Badayl is an international consulting agency whose mission is to support NGOs and Civil Society groups around the world that wish to effect authentic and insightful changes in global society.
A world in crisis
We live in a world replete with conflict based on religion, ethnicity, caste and class. Practices of injustice, oppression, deliberate degradation of natural resources, the abuse of women and children, the marginalization of farmers and workers, the disregard for cultures and traditions rooted in ethnicity, religion are common place. There is the temptation to throw up one’s hands and give up the search and struggle for societal transformation seeing how immensely difficult and challenging such a task is.
Common people- notably the urban and rural poor, the Dalits, Tribal communities, Women, children-on-the-streets, workers, and minorities especially in the informal sector increasingly feel the pain of having to cope amidst the injustices they are confronted with. Political formations have, by and large, betrayed the people and have used them for just one purpose- to increase their share of votes and gain access to increased political power. The fear of being crushed has weakened resistance movements.
The challenge and urgency of social transformation and the social sector
The greatest challenge of our times is that political spaces in the democratic arena are virtually devoid of ideological options. Socialism, as we once knew it, withered away and no serious attempt has ever been made to create a new form of socialism that corresponds to today’s reality. The only ideological forms we must contend with are variations of capitalism and, we know, from history that the variants in this ideology are negligible. Undeniably, political pluralism is dead!
Globalization and neo-liberalization- capitalism’s manifest types- have resulted in heightened suffering for large sections of people while guaranteeing privileges for a minority. The rich have not only grown richer; they have also grown more arrogant in the abuse of power which accompanies their affluence. Subtle and overt forms of militarism have taken root and have been outfitted to perform just one function- to guarantee that any form of revolt or resistance against what is blatantly unjust in our world is suppressed and ruthlessly nipped in the bud.
What was once a vibrant independent social sector has been somewhat neutralized by a process of co-optation by the powerful. The weakening of resistance from the independent social sector- NGOs and Civil Society Groups is alarming because it has diminished the chances of forging rallying points for united action by people’s movements/ civil society towards profound and real change.
The ‘Other Option’
The context of our world today underlines the urgent need for an alert, creative, and agile society to find its role and functions. This is not time for rhetoric nor is it time to replicate old formulas that have not produced tangible results.
It is said that we cannot solve the problems that we have created by the same thinking that created them. We need to seek out and work towards ‘futures that work’ not by unilateral externally imposed solutions but by returning to humankind’s original faith in the sense of community. Indeed, the challenge today is to work towards restoring faith in the collective capacity people to come together and create solutions, and strategies to carry them forward. These solutions must be roots in the people’s ingenuity, their cultural essence, and the external conditions.
Mahatma Gandhi once said: You must be the change you want to see in the world. Hence, as in the valued learning’s of Paulo Friere, the challenge is about inculcating such values as will help humankind move from the atrocities of irrational actions to historical processes which are human and authentic.
In that sense, Badayl must work to oppose undue privilege based on planning that is not rigid, visionary without being unachievable and always nourishes by a critical spirit.
What does ‘Badayl ’‘ seek to be:
Civil Society must take on this twin role of prevention and transformation in conflict ridden situations using analytical tools and programmatic methods which achieve reconciliation with justice.