Satyamev Jayate is Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s popular Indian television show profiling important and often taboo social issues affecting India. It is one of India’s most popular shows, viewed by 80 million Indians on television and is one of the most watched television shows ever on the Internet (per Youtube views). We are proud of Awaaz.De power user Sanjay Sahni for his inspiring example of community mobilization being featured on Satyamev Jayate’s episode on government corruption. The video below is queued up to start from Sanjay’s story in the 58th minute, just hit play:
Sanjay is from Muzzafarpur, Bihar, and has only a 7th grade formal education. But he is savvy and resourceful, and gained the respect of his community as an activist. Some time ago Sanjay suspected some corrupt activities were occurring in his local NREGA program office: the officers were creating fake jobs on the names of community members and pocketing the government pay-outs. Having limited technical skills and no English, Sanjay went to a local cyber cafe and managed to get onto Google. He typed the two words he knew: “NREGA Bihar”. Many results came up that he couldn’t understand, but he managed to get onto the government NREGA site which publishes all NREGA information in a transparent way. Clicking around with trial and error, Sanjay found a map of Bihar, and clicked on his district. He then managed to display a history of all work completed in his district; he recognized many of the jobs as fake. He printed the list and brought it back to his community. The people rallied behind him and demanded accountability from the local office.
Sanjay was introduced to Streams through a local NGO Samaj Parivartan Shakti Sangathan. It didn’t take much time for him to realize power of voice communication and within a month he became a Streams power-user. As he says in the SMJ piece, all of a sudden one phone call could reach 500 or 500 people, in one second. Streams has made his advocacy work easier, and he is more empowered than ever to serve the community and hold local officials accountable to the people. Below is an interview with Sanjay describing the impact of Streams on his work and community.