Re-educating the youth to shun Maoism
Having been born in poverty, grown with it but still succeeding in life has made 2003-batch IPS officer Ratan Lal Dangi, who is IG (Bilaspur range), serve in the Maoists -ridden areas of Chhattisgarh state and re-educate young people who have been misled into the Maoist ideology while they were very young and impressionable.
Dangi, who hails from Rajastan and who worked as manual labourer in his childhood to help her labourer parents, launched his ‘Guide the Youth, Grow the Nation’ campaign in 2017. “When the Maoists can stealthily persuade youths, we too can re-educate them by changing their perception on what actions are acceptable to them, the society and the nation. We can tell them that if they want to change things around, they will have to begin from themselves,’ said the IPS officer in a recent press interview.
“I often saw the poor youth confused; their life chaotic – they were lured into Maoist ideology in their teenage. There are no effective intervention measures to guide them. It was quite upsetting to see youth being misled owing to the misinformation tactics propagated by the Maoists,” added Dangi, who has served in more than a dozen districts affected by Maoist militancy in the state.
Dangi asserts that the immense energy of youths working in positive direction can be one key factor well disposed to tackle the complex challenge the country faces on the Maoist problem.
He chose sports as one of the ways to train the youth in self-belief and self-respect. Wherever Dangi stayed, he organised sports events for the youth and visited educational institutions to motivate students for a better future.
“The morale of the youth gets a boost when they are persuaded to believe that success is their birthright and that they should never give up. Just as a sound mental health is vital for emotional strength, the right mindset paves the way to success,” he said.
To counter the Maoist propaganda, he began spreading the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Maulana Azad and others asking the youths to understand their ideals. “Actions are more important than mere advice. Inspiration should stem from understanding achievable goals,” he says.
Dangi has continued with his own plans and resources, organising career counselling and coaching for the youth who are keen to join the armed forces or work in government or private jobs.
His personal engagement includes offering a good collection of books to students who respond to inquisitive queries and encouraging them to make their own sensible decisions.
Dangi stays connected with the youth through social media platforms and engages them on quality contents. He discusses and resolves their doubts. Either he shares his own experiences or connects them with experts for further guidance as part of his social policing.
“Youth should be exhorted to widen their perception through education,” he says.
Dangi has also extended his drive to his home state Rajasthan where he set up libraries with computers for students’ use in Nagaur, Ajmer, Barmer and Sirohi. “He has set up libraries in different places with good study materials, educational books and storybooks available free for every age group,” says Hanuman Ram, a caretaker of the library in Nagaur.