Amazing Indian Awardee envisions a new India for empowered women!
Rural India faces many problems which urban India is not only disconnected with but doesn’t even understand the severity of their implications. Bride trafficking is one such ugly scandal to which rural India is falling prey owing to poor literacy rates & meager circumstances of the rural masses.
Bride trafficking is predominant in poor rural settings such as villages in Bihar, Assam & West Bengal where the fathers do not have enough dowry money to marry the girl into a well-known family & thus get her married to unknown individuals settled in the cities. Most probably these city dwellers are traffickers who marry these young girls, get them to the cities & force them into prostitution.
There are few who are even aware of these heinous crimes against women & even fewer who actually care enough to do something about this.
This inspiring story is of Mr Shafiq ur Rahman Khan who has made it his personal mission to empower people in India. Mr Shafiq is the deserving recipient of the Amazing Indian award given by Times Now for his commendable rescue work towards victims of Bride trafficking.
Ever since he was a teenager, Mr Shafiq has identified social problems like Race & gender inequality, education for Dalit children, female feticide & raised his voice against these shameful aberrations of our society. In 1999, he along with this friends started an organization to help the Dalits in Gaya Bihar get access to rights such as education for their children.
However, this benevolent act was not favored by some anti-social elements in Bihar who caused repeated physical assaults to Mr Shafiq. This made him flee to Delhi where he continued his social work & welfare activities.
The national capital made Shafiq aware of another ugly scandal which is gripping the full nation, that of human trafficking. Shafiq realized the severity of this situation in Delhi & started an NGO called EMPOWER PEOPLE in 2005. This was a participatory campaign which asked for societal intervention & people’s support to fight the social evils such as gender inequality.
But what stands out as a remarkable contribution to the society is his campaign in 2012 against Bride Trafficking to generate awareness & sensitize the population of this critical issue. The march saw participation & intervention between people, government bodies, NGOs & NPOs etc.
EMPOWER PEOPLE works on the model of people’s contribution to seek out the change they want to see.
It asks people to donate their sweat by taking a stand for a certain social cause be it female feticide or bride trafficking. They have set up vigilance committees with common people all over North India who inform Mr Shafiq if they find a woman in trouble.
Their modus operandi is simple, it asks the locals & religious leaders in the area to come forward & show their support for rescuing of such women. They also lodge a complaint with the local police. Although the police support is difficult to get initially without much evidence, eventually after seeing the public support, they come out & help Mr Shafiq’s crew to rescue the victim.
Another area where EMPOWER PEOPLE contributes is the resettlement & acceptance of these victims back in their homes & villages. They carry out extensive sensitization programs & community level awareness gigs to help out the victims in getting accepted back in the societal fabric.
What Mr Shafiq has been able to achieve is commendable & such initiatives are worth providing public support too.
We all as responsible citizens of the country should lend moral support by donating your sweat & volunteering to actively support such NGOs in our cities.
Lastly, Mr Shafiq has proved beyond a doubt that – “One person can make a difference & everyone should definitely try!”
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