Mayank Gandhi (Social Activist) - In 2011 I Led Alongside Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal on India Against Corruption Movement


Mayank Gandhi is a social activist from India. He was previously a member of core committee in the India Against Corruption movement and a National Executive Member of the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP). Presently he is the chief coordinator of the non-governmental organisation Global Parli, which aims at transforming the drought-hit villages of Marathwada, Maharashtra.

1. Tell us more about yourself and your life. 

Till about a few years back I was an international urban planner, consultant to many countries on Urban and Rural Governance and a part of World's largest body of architects and urban planners. Seeing people's life in developed countries I wondered when will my countrymen enjoy this kind of life. 

That's when I took a resolve that I will dedicate my life to Nation building. And I worked with Anna Hazare, on Right to Information and other Acts. In 2011 I led alongside Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal on India Against Corruption (IAC) movement, which became one of the world's largest movements. 

The movement then transpired into a political party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of which I was one of the National Executive Council members. Being in politics, I realised early that I was perhaps not fit for it and I quit politics completely in 2015. But the desire to transform that Nation was intact and I kept thinking how to work in this direction. 

Gandhiji said, the soul of India lived in its villages, so transforming villages can transform the country. So if one has to create a model of transformation then one must pick up the area that pains the most. 

Marathwada had the highest number of farmer suicides. 2016 was the worst year for Parli Taluka, where water shortage was so acute that mass suicides were rampant further increasing the depression in minds. They were earning a Meagre 3.5 k pm which left them with no other recourse but to commit suicide. The ones who were living were living because they were not dead.

2. What is that one cause you care deeply about and why? 

Nation Building through leveraging Country's strengths - its people.

3. If one wants to contribute and make a difference in social causes, how can one do it? 

Intent is the most important one here and everything else can follow. Another thing that I strongly believe in is to leverage networks and people's strengths. Speed and Scale have always been my favourite dimensions to actually measure success. 

When a common man wants to solve the social issues is largely when Govt machinery has failed or its no longer a priority for them - so Scale and Speed have to necessarily come in as COUNTRY CAN WAIT NO MORE. Transforming is all about thinking from possibilities and then things start to fall in its place.

5. What are some of the challenges and roadblocks you have faced along your journey? 

To me they are not worth a mention - in 4 years I have only looked ahead and the whole idea was to keep moving despite all odds so challenges if any are now learning and as said repeatedly - I believe in people's power. 

Sometimes people are waiting only for the leader, a conduit and I am creating a series of candles which can keep the light on. I have leaders in my team and 80% of them half my age and that's a confident position to be in.

6. Your opinion about social media activism. 

Rather than talking specifically on social media I would rather talk about Digital Activism and I promote it strongly and what better time to have not been disturbed by the pandemic - nothing in the movement got disturbed as we all remained connected to the last leg of the change - Farmer. 

I like to call myself a social reformer rather than an activist. Social media helps a great deal in building positivity , desired opinions but the real work is still on the ground with real people.

- Mayank Gandhi 

- Interviewed by - Nishad Kinhikar 

Post a Comment