we bring people from that very same system, they will adopt the same practices, so it will be counter-productive.
As a lawyer, I could put pressure on the system, but the legal process bound me. You have to go to the court, fight the case, wait for the result; it’s a long process. As an administrator, you can get things done.
As told to Avalok Langer