There have been enormous thefts and plundering incidents in Karachi and Lahore during the last few days. After the political crisis, bad economic policies, price hikes, unemployment, and floods people are facing the uncertainty of everything resulting in disappointment and chaos. Coronavirus has not been dealt with yet, but we are also feeling the pressure of dengue and malaria. Millions of flood-stricken people are still sitting under the naked skies without any shelter, food, medicine, or clean water. Loads of relief goods for flood-stricken people have arrived in dozens of aircraft. But after a survey of displaced families, no nice tents or blankets, and no western packets of clothing or daily-use utensils are seen in any single place. Piles of ration items and other local things are coming from all over the country, but in many places, an extreme lack of manpower is observed. Before further deterioration, we need to organise community-based organisations (CBOs) without wasting any more time. We can do it in a street, in a village, in a residential society, or at a market level. Poor and unorganized people are meant to be exploited in our country and they are only for listening to promises and observing the blame game of politicians.
The more your CBO is active, the better your condition will be. If you want transparency in the funds allocated for your civic facilities and welfare, if you want to get rid of crimes, want to play a watch dog’s role in society, and want to save yourself from bribe-seeking government functionaries, then you need to organise a community-based organization. Even several fifty to a hundred people will be a good strength for the community. In a way, if two or three well-off people in your CBO get licences and purchase firearms for their security, in a way, it will become the security of the whole community. If the police or any other department starts annoying any person in your community, your unity will tackle it within no time. Your community people’s appearance in any government office as the representation of your CBO will create a splendid effect. All the community will breathe a sigh of relief from all the social evils. For this purpose, you need to meet your neighbours first and get introduced to each other. Extend this circle. Organize a CBO, campaign for the membership, set its objectives and constitution, and after elections, get the office bearers elected.
Here, becomes your community vibrant. Every one of you will have a vast circle of acquaintances. If you don’t let the connections go, you will have the power of the community with you. Don’t wait for the elections of local bodies or parliament. Use your strength and work as the watchdog of your constituency in parliament. When you sit together and discuss your problems, you will know that you have many people in your community who can solve different types of problems for the community members. Thinking and joining hands together can create a feeling of cooperation and it can help in keeping the environment neat and clean. So much social work can be started. If one room in every house can be devoted to a community library, people can donate books to it. Community members can come and sit in the library to read newspapers and meet the people of their neighbourhood. Similarly, in some community centres or other places, small tea shops could be started. They will be another common place to meet the community members. In our community, we can start our own free dispensary on a self-help basis. If needed, playgrounds and parks can be managed. Starting society’s cooperative store can provide quality service and commodities to the community, and its profits can be utilised for further social work for society. Cooperative stores and many other cooperative ventures can provide jobs for dozens of young people. The emphasis should be on meeting the maximum of your neighbours and attaching yourself to a group of active and vigilant people.
We are helpless before the big political party owners. They are the plunderers of national resources and spend so much to gain power. They spend because they know that, after they are elected, they can earn hundreds of times more than they spend on their rallies and public meetings. They have become traders. Most of the time the murderers, thieves, and decoits are patronized by the politicians for their power. This is the reason that no serious efforts are made to finish robberies and decoities. CBOs’ genuine struggle against such evils can be far more effective than our demands before the culprit politicians for the use of government power against crimes. Rich people’s housing societies don’t need to organise CBOs because the elite classes are not facing the severe problems that have made the poor’s lives hell. Registered Welfare Societies can also get government help in so many cases. For that purpose, we need to prepare a constitution for society. In our case, we started working for our welfare society in a problem-loaded community. It was only after two years that it became difficult for the community members to point out any unsolved problems. During this short time, the Federal Minister for Basic Democracies and Rural Development, the Provincial Minister for Social Welfare, the Director General of LDA, the Mayor of Lahore Corporation, the Vice Chancellor of Punjab University, and around a dozen top-ranking journalists and intellectuals visited our office. Everything was so easy for our people, and they were supporting all widows and poor families financially in the community.