Jhatkaa envisions an inclusive, sustainable and equitable India, built and maintained through the democratic power of an engaged citizenry.
Our objectives are:
a) To advocate solutions based on 21st century realities defining a development pathway to address the challenges of access to clean water, food and air, ensuring enforcement of existing human rights laws, supporting implementation of a new education system and ensuring sufficient checks and balances to tackle corruption
b) To mobilize millions of people from all over India to weigh in on decision for different issues
c) To make the powerful accountable, targeting the behaviour of governments, political parties, corporations and cultural institutions.
d) To transform the public narrative on citizenship and democracy so that people no longer accept corruption and our social problems as inevitable and instead understand their role in shifting systems to make our democracy functional.
All our plans and activities are driven by this long term vision.
There is no group doing what we’re proposing to do. India already has hundreds of thousands of NGOs and local movements speaking up for an inclusive society, a sustainable planet, human rights and accountable politics, but hardly any of them capitalise on digital technology for advocacy in the way we propose. Our unique value add is not expertise on a particular issue, nor is it another petition or social media service that helps groups function online. Our unique service is building a constantly growing army of engaged citizens in the millions who are ready to take action online and on the ground to make India a more democratic, sustainable, inclusive and equitable country.
The unique value to the citizens is that they receive information that they otherwise don’t get access to and they learn about how their civic power can impact the circumstances they’ve felt enslaved by. Furthermore they get a chance at altering their own circumstances and having a positive experience of democracy – an experience that often has a profound impact on an individuals sense of empowerment.
The unique value to existing NGOs and local movements is that there are is a large group of networked citizens who are looking for opportunities to contribute their civic power to advancing social justice, and are ready to take action in moments where a large number of citizens have the ability to change an outcome. Groups that currently exist in India almost always have an issue mandate or a specific community they seek to serve, meaning that Jhatkaa is critical for campaigning on issues where no other organisation does, responding to moments quickly enough when other groups have too much bureaucracy to wade through, and scaling engagement nationally because of our technology.
The unique value to the Indian democracy is bringing in a new layer of accountability that acts as a guardian of the public good and building a positive narrative of democracy that leaves behind the cynicism and apathy that many have. While it is hard to specifically predict where we will end up, we know we must begin.
Jhatkaa is run day to day by a small group of young, energetic and vibrant individuals who strive to see Jhatkaa’s vision materialise along with our members and volunteers. We also have a group of eclectic and experienced individuals on our board, as advisors and as partners to guide us in making the most effective decisions.
Jhatkaa is a hindi word which translated to english means shake up or jolt. We felt that Jhatkaa is a fun word that is very active and inspires us to be creative, humorous and artistic in our campaigning. We seek to shake up old ways of doing things that no longer make sense in today’s democracy, society and environment.
The following principles will govern the framework through which the organisation will identify campaigns, moments, messaging, strategy and tactics. It will also guide the management of the organization.
Satya: Be guided by values of truth and justice, not swayed by political orientations and to work with full transparency and honesty.
Swaraaj: Campaign democratically by letting members influence the campaigns that are run, and use mass people power as the primary driver of influence for change.
Lokaadhar: Act with nimbleness, speed and flexibility, enabling swift and powerful responses that are news-cycle responsive and high impact.
Gunkaari Vishay: Campaign across a range of issues that are relevant to the membership and Indian public, and avoid issue silos.
Karishaye: Campaigns will be action oriented providing members and the public with direct, creative and engaging ways to effect change. Action will have both personal and political impact to change.
Swatantra: Maintain Independence from companies, religious and political parties. The organisation is set up to serve its members and will not be coerced, bribed or in any other way be unethically influenced by groups or individuals with an external agenda.
Technology ka shaastra: To use technology as an important influential weapon, but to also remember that it is only a means to success, and not the measurement for success itself.
Daya aur Vinamrata: Compassion and humility in each campaign, amongst staff and stakeholder relationships, fostered by deep listening.
Ekta: To build unity amongst the Indian public, across issues, across classesÂ & castes and regions.
Ahimsa: To ensure all campaigns are built with both the intention and actions of non violence.
Vichaar Parivartan: To ensure the campaigns are also aimed at transforming the thinking of individuals and our narrative for India towards a more progressive set of values and vision for society.
Vibhinnata: To embody the diversity of India in our movement and have that reflected in our staff and campaign choices.
Jhatkaa is an independent group and is not affiliated or associated with any political group. We do not actively support one political party above another and nor do we receive support from them. At times our position on a campaign will align with a position of a particular set of candidates or political groups, but this is not intentional. We do not seek to build any alliances with political groups or give preference to any. We will treat each group with respect but will hold them all accountable to the issues we campaign on.
The core of Jhatkaa’s strategy rests on building and deploying a large, active membership. Politicians, companies, media, opinion formers and the public at large pay attention to numbers. We do this so that decisions and actions taken by leaders and communities are held accountable to the common good.
Individuals become “members‟ as soon as they participate in a campaign and agree to stay on the email list or the SMS list. There is no charge for membership, and members can unsubscribe at any time. We build this membership by re-engaging our members in inspiring relevant campaigns on new issues and issues they’ve already take action on. We then multiply our numbers and impact through a series of methods. What we campaign on is determined by the interest of our members both through their choice to participate in a campaign we offer them and by suggesting campaigns and collaborating.
Secondly, one of our key objectives is to transform the public narrative on citizenship and democracy so that people take responsibility of their role in a democracy and participate in it beyond just voting. It’s through public participation and observing others participate that such a positive and empowering narrative will be possible.
We look for moments where our members’ passions for justice in inclusivity, sustainability, and equality match a real opportunity to make a difference. When we find such opportunities we first consult experts in the field - this could be NGOs, government officials, academics and grassroots workers. After we formulate an appropriate campaign we test it out with a subset of our membership to see if they are excited about it and if it is being picked up by the public more broadly. If it is of interest to citizens then we run it, if people aren’t interested in it, we move on to try something new.
Your donations will go to the following:
a) Doing regional community meetings with activists and citizens to build grassroots networks and understand what the on-ground requirements are of citizens across India.
b) Running rapid response campaigns to ensure that we are enabling citizens to act as a tipping point force on decisions and issues that they care about. This means paying for things like SMS, voice message, email server costs, as well as costs for innovative tactics such as media stunts, campaign fliers and public meetings.
c) Spreading the word so that people far and wide hear about the campaign. This means at times investing in online ads, phone lists, SMS ads and creative media strategies that ensure the media picks up on our stories.
d) Producing info graphics and videos that explain the issue we’re campaigning on and how public participation will make a difference.
e) Jhatkaa’s day-to-day running so that we can cover the expenses of things like our internet, mobile phones, travel, and ongoing services that allow us to campaign.