Page 1 of 3 Prantakatha – a discourse on social change (Prantakatha means Voice of Margin in Bengali)Prantakatha is a Non Profit Organisation based in West Bengal, India which since 2006 is working on socialchange programme. Following is a philosophical understanding of the work of Prantakatha, written byBappaditya Mukherjee, the founder of this initiativeThe Core of margin:Contrary to the popular belief, we at Prantakatha share this understanding that citizens especiallyyouth, long to serve the society/community they belong to. The glitch lies somewhere else. Wecall it ESO factor: Exposures-Skills-Opportunities. Serving society or so to say Development is apolitical tool as our understanding goes. It helps hegemonising, therefore creating power andtherefore all that follows from that. Hence “power that be” does never want Development to beexperimented open ended. Rather it shall be captivated, it shall be into hands of few andtherefore that will create hegemony-power and all that follows given a particular community setup. On the rhetoric, it should look like other way round to digress public attention. So it isalways in the interest of the “power that be” to rhetoric that “people are indifferent”. Rather theyare not, so they need to be put in that belief, so that the option to “development’ remain at thehand of “policy makers”.The tool:With this understanding, Prantakatha raptures the Domain Of Development (DOD) and createsspaces for citizens’ rights towards making “social change experiments”. To facilitate that theDOD needs ESO factor. Hence Prantakatha works on various ways and means towards invadingthe DOD with ESO factors and thus makes Development, open ended, participatory and bottomup. The whole programme focus of Prantakatha is creating spaces for new change initiatives tocome up and to sustain. And Prantakatha looks into doing this through spreading of ESO factorsto citizens, especially youth.Prantakatha as an organisation works on “Promoting Active Citizenship” (PAC). The process ofPAC has several permutation and combinations of ESO factors fitted to the grass root realities ofthe community Prantakatha serves. The outcome of the process of PAC is two fold - one,creation of innovative Citizen Led Development Programmes, two - strengthening IndianDemocracy which we at Prantakatha draws all inspiration from.
Page 2 of 3Broadly speaking the process PAC involves two major segments - Melting Pot andBADAL(Beginning Action for Development And Leadership). Melting pot primarily comprisesof various elements of Exposure component ESO and BADAL primarily comprises of other twofactors i.e. Skills and Opportunities. Collectively Melting Pot and BADAL is part of the PACprocess which is names “Eye through We”. It is both an eye and a journey with self or “I”.Through the journey the takers experience a different understanding of their selves. Thereforethis journey on social work does not only end in creating a change outside/in community but alsoa change inside or in self.The rapture:In essence this process of promoting active citizenship becomes a process of making that part ofourselves heard which are otherwise less traveled, under explored and therefore marginal.Nurturing that marginal selves ultimately creates spaces in the community which again speaks ofstories which again were rarely visited, dark and silent. In nutshell a journey of marginal selvesthus creates voices in the community which were otherwise silent, thus the name Prantakathawhich means voice of margins in Bengali.The process:Towards reaching that desired development goal, Prantakatha applies two processes1. Melting Pot: which is an on & off ground exposure programme for willing and enthusiasticcitizens. Through this they first come to know the existence and excitement of developingchange2. BADAL (Beginning Action for Development And Leadership): which is a on ground one yearincubation support to change initiatives started by active citizens who are enriched at MeltingPot.
Page 3 of 3The outcomes:With this process and idea in place out comes have been two fold1. Currently Prantakatha has 477 citizens, mostly young connected with Melting PotProgramme across the State of West Bengal in all 19 districts2. 5 change initiatives under BADAL at different stages of maturity, covering issues like -preventing child trafficking in source areas (NSS), community peace building through nonviolent conflict resolution (AAMAN), rehabilitating children rescued from trafficking throughfamily supports (God Parenting), anti depression support group (MUSCAN), anti child abusesupport service. Some other programmes are still in concept stage.The vision forward:In nest 15 years time line, Prantakatha with some other professional organisation look towardsdeveloping an incubation centre/institution through which it visions to co create hundreds ofchange leaders in the community and therefore ushering into a new dawn of socialentrepreneurial era.