“Micro-managing the odds” an Op-Ed piece in The Hindu by Srikrishna Ayyangar a Professor in Politics at APU. It looks at the this year’s Magsaysay Award winner IVDP’s work and relates it to the larger political process in Tamil Nadu. It is simple and clear in argument. However, I do not quite agree with the idea that scaled-up organizations like IVDP actually participate or even effect political processes in any measure.
I think in that sense IVDP is an exception and the article too indicates this towards the end. The ‘scaled up’ organizations (like IVDP) do not stand up, in spite of having a fair degree of capability and social strength to do so as we have seen in our work in Tamil Nadu. They ensure that they are at a safe distance from the political dynamics and maintaining that distance they drive their agenda, whatever that may be- health, education, livelihood etc. It is only the activist, ‘people’s struggle’ sort of groups like PMANE who tend to take things head on. May be that this too is a generalization, but a fertile ground to explore how civil society-politics relationships can bring about positive social outcomes in an informed manner, not just as unintended consequences. In my experience, I have found larger NGOs (by this I mean NGOs with an annual budget of Rs 5 crore and upwards) only maintain a minimal interaction with the political end-points, just the amount that can let them go their way.
It will be a while before I can line up substantial observations towards this.