mid-day editorial: It'll take all of us to really change things

Published: Nov 27, 2017, 06:07 IST | mid-day correspondent

After clearing tonnes of garbage from Versova beach, award-winning green warrior Afroz Shah was forced to suspend his clean-up drive in its 109th week recently, following attacks on volunteers

After clearing tonnes of garbage from Versova beach, award-winning green warrior Afroz Shah was forced to suspend his clean-up drive in its 109th week recently, following attacks on volunteers.

The lawyer-activist had found support at the highest levels, from celebrities to politicians - even the Prime Minister and Chief Minister. The violence against the volunteers shows that when someone sets out to do good, no matter how much support the movement gets, there are always miscreants looking for ways to derail it.

Even now, celebs are exhorting Shah to get back to his clean-up drive, while CM Devendra Fadnavis has assured support from the government. Because of the high-profile people backing this movement, and the enormous public acclaim that it won, this issue has come under the spotlight. When even such a widely-supported initiative can be derailed by goondaism and threats, it only goes to show how much harder it is for smaller movements led by less famous people trying to improve this city. It is a reminder of how hard the common man has to work to change anything.

Our citizen warriors deserve a huge round of applause for trying to bring about change, even in seemingly miniscule ways like trying to evict an unlicensed seller of goods, fighting for traffic and parking rules. These do-gooders put their life and limb on the line each time they fight to do the right thing.

It is vital that activists are protected. These individuals need the support of celebrities and the powers that be, whose support carries more weight than the common man. That said, our champions of change need us just as much. This cross is not theirs to bear alone; together, we can carry the burden more easily.

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