Aug 17, 2011

Review of I have a Dream

John Kennedy, in one of his famous speeches, said "...ask not what your country can do for you, (instead) ask what you can do for your country". This quote is not only inspirational, but also explains the difference between a monarchy and a democratic form of Government.

In a democratic country, Government is constituted both by the people and their elected representatives. In other words, the general public is but a part of the Government. So, it is a collective responsibility for the public to work hand-on-hand with the elected representatives for the country to  develop and prosper.

In I have a Dream, Rashmi Bansal had personally interviewed twenty idealists, also called as social entrepreneurs, who believe in democracy, contributes their time and skills for the betterment of their fellow men, and had presented their experiences in the form of twenty short stories.

Though many of us have the feeling that we should contribute our part to our society towards development, most of the times we restrict our contribution towards paying our taxes, or writing a letter to concerned authorities and waiting for them to take an action. At the most, we pay a visit to the local municipal/corporation/panchayat office to remind the concerned authorities about our plea. But there it ends!

When the concerned authorities do not take an action (for whatever reason), we keep ranting about it and learn to adjust ourselves to live with difficulties. We wait till the next election, elect new representatives only to start the vicious cycle all over again! The problem can be as easy as installing street lights, or construction of a public toilet, building new class rooms or improving infrastructure of the school/college laboratories.

So what do we do here? Should we just keep ranting and accept the difficulty as part of our life? Should we just sit quite and curse the authorities/government till next election dates are announced? Or is there something which we can do ourselves for the betterment of our lives? Were the elected representatives finding it difficult to execute each and every plans on their own? If such is the case, can it be changed by lending a hand for a social cause?

Twenty idealists have asked this question, at various stages, at different times in their lives, and in different difficult situations. And they all got one answer in common! That in democracy, it is our responsibility as a general public to work hand in hand with the elected officials in order to make progress and move our country towards development.

But how do we help the government? Where to begin? After all, we are not philanthropists to render help without thinking about "what do I get in return". Most of us, who have a social calling, belong to the salaried middle class, where there is a necessity to earn our livings. Is there a way to couple our earnings with an added social value? Yes, says Rashmi Bansal in twenty different voices. In fact, the concept of coupling our earnings with an added social value lies at the heart of what is called as social enterprises.

I have a dream explains this concept in twenty different voices. If you have a social calling in you, feel that it is your duty to lay a helping hand with the elected representatives, want to have a different perspective of the enterprisal word "profit", but do not know where to begin or how to execute, this book is the best place to start with.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!