5 years after Carlton…

Uday_VijayanAt a personal level, I can’t still believe it has been 5 years since we lost Akhil. I am sure this is true with all the other 8 families too! That day is still so fresh in our minds and I guess would be that way till we are around. At Beyond Carlton, 5 years on, lot has changed and lot has not changed!

What has changed?

Firstly, when we started as a small group driven by anger and an emotion we did not even realize that we could go out and make some difference!

None of us were from the social sector or were volunteering with one! Each of us continues to be involved in our own professions so far.

So, we learnt a few things every day…

  • We learnt that even a small group with a well-intentioned purpose can create a connect on an issue that seems irrelevant!
  • We learnt that there are, other concerned people out there, who will lend you support!
  • We learnt that the system today thankfully, allows citizens to play a role in making a change- be it through RTI’s,PIL’s etc.The fact that we could change the laws of the State seemed unfathomable to us.
  • We learnt that no matter what the skeptics say(we hear a lot of nothing will change!), we need to stay the course. Persistence is the key!
  • We learnt that we would get recognition for our efforts but that should only strengthen our belief in our purpose. We never realized that we would be reached out to as a go–to body around fire safety by the media and others. Or, that other cities would reach out to us to start a movement like this in their city.
  • We learnt that it is important to empower the authorities to do their jobs, like the fire dept. Or to empower citizens to become watchdogs with a mobile App like the FIRE CHAMP.

What has not changed?

A lot has not changed and we realize that this is a long and tedious journey. Like any other story it has got its twists and turns.

  • We see most are still in the belief that a fire will not happen in their life.
  • We see that while we can get a new law going, the implementation of it is most challenging.
  • We see that getting citizen participation for their own safety often requires more than just nudging them in that direction. It requires a stick many a time more than a carrot for the herd to start following!

However, we still believe that every day we spend on fire safety is a new day. Some will agree with our purpose but there will be a lot who will not see our mission. Our goal is to stay the course and hope that one day we may save one life because someone listened to us.

About the Author
Uday Vijayan lost his young son Akhil Uday in the Carlton Towers fire in Bangalore on 23rd Feb.2010. He then founded Beyond Carlton and is the President & Managing Trustee of Beyond Carlton.

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