Social media powered fights for rights are going strong this year. The ‘Jago Banaras’ is a citizens’ initiative led by Varanasi Vikas Samiti (VVS), a forum of local residents, schools, social and voluntary organisations in the city, with the aim to clean up Varanasi or the erstwhile Banaras, the spiritual capital of India (( Story source)). Being considered the most sacred place for Hindus, in addition to being a major tourist attraction for people from all over the world, has taken a toll on the city’s pollution levels. It has also impacted the holy Ganges river which flows through the city’s ghats. Jago Banaras plans to highlight the issues to the administration and also bring about an inclusive awareness drive in the local residents as well as tourists.
The campaign has also employed social media both to promote its activities and to get the residents involved. A Facebook community serves as an active forum for the multiple stakeholders to share campaign related information. A few months back in November, the Jago Banaras committee invited citizens to send or post pictures depicting the bad conditions in their neighbourhood. These were then used as evidence in the Public Interest Litigation filed at the high court.
The page has seen an active initial participation which, unfortunately, seems to have died down in the recent months. The last update on January 11, is proof that the noble initiative has been mired in trouble with the high and might powers of the State.