You see that NGOs, the non-governmental organisations, are a time honoured legacy. In any country the world over there are various types of NGOs. More so in a democracy the atmosphere for NGOs spring up is so varied and very conducive to bring forth the spirit of the people to do so much good work in all areas of human activity and aspirations.
So, only those countries, more so the governments might think of curbing the activities of voluntary services by interested citizens and citizen group.
Now, the Modi government has come out with some clumsy arguments, not even any reasoned arguments for curbing the activities by banning, rather selectively and more so vindictively, the NGOs whose names are well-known to the public and also so appreciated by every international peer groups, including the UN organisations. We all know the allergy of the BJP and the RSS against some religious and communal organisations. Let us leave out the religious organisations, even the one US organisation going by the name Compassion and whose cause even the US Secretary of State, John Kerry pleaded with the Central government and we learn that those curbs were lifted simply because the pleading came from such high authority!
Now, the Home Ministry is blamed for its flip-flops, one day permission granted to seven NGOs, the very next day it was reversed!
What sort of government we are running in this country and that too a highly rated Home Ministry with very competent wings like Intelligence and RAW etc and you come out with the excuse of ‘national security’ issue in withdrawing license!
We all know by now who are all the victims. Teesta Setalvad’s NGO? She is a fighter everyone appreciates. She has a great pedigree, the name Setalvad must be enough. So, the record of her trust is very admirable, given the history of the Gujar riots and much that came after that great shame. So, the government must have handled her trust very carefully and much leeway must have given her, given her iron will to fight for her cause.
In fact, the government has made her NGO the most watched case in the days to come!
The Foreign Contribution Registration Act, FCRA, too has to be handled with great care for there are hundred and even thousands of NGOs, with some fat pay cheque and other with no foreign contributions and only the spirit and ideals to inspire those who are willing to do selfless service.
The other day there was debate on NDTV on this very issue. What we find is that thinks to some redoubtable spirits like the advocate turned crusader, Prashant Bhusan, who through his NGO, the Common Cause, had fought many sensitive cases and thanks to him only big corruption scandals like 2-G and Coalgate saw the light of the day and herds rolled and the end result was the debacle of the great Congress party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Why? Because the NGO succeeded in exposing the 2-G and the Coalgate under the leadership of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi.
Yes, the Congress paid the price and the ex-PM sought a cool retirement shelter in the very heart of Delhi.
So, please don’t trivialise the services of the NGOs. Recognise their central role in a democracy, more so in a vast country like India where the problems of people, the citizens are varied and also get involved the citizens in educating, enlightening and also transforming the citizens, rather the docile citizens into active participants in the march of the nation towards a modern-day civilisational experience. All the more so why we should understand and appreciate the works and roles of NGOs in a strengthening and an open-society of our great country! Jai Hind!