The PLEDGE FESTIVAL: A Simple Way To Initiate Nation Building Process

DAV - Kalinga Nagar - pledge festival - Jan 19 2013

The Pledge Festival is a simple effective, inexpensive, entertaining and event specific program to involve the citizens of India, particularly the youths, and elicit from them a written commitment that they keep country’s interest paramount in their thoughts, words and action.

When is this festival celebrated: This festival is celebrated on the third Saturday of January every year by educational institutions across the country. But this is open to any body or group to celebrate at any place in the country as the idea is to involve all citizens across the country in this program.

Who is behind such a move: A Delhi-based registered civil society named Build India Group initiated by journalist-turned advocate Biraja Mahapatra and joined by a group of lawyers, media personalities and social activists since January 2008. In the last four years, it has spread to various parts of the country with over 100 educational institutions including several universities and colleges joining it because of its popularity. It has got support from the Delhi High Court Bar Association, Supreme Court Bar Association, Central Administrative Tribunal Bar Association, judges of the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court, eminent jurists, academicians, writers, political leaders and NGOs.

How is it celebrated: It is celebrated through the magic of WRITE-RECITE-COMMIT technique. A week before the third Saturday of January every year, students get involved in an exercise of preparing posters, write slogans or do any artistic work on minimum poster-size papers or placards on their idea of the nation, and also write in their mother tongue the pledge propounded by the Build India Group on A-4 size papers. All the posters can be put to display in their respective educational institutions on the third Saturday of January to create a charged ambiance. Many institutions organise cultural programmes on nationalism as the theme to mark the occasion. The programme culminates in students reciting the pledge in unison and signing on their A-4 size documents of affirmation. It gives effect of an affidavit on them.

Why third Saturday of January: The first Pledge Festival was celebrated on the third Saturday of January 2008 by just ten persons. Thereafter, the programme has been celebrated as a day specific programme to avoid its association with birthday of any big name or celebrity. BIG believes that no individual, howsoever, big can stand above the interest of the country.

How to make it a nationwide celebration: The country has over 25 crore young students from the primary to the post graduation level. If 25 crore students can participate in this programme in unison, the outreach will be minimum of 75 crore people as their parents would automatically get involved in the exercise and that will be a historic day in the country. That day can be ushered in by all religious institutions together- by beating of drums and blowing of conches from temples, bells from churches, sirens from mosques and all other religious institutions joining the rendition. It will reach each and every village in the country as religious institutions are ubiquitous. Then this festival would become truly a national festival giving equal importance to all faith systems, cultures, languages, and individuals.

What are we going to achieve out of it:- It will be the biggest campaign ever known in the history of mankind against any activities, including corruption and terrorism, affecting the interest of the country. World will respect India as a model nation when people from all faith systems promise to be good citizens. Good citizenry will give us good leaders; promote good work culture and transparency in management of government and private administrative systems. It will be the biggest exercise in building individual integrity.

Don’ts – Organisers must ensure that they are not doing any thing to hurt anyone’s cultural, religious and regional sentiments.

Events Gallery – The Pledge Campaign

The Pledge Campaign

Odisha – 2016

The Pledge Campaign

India – 2017

The Pledge Campaign

Delhi – 2019